The Marching 97, Lehigh University’s student-run band, performed its annual Eco-Flame on November 17 throughout the campus. By tradition, the event takes place the day before the Lehigh-Lafayette (Lehigh-Laf) football game affectionately known as “The Rivalry.”
During the Eco-Flame, the musicians march around campus from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon, interrupting classes with fight songs with the goal of getting faculty, staff and students into the spirit of the football rivalry ahead. The name of the event was coined in the 70s when Rich Aaronson, a Lehigh economics professor, asked the band to play for his ECO 001 class, according to the group’s website.
The Marching 97 entered through Packard Lab’s main doors at 9:00am sharp and headed straight for the office suite of Stephen DeWeerth, professor and dean of P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Lehigh has a tradition of nurturing “the whole student,” encouraging students to pursue different types of programs such as those in the arts, sports or community service. In fact, 61 percent of the Marching 97 are engineering majors in Rossin College, and 47 percent of the University’s choir major in engineering or a related interdisciplinary program.
The Marching 97 has performed at Carnegie Hall, the New York World’s Fair and at concert venues across the country. In December, they will travel abroad for the first time ever to perform in the invitation-only 2018 London New Year’s Day Parade.
The Eco-Flame tradition, according to Lehigh’s student newspaper The Brown and White, is what attracted the parade committee to invite the band.
The Marching 97 has been in existence for 111 years. The group will be one of only two U.S. university marching bands to play in the London parade in 2018, and the only student-run band of the 20 that were invited.
The 153rd Lehigh-Laf game takes place on Saturday at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem.
November 17, 2017