Spotlight Project: Scott Boerma

Spotlight Project: Scott Boerma

Scott Boerma, MMUS’92

Scott Boerma is the former U-M Marching Band director and now director of bands at Western Michigan. He took the field every football Saturday at the Big House for five years and wowed a packed stadium of people with diverse musical tastes. Have you ever wondered just how much work it takes to please a crowd of more than 100,000 fans?Read more of Boerma’s story in an excerpt taken from the TEDxUofM Spotlight Project.

Following is an excerpt from the book:

“One of the most interesting things for me while I’ve been here is the challenge of providing entertainment for 113,000 people of every age and musical preference that you can imagine. One week we’ll come out with a pop show and play ‘Call Me Maybe’ or Lady Gaga, and this faction of the crowd will go crazy, and then the other three quarters of the stadium will have never heard of Lady Gaga…”

“Our charge from the Athletic Director is ‘WOW.’ Game day has to be ‘wow.’ When we run out of the tunnel, play the “M Fanfare” and “The Victors,” that’ll be ‘wow’ week after week from now until eternity—has been for the 115 years. Halftime poses a different challenge. How do you make it fresh every week for eight shows with five rehearsals each week to learn it and present it to 115,000 people and millions of students on YouTube? That’s tricky. Thank heavens we have brilliant, dedicated students who show up Monday ready to go—they make it happen every week. Whether I see it in their eyes after a performance or hear it in their voices after they congregate after a rehearsal, just knowing that I’m part of that process and being able to affect them in a way they’ll never forget—I love that.”

Read more in the book:

The Spotlight Project was created by Seth Samuels, ’13, when he was a student. Samuels wanted to continue the experience of the one-day event and carry on the TED motto “Ideas Worth Spreading.” The TEDxUofM conference aims to connect the foremost thinkers and doers of the U-M and Ann Arbor communities.

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