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Why the Notre Dame Band Still Plays Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”: An Investigative Report

Why on earth does the Notre Dame band still play the Song of the Summer from 2010? Pat Rick talks to some band insiders and explores the most likely theories

Radio City Summer Live 2015 - Liverpool Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns

Ladies and gentlemen, I meant to get some of these published way earlier in the summer, but having a job and going to 1,000 weddings has, unfortunately, really cut into my nonsense-writing time.

To help inject a little spirited discussion into this otherwise lethargic off-season, I reached out to the ever-reliable Twitter and Facebook communities a few months ago for some fun article ideas to keep me out of trouble.

The suggestions sent to me were solid, as they ranged from investigative reports on the radiation lab building on campus to demands for player/dorm comparisons to Game of Thrones and Harry Potter characters.

If you have ever read anything I’ve written, this kind of pure, unadulterated poppycock is right up my alley. Over this final month of the off-season, I intend on publishing some of these important bits of journalism to tide us all over prior to Labor Day Weekend.

This Week’s Piece

“Either an explainer or an investigative piece on why the band plays Taio Cruz’s ‘Dynamite’ so much”

- Arnav Dutt

This submission by my friend/Stanford Hall ping pong nemesis Arnav has truly been a question I’ve asked myself for years, and I suspect many of you have pondered it as well.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish marching band is a storied, talented, incredible group whose renditions of countless songs at ND sporting events have been entertaining fans for nearly 175 years.

Rarely are songs played for more than a year or two before they’re ditched for more current fare (at least, that’s what I’ve always assumed), so it’s an absolute mystery as to why Taio Cruz’s hit song from 2010 — his second single in the US and his most played song on Spotify (more than 286 million times) — is still being played by the band 9 years later (and counting).

143rd Kentucky Derby - Unbridled Eve Gala Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Unbridled Eve

To get to the bottom of this, I reached out to a few friends of mine who were in band during our time at Notre Dame*, asking them the tough questions:

How are songs selected/disposed of for each game’s setlist? What makes “Dynamite” special? Is there a deeper conspiracy here involving the British crown?

You know, all the hard-hitting questions we’ve been asking amongst ourselves, in the Notre Dame Stadium crowd, listening to Cruz’s former Song of the Summer play each Saturday.

*PAT RICK NOTE: I want to be very clear up-front that NONE of those interviewed for this article were ever the band members who got to hold and/or spray the fire extinguishers used to help the band show rocket ships taking off or cars/motorcycles zooming across the field, leaving behind a cloud of exhaust. So, you know they’re telling the truth in their answers, because those fire extinguisher people are the only ones I could see having a blind allegiance to the band and being unwilling to divulge the truth here (because the fire extinguisher thing looks fun as hell and they would be loyal to the group that enabled that opportunity)

To start understanding how Taio Cruz has been able to infiltrate our football-watching lives for so long, I think we need to begin our investigation with the basic processes and procedures of the Notre Dame Band.

Considering the band has rarely played Pitbull’s timeless classic “Timber” or the year-round hit “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, my first theory heading into this series of interviews was that the process of song selection is nebulous and controlled by some faceless regime behind closed doors — that’s the only way it makes sense that “Dynamite” has reached the status it has.

1-for-1 on your theories, Pat.

“It was a faceless governance from the band directors. I think at one point they appointed a ‘show committee’ — band members who met once a week to suggest songs,” class of 2012 sousaphone player Kevin Eller told me via email. “They accepted some of our suggestions, but most of the time it was just songs they picked. We never knew what songs we were gonna play until they handed them out in practice.”

As I dug further, I began to truly realize how hauntingly unclear this whole song-choosing ritual really was.

“It is a mysterious process,” Kaitlin “Phantom” Horsch told me in a whispered tone via email. “...if we told you, we’d have to kill you.”

Horsch (class of 2013) spent 3 years as a baritone in the band before serving in her senior year as Assistant Drum Major. I can certainly attest to her credibility — we watch The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise) together, and that sort of bond allows for clear insight into a person’s integrity. Kaitlin is as trustworthy as they come.

ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” - Season Six

Horsch also mentioned someone named “Sam Sanchez,” saying that whatever he decided sounded good for that week was likely the choice for the list of songs to play.

Seems like a lot of power for one person, right? And who is this Sam Sanchez guy? What do we know about him?

A quick Google search led me to plenty of different references to Sanchez as an Assistant Band Director and a professor in the Department of Music at Notre Dame. Here’s what I was able to dig up on this Ultimate Chooser of Songs for Games:

  • He’s a Double Domer with a Bachelor of Arts in Percussion Performance and a Master of Arts in far, so awesome (SOURCE)
  • He’s a recipient of Notre Dame’s Outstanding Band Member Award...also pretty awesome (SOURCE)
  • He designs all of the band’s halftime drills, shares the conducting responsibilities for the concert and basketball bands, specializes in music technology and video editing, and rehearses the flute choir, percussion ensemble, and drumline...that’s a lot of stuff (SOURCE)
  • He served three terms on the CBDNA Committee for Athletic Bands and as an adjudicator/clinician for several groups/events, including Bowl Games of America and the New Zealand Concert Band Association’s National Festival...I know some of these words (SOURCE)
  • He worked internationally with the Artane Band from Dublin, Ireland and designed the drill for their performance at the Liverpool Tattoo...pretty cool international stuff here (SOURCE)
  • He has an overall quality score of 4.3 on pretty darn good (SOURCE)
  • He has a dog named Edwin...that’s a good dog name (SOURCE)
  • At least one person loves his sunglasses...hell yeah (SOURCE)
  • He REALLY dislikes American Airlines
  • Like, A LOT

So, yeah, I have some thoughts about some of what I uncovered there, but I’ll get to that in a second. First, let’s continue uncovering how the fundamentals are done with the band — we talked about who runs song selection, but how do songs enter the rotation? And once they’re in the rotation, what causes some to fall off the list, while others become mainstays? And why in the world would a Taio Cruz song from 2010 meet the criteria of those mainstays?

Hallam FM Summer Live 2015 - Sheffield Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns

Kenny Matuszewski, tuba extraordinaire from the class of 2013, had a fairly simple explanation to kick us off.

“Songs are generally chosen on the basis of being catchy and recognizable to the crowd. That’s why we tend to play pop songs, and our first show of the year is always ‘Songs of the Summer,’ ” he explained. “There was no better feeling than hearing people sing along to a certain song while playing my tuba.”

There’s no question that “Dynamite” would be considered a ‘Song of the Summer’ for 2010. It was released in the US just after the school year ended, and its popularity reached a crescendo just as the students would be returning to South Bend in August for jam-packed, sweaty, and inebriated renditions of the song in crowded dorm parties.

I can absolutely attest to this, considering August 2010 was the date of the first sophomore year party in the Stanford Hall 4th-floor, six-man-suite common room our group of friends secured with the help of two senior friends who had early draft picks in the prior spring’s Dorm Room Draft.

We sent out the Facebook invite for that party roughly 3 months ahead of time, forwarding it to literally every Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s student we were remotely in contact with heading into our second year of college.

We were are complete idiots.
That “Girls get in for free until 2 AM” promotion KILLED

Of course, that party ended up getting the ENTIRE DORM shut down before midnight, as our rector instructed the RAs to no longer allow non-Griffins to enter the dorm, for fear of the debauchery and fire code violations such ridiculous numbers would engender on the 4th floor.

Furthermore, that party holds significant importance to Eller, who lived in Stanford at the time and was friends with us idiots who hosted that party.

“I think it should be noted that TheInitial ‘letsGetFuckingWastedAndDanceto...’ party in August 2010 was when and where I met my wife,” Eller explained. “Neither of us remembers a whole lot from that meeting (good job and thank you for supplying all that booze, my current married state depended on it), but apparently something stuck!”

Anyway, I got off topic a bit remembering the most crowded dorm party I’ve ever been to — at said party, my hazy memory definitely includes more than one play of Cruz’s hit single as a sea of drunken idiots “came to dance-dance-dance-dance” in order to “celebrate and live my their life lives.” That was a certifiable Dorm Party Anthem, especially because of the momentum it built up as a Song of the Summer.

20th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala “Love To Erase MS” - Dinner And Show Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Race To Erase MS

Eller concurred with Matuszewski, and offered a little more insight into how songs make it into the rotation besides being a Song of the Summer.

“First off, if the song is played by the band Chicago, we’re definitely getting to it! I know they always tried to do a ‘Songs of the Summer’ show at least once a season. Like there was ‘Dynamite’ in 2010. In 2009, it was ‘Fire Burning on the Dance Floor.’ In 2011 it was ‘Moves Like Jagger’ and ‘Party Rock Anthem,’ ” Eller said.

“If we’re going somewhere for a game we’d always play something having to do with where we’re going. Like one time we went to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, so we played a song about El Paso. We also played ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ because everyone in Texas really, really loves Texas. Now that I mention it, we also played ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ when we played Washington State in San Antonio,” he recalled.

“Then when we played Army in Yankee Stadium we played a half time show of New York songs. I remember, too, we did like a 70s and 80s show where we played ‘Come Sail Away’ and formed a boat on the field, then played ‘Walk Like an Egyptian.’ We also did a Bon Jovi show one time, since Bon Jovi was in town, so why not?” Eller reasoned.

“Also, the band directors like The Backer. So we did an unofficial Backer Halftime show every year or two,” Eller elaborated. “They wouldn’t call it a Backer Halftime Show, though. They always came up with some front/other theme. But we always knew.”

He then summed the whole process up, saying, “So basically the rules of the songs they pick are: do a ‘Songs of the Summer’ show first or second home game, do a Chicago show or two, play songs based on where you’re going for the big away games, and maybe do a Backer show. The rest were pretty much whatever the band directors felt like.”

So, of course Matuszewski’s reasoning, and Eller’s comprehensive answer here, explain why Sam Sanchez and his Anonymous Council of Music Pickers chose the song as one to play in the 2010 season opener — but why on earth is it still in the rotation today? How do songs typically get discontinued, and why wasn’t this one?

Horsch’s answer was pretty simple, but wholly unsatisfying in answering my desperate pleas for Taio Cruz explanations.

“If the student section likes it, then it usually stays,” she stated succinctly.

Matuszewski added to that thought, expounding on the natural cycle of songs played for the general populace. “I would say it’s analogous to pop songs’ lifespan on the radio. When a song gets played less frequently (usually after a year or so), there will be less of a focus on it. Classic songs that have staying power, such as ‘Take On Me’ or ‘Sweet Caroline,’ also have staying power with the band because the song is so good. They’re also just fun to play!”

Eller essentially said the same thing, adding that songs like “Africa” by Toto, “Take On Me,” and most Bon Jovi songs seem to have staying power with the band/band directors. He also gave some insight into how songs end up getting dropped, though.

“Some songs do leave the rotation though. Like ‘Fire Burning on the Dance Floor’ by Sean Kingston, which we pretty much never played again after 2009,” Eller said. “...Same with ‘Moves Like Jagger’ and ‘All About That Bass.’ Usually when a pop song runs its course, the band stops playing it too. It’s the stuff from like the 70s and 80s and The Backer that has the staying power, usually.”

Sean Kingston Hosts Pool Party At Sky Beach Club At The Tropicana Las Vegas Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

But if the above is the case, why on earth is “Dynamite” — which certainly ran its course nearly a decade ago — still played by the Notre Dame band? Eller himself doesn’t get it.

“I never hear it anywhere else anymore either, which is part of what makes ‘Dynamite’ so perplexing — the Notre Dame band is the only thing keeping that song alive.”

He gave a few guesses at possible answers, though, saying, “I could throw a theory out there that since every now and then we do an unofficial Backer halftime show, and the band directors were in cahoots with The Backer to keep ‘Dynamite’ alive...but I don’t think The Backer plays ‘Dynamite’ anymore — it doesn’t exactly scream Backer Anthem,” he concluded.

“It could be that one of the band directors fell in love with it and therefore won’t take it off the set of sheet music we use,” Eller offered up. “I know one of the band directors, Larry Dwyer, randomly gets into songs based off their syncopation or whatnot. I think that is what I’ll go with until proven otherwise – Larry Dwyer fell in love with ‘Dynamite’ and wants to keep playing it.”

Taio Cruz Performs In Melbourne Photo by Martin Philbey/Redferns

Matuszewski offered a similar opinion on how “Dynamite” has been able to outlast other Songs of the Summer, explaining that “some songs become ‘signature’ stands songs over the years, either because the band finds it super fun to play, or the arrangement is that good.”

He continued, “In a few cases, I’ve actually found the band arrangement to sound better than the original song. ‘Dynamite’ is one of those songs. Speaking of dorm party anthems, I’m still holding out hope that ‘Party in the USA’ will be arranged someday, maybe as part of a #tbt show.” **


Horsch is in-line with the tuba and sousaphone guys, explaining that “Dynamite” was just too catchy and too good of a song to keep away. “They got rid of it, but brought it back based on popular demand. Again, it goes back to the catchy/strong melody — no one is going to forget those lyrics!” she concluded.

All of that makes sense on the surface, but something just doesn’t feel right, in my humble and very objective opinion.

I loved “Dynamite” as much as the next millennial, and yet until I began writing this article, I hadn’t listened to the song in years (of course, to inspire me for this, I have been listening to it on loop as I type — I refuse to turn it off until I am finished writing).

There has to be another answer that makes more sense, rather than just “it’s so good of a song, it had to be included going forward.”

That’s when I stumbled across something interesting, folks.

Screenshot of Taio Cruz’s Wikipedia page


Screenshot of Taio Cruz’s Wikipedia page


Screenshot of Taio Cruz’s Wikipedia page

Hmmm. Interesting. Where have I seen that before?

Screenshot of Queen Elizabeth II’s Wikipedia page


Screenshot of Queen Elizabeth II’s Wikipedia page


Screenshot of Queen Elizabeth II’s Wikipedia page

Dear God...

You don’t think — I mean, that would be preposterous — but could it be possible? There’s no way. But


Yeah, I know it sounds crazy.

But does it?

I asked our trusted band sources the same question, and they couldn’t deny the possibility — nay, the PROBABILITY — of it.

“I’d believe it. The band directors are really tight with some folks from the band Chicago,” Eller replied. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were living it up with some high-up British royalty!”

Horsch chimed in as well, offering a similar confirmation of this wild, but possible, theory. “Yes definitely,” she said when asked if she thinks the British Royal Family is pulling the strings here.

Matuszewski played his cards a little closer to the vest, but was clear in how speechless the realization that Cruz is British rendered him. “I did not know he was British!” Kenny managed to send back. Truly, truly astonished by this theory was Matuszewski.

But wait, you’re probably wondering what other possible proof there is that the Notre Dame band is connected to the British Royal Family on this. Is it just that they play a song by England native Taio Cruz???

No, you dingus — there’s more to look at.

Take a gander back at some of the facts I uncovered about Sam Sanchez, the mastermind behind all song selections:

  • He has done lots of international work — plenty of trips over to Europe that could have included some secret rendezvous action with Queen Elizabeth and her crew...
  • His dog’s name is Edwin. The name Edwin originates where? You guessed it — England
  • Only someone with a fierce loyalty to the British throne would show such a distaste for American Airlines. I’ve certainly never seen anyone else show any disdain for any airline, ever. My Twitter timeline is usually full of praise for them, in fact:

Thus, I think it’s safe to say that, based on the above, this airtight theory — that Sam Sanchez is clearly good friends with Queen Elizabeth II and has agreed to have the band play her favorite song (“Dynamite” by Taio Cruz) every year in perpetuity — holds a lot of water.

Oh also, another tie-in that just seems too perfect to be a coincidence — Kevin Eller met his wife at that party where Taio Cruz played various times. When you think of very famous, well-known weddings, who do you think of? THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY! IT ALL CONNECTS!

With that said, there are other potential explanations between the extremes of “they still play it because it’s a good song” and “it’s an international conspiracy involving a 93-year-old British woman pulling the strings so that an American, Catholic university marching band plays a 2010 pop song.”

Let’s quickly explore those other potential options that populate the middle ground.

It’s possible the band directors have just forgotten how to teach music and thus are unable to instruct the band on playing any new songs, leading to the prolonged stay of “Dynamite” on the playlist

Honestly I could see this one being true. People forget things all the time — I forget to pack at least one critical item about 50% of the time when I go on trips.

However, when I pitched this theory to my interviewees, I got mixed responses.

Horsch seemed on board with the possibility. “Maybe, I wouldn’t rule it out,” she said via email. “If 75% of the band remembers how to play it from last year, then it’s an easy song to put in when there’s back-to-back home games and two shows to throw together.”

Eller wasn’t convinced, though.

“Naw, I wouldn’t think so,” he explained. “ ‘Dynamite’ is like, a real easy song to play (all pop songs are). If they got lazy and/or forgot how to teach music, they’d quit it with all those Chicago songs — those are actually tough to learn!”

Matuszewski declined to comment on this question, leading me to believe the mere insinuation that the band directors forgot how to teach music to the band was a tad insulting. I have to say I agree with him. What idiot wrote these questions?

Maybe Taio Cruz Pays the ND Band Lots of Money to Ensure His Song Is Always Played — It’s Being Done Already By Chicago

The band Chicago has often elicited the same questions from me over the years as the ones we are trying to answer here about Taio Cruz. Why are their songs played so often by the band, and why is there seemingly an annual halftime show where Chicago actually comes out and plays with the band?

My band insiders brought me up to speed on that story really quick.

Here’s how Eller broke it down for me:

So there is this guy — Peter Schivarelli — he played football for Notre Dame in the 1970s, and now he’s the manager of the band Chicago or something like that. He’s also like, really tight with the band directors. He’d hang out with them and the drum majors and section leaders often times after games or practices. I heard some stories about funny things that happened when he was around (I cannot remember the specifics but it sounded to me like he liked to party it up with the band head honchos). He also bought the band cheesecake after every Thursday practice — so like 400 slices of cheesecake, all from his dime. So since the band directors were so tight with this Peter Schivarelli dude, we played Chicago’s music a lot, and sometimes even had the band Chicago join us for the halftime show.

Matuszewski added a little color to this history of Chicago and the Notre Dame band as well. “We’ve had a deep connection to the band Chicago for years...if you look closely, the section shirts the band wears on Friday march outs have the Chicago logo on the sleeves, thanks to their support over the years.”

“Band members (myself especially) also fondly look back on cheesecake day,” Matuszewski said. “...the one day a year that Chicago would buy enough cheesecakes for the band to have after practice.”

Horsch confirmed all of this as well, which leads me to the obvious next question — is Taio Cruz a less-visible supporter of the Notre Dame Band, sending them lots of money, and potentially desserts (Cruz seems like a cobbler guy, in my opinion) in order to ensure his song stays on the list forever?

I have to say, it could be possible.

Quattro Volte Vodka Preview With Taio Cruz
Perhaps Taio bought the band vodka over the years???
Photo by Jason Merritt/WireImage

Furthermore, if Taio Cruz is indeed supplying money/dessert/vodka to the band, I can segue here into another question I asked all my interviewees: “if you could choose between having dinner with Taio Cruz or your greatest enemy, whom would you choose and why? No matter your answer, please specify who your greatest enemy is.” ***

In asking this question, 100% of respondents said they would rather have dinner with Taio Cruz, which is ABSOLUTELY the choice a former band member would make if they knew Cruz has been providing them with sustenance over the years. Here is a graph showing the responses to this question:

Kenny even specified he would want to have dinner with Cruz only if Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry cooked

***PAT RICK NOTE: 67% of respondents told us their greatest enemy. Matuszewski’s answer was “slow wifi.”

And Eller’s? Well...

Kevin Eller’s greatest enemy is the Zoloft mascot and honestly I am HERE FOR that answer.

The Continued Commitment to “Dynamite” is Part of a Long-Con Coup By Band Directors to Replace the Notre Dame Victory March with Taio Cruz’s 2010 Song of the Summer

Our band experts, across the board, pretty much trashed this theory, although when I asked them what THEY would replace the Victory March with, they provided some solid answers.

Matuszewski, for instance, chose a Pat Rick personal favorite, saying, “ ‘Mr. Brightside.’ No matter where you go, everyone in the room knows the song and gets hyped up. You could probably bring about world peace just by playing it.”

2005 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Horsch, meanwhile, offered this answer: “ ‘Africa (Remix).’ ‘Africa’ is the baritone’s song, and I was happy to see a new version come out (although the original is still the best).”

Eller gave a shout out to his girl Carly Rae, which I think a lot of us can get behind — especially after hearing how it connects to Eller’s admissions journey with his dream school and how it connects to all of our feelings toward the school after graduating.

“I’d go with ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson. It sounds weird, but it makes sense. For example, ‘Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe’ is what I told the Notre Dame admissions office after they put me on the wait list. Sure enough, they did call and I got in!” he explained.

He continued, “Also ‘Before you came into my life I missed you so bad, I missed you so bad, I missed you so so bad’ is how most Notre Dame alumni feel these days about Notre Dame.”

Carly Rae Jepsen Performs At The Wiltern Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Eller even proceeded to push for action on this, adding, “If this is a real thing, I motion we start this transition as quickly as possible. I also wonder what people thought of the Victory March back in 1908. It wasn’t The Greatest of all University Fight Songs or world-known. It was just a song. Somebody had to make it up. So perhaps 100 years from now, ‘Call Me Maybe’ will have the same world renown that the fight song currently enjoys.”

Of course, as I said earlier, these folks don’t buy into the band directors trying to replace the fight song with Taio Cruz’s hit single. Horsch quickly dismissed the theory, saying, “Unlikely, our fight song is one of the few with syncopation which the directors love to point out.” Matuszewski agreed, and further commented, “[a]s the Victory March famously goes, ‘[w]hat though the odds be great or small, Old Notre Dame will win over all.’ Enough said.”

Eller, of course, also agreed — although not without again giving Ms. Jepsen a little more shameless promotion. “I don’t think so, but if that overthrow happens, I hope they show Carly Rae some love!” he exclaimed via Gmail. “I really do think Larry Dwyer randomly fell in love with this song and won’t get off it.”


There’s a lot to chew on here, so I think for now I’ll finish typing about this topic and let you all ponder and discuss in the comments.

Personally, I believe in the British Royal Family theory. Taio Cruz is from England. So is the Queen. And Sam Sanchez could easily be the link between those two and Notre Dame — I mean “Edwin”??? Come on, it’s so obvious!

Preview Of Queen Victoria’s Palace Exhibition Marking The 200th Anniversary Of Her Birth
Queen Elizabeth checking out some musical instruments and reminiscing on her favorite music (Taio Cruz’s hit album Rokstarr)
Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Furthermore, I don’t think it’s as simple as the band directors loving the song still, nor do I think Taio Cruz is trying to rival Peter Schivarelli in supplying desserts to current band members. And no again, I don’t think the fight song is in danger of being replaced — unless the Queen decrees it so, in which case all bets are off.

But enough about my opinions — what do you as readers think? Answer the poll below, and sound off in the comments with your most likely, or most intricate/ridiculous, theories.


Why is "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz still played by the Notre Dame band 9 years after its US release?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    The band directors like it
    (34 votes)
  • 28%
    British Royal Family conspiracy
    (33 votes)
  • 16%
    Taio Cruz is buying dessert for the band
    (19 votes)
  • 18%
    Ken Dye and Co. want to overthrow the Victory March in favor of "Dynamite"
    (22 votes)
  • 6%
    It’s something else...I will comment my thoughts below
    (8 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now


I asked my three band friends what their favorite and least favorite songs to play as band members were. Their answers are below.

Do you agree or disagree with their choices on the best songs the band has played? What are your personal favorites from the Notre Dame Marching Band? Sound off in the comments on that as well, and let’s get excited for another full season of great band performances!!!

Kevin Eller: “I really liked the Bon Jovi songs. I really liked playing ‘Come Sail Away’ and ‘American Pie’ too, especially since that gave us an excuse to turn into a vehicle on the field. And that treadmill song, ‘Here it Goes Again’ was pretty neat. So was ‘Africa’ – can’t go wrong with a Backer Anthem.

My definite favorite though was ‘You Belong With Me’ by Taylor Swift. Hearing everyone sing along with that was just pure gold. I didn’t actively hate any of the songs we played, but I felt kinda “eh” about some of ‘em, and it honestly wasn’t that many. ‘Shake It’ by Metro Station was a bit of a snoozer for me, and we got off that one pretty quick. It was supposedly Song of the Summer of 2008, but I’d hardly heard it and it was never big at dorm parties. ‘I Will Follow Him’ from Sister Act was kind of a goofy one.”

Kenny Matuszewski: “My favorite songs to play: ‘Winter Games’ (the theme song of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, by David Foster), ‘Sweet Caroline,’ and ‘Africa.’ The most significant song was playing the Irish national anthem when the band traveled to Dublin in 2012 for the Navy Game. I couldn’t think of any higher honor at that point than representing and respecting the motherland.”

Kaitlin Horsch: “Favorites: ‘Jai Ho,’ ‘Some Nights.’ Least Favorite: ‘Winter Games,’ ‘25 or 6 to 4’ ”