A Performance To Remember

Quinn Wilcox, News Editor

While most people were making last minute preparations to watch Super Bowl LII (52), Logan Stenseth ‘17 was getting ready for the biggest performance of his life… literally. Stenseth, as a member of the University of Minnesota (UM) marching band, had the opportunity to march with Justin Timberlake in the Super Bowl halftime show, in front of 66,000 people live, and more than 105 million watching at home.

Students at UM got the news that they would be performing in a somewhat unusual manner.  Betsy McCann, the band’s director, started class by taking every members phone.  She went on to tell the students that they were chosen to perform with Timberlake and none of them could text, tweet, or talk about it for more than six weeks.

“Everyone went crazy,” UM sophomore Ava Crowley told Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Stenseth plays tenor sax in the University of Minnesota Marching Band (UMMB). “I joined the University of Minnesota Marching Band, and we did an avid social media campaign by tweeting and getting support from the other Big Ten marching bands,” said Stenseth.  The UMMB director, Betsy McCann, was also in contact with the NFL and their associates.     

The work didn’t stop at simply tweeting and emailing NFL associates.  “We made many videos including spelling out ‘SBLII’ on [our] field.”

In the weeks before the Super Bowl, the band had a rigorous schedule of rehearsals. “Honestly, it was rough. We had very long rehearsals that often involved lots of waiting around… we weren’t allowed any technology in rehearsal due to contract reasons, so we often had to find stuff to keep us busy while we waited. In the end, it was all worth it” Stenseth said about the rehearsal process.

Justin Timberlake has performed the Super Bowl halftime show three times total during his career.  His first appearance was with ‘N’Sync in 2001.  He also performed with Janet Jackson in 2004 in what would become one of the most controversial live performances in modern television history.  Most recently he made the stage in 2018 at Super Bowl LII with his band ‘The Tennessee Kids’ and the UMMB. “We played ‘Suit & Tie’ while being in Justin’s background and we also marched around and danced on the field during ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’”.   

When asked about being able to perform with Justin Timberlake, Stenseth said, “It was crazy… Performing with Justin Timberlake was a dream that I never expected to come true but will cherish forever”.