Badger Band Show 2016

It goes without saying, but in Madison the University of Wisconsin is the heart of the city in many ways - academically, athletically, and a significant piece of the town's culture.

Before the Badger's football and basketball teams joined the better programs in the country; one of the best reasons to go was to enjoy the band.

Even then, it was just a taste for most folks, which is why director Mike Leckrone started a concert for the band 42 years ago.

Last year was the first time we saw the Wisconsin Badger Varsity Band show in person.

A mystery surrounding the show before it debuts is the question of how Leckrone will arrive on stage.

Opening night, he came by boat, piloted by Bucky Badger.

This year's show is finished and unless you have tickets you can catch a condensed version on Wisconsin Public Television at 7 p.m. on April 30.

The band presents favorite pep band songs heard inside Camp Randall and the Kohl Center, but also ventures outside what the casual listener might expect.

This year, the band featured a medley of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra; did a tribute to the country rock band The Eagles; and staged an elaborate number of hits from Les Miserables.

The show packs in a lot of variety.

The Tuba section is featured.  The field assistants, many band alumni, play a tune.  And the band offers their version of the best TV Theme songs.

Some of my favorite parts are when the band brings it's 5th Quarter inside.

Band members leave their seats and scatter across the arena floor.  It is chaos, yet the band plays together in the midst of different acts.

Most of the band is compromised of students majoring in subjects other than music.  The largest contingent are studying Engineering.

I suspect many will continue to feed their love of music and stay in shape for future alumni band appearances.

I'm sure none will forget the fun they had, and gave others, as members of the Wisconsin Varsity Band!