EMU marching band makes TV splash with "Hawaii Five-O" theme

by Geoff Larcom, Published July 20, 2010

YPSILANTI - The surf was up for members of the Eastern Michigan University Marching band recently, as the group played the famous “Hawaii Five-O” theme song for the local CBS affiliate, WWJ TV.

While there were no waves on the lake at EMU, the area echoed with the classic sounds of the 1970s series on the morning of July 13. About 25 members of the band, dressed in full uniform, performed for a crew of CBS officials in an effort to become part of the promotional ads for a new Five-O television series, set to begin this fall on CBS. Network officials will decide in the coming weeks which performances to include in the ads.

“It’s great exposure for the university and the band program,” said drum major Chad Mielens, a senior music education major from Bay City.  “These kinds of opportunities don’t happen often.”

The band performed two versions of the “Five-O” theme. At the beginning of the second rendition, Mielens hopped into the middle of the band as the group all made surfing motions before breaking into the song.

CBS requested each of its 14 network-owned affiliates, including Detroit, to find a top-flight musical group that could play the theme for consideration in the promo ads. Eastern’s new marching band director, Amy Knopps, was quick to respond, and assembled the band members with only a few days notice.

The “Hawaii Five-O” series and its distinctive theme song were a network fixture for more than a decade, from 1968-80. Actor Jack Lord’s signature phrase, “Book ‘em Danno,” which often ended an episode, became part of the decade’s popular lexicon.

The show featured a fictional state police unit run by Detective Steve McGarrett, played by Lord.  The theme music, composed by Morton Stevens, became especially popular. Some critics called it the best TV theme song of all time

Geoff Larcom



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