MSU football: Celebrating more than just Big 10 Champs

During the 2015 football season, MSU took the opportunity to celebrate cross-cultural exchange through art and performance.

The finale of the halftime show, including the marching band, color guard and color smoke effects.

The finale of the halftime show, including the marching band, color guard and color smoke effects.

It’s been a great year for Michigan State University athletics. The MSU men’s basketball team has started their season off with a number one ranking, and the MSU football team celebrated a victory over University of Iowa, making them Big Ten Champions! MSU football quarterback Connor Cook was awarded the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for his performance as the top quarterback in the nation, only the second Big Ten quarterback to accomplish this honor. Kicker Michael Geiger pushed the Spartans to victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes this season with his game-winning field goal, and freshman LJ Scott showed those who bleed green that we have a lot more greatness to look forward to in the upcoming season.

For students at MSU, the biggest game of any season is usually the one against University of Michigan, our mitten rivals. This year brought another MSU victory over the Wolverines, which of course was very exciting. This year, however, it can be argued that the most important game of the season was on Nov. 14, 2015, against Maryland. The Spartans did win this football game 24-7, but that’s not why it was important. Instead, it’s due to what happened at halftime.

The Spartan Marching Band executed a marvelous halftime show, with previously unseen collaboration between athletics, music and arts on campus. The show was called “The Art of the March: Cues from Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’,” and was designed by New York/Beijing artist and creative team leader of the 2008 Beijing Olympic opening and closing ceremonies Jennifer Wen Ma. The show was a beautiful collective of 300 band members, over 300 other performers and approximately 1,500 audience members who participated in choreographed card stunts.

This cross-cultural and cross-campus show was the perfect kickoff to International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as a great nod to the 10th anniversary of MSU’s China Initiative. MSU’s Cultural Engagement Council sponsored the show to celebrate “The China Experience: An MSU Exploration of Arts and Culture,” an 18-month focus on Chinese culture at MSU. Again, this has been a great year for Spartan athletics.

Michigan State University Extension has their own program recognizing the importance of the arts in cross-cultural exchanges, which has impacted over 350,000 youth since its founding over 25 years ago. It’s called the Michigan 4-H Children’s Art Exchange, where Michigan youth in grades K-6 create visual letters that represent their story, life and reality to be sent as an exchange to youth the same age in China. This visual letter utilizes youth creative capacities while reducing, and often eliminating, any language barrier between them and their Chinese counter parts. The China Art Exchange is one of many programs MSU Extension coordinates to help youth become global citizens and fits in perfectly with the China Experience.

To learn more about the Michigan 4-H Children’s Art Exchange, read “Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China: Impactful! Part 1” and “Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China: Impactful! Part 2.” You can also contact Art Exchange coordinator Jan at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), as well as your local 4-H program coordinator.

Spartan Marching Band

Spartan Marching Band and other performers.

Crowd holding signs

Fans in the stadium participate as part of the art performers in the halftime show, via choreographed card stunts.

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