Bucky's Band Rocks It!

Bucky Badger, Mike Leckrone, and 273 energetic and
talented members of the Varsity Band. 4/20/2018 dwm photo
The University of Wisconsin Varsity Band puts on a show every spring.

The most recent was our fourth, and it's a must-see event.  The pictures barely capture the energy.  If you've never been, it is unlikely you ever experienced anything like it.

Mike Leckrone, the director of the Wisconsin Band since 1969, started the tradition in 1975.  It has grown to a three night run in the Kohl Center.  Wisconsin Public Television shows much of the concert on tape.

Just like other folks who couldn't attend, we first heard of the Varsity Band Concert on TV.  When we finally made it to Madison, it was something we really wanted to see.

Leckrone flies in after intermission.  4/29/18  (dwm)
It hasn't changed.  This year we went on Friday night and discovered the energy from the crowd and the band was higher than Thursday.  The parents of one of the 30 percussionists sat in front of us.

Like most band parents, they were excited and proud of their son.  I think everyone in the crowd feels that way about the band.

You don't sit back and relax at the show.  You sing, dance, and laugh.  Stadium and arena anthems are played along with pop hits and a musical number.  It's a variety show.

ABBA, the Beatles' Sargent Pepper, West Side Story, and pieces from Miss Saigon fit in with Rock Roll #2 and On Wisconsin.  Just like the average Midwest wedding reception, everyone gets up for the Chicken Dance.  There is so much variety that if you don't care for something, odds are you will like the next one.

It's not over until a record is set for the fastest
Chicken Dance... this year 23 seconds!  (dwm photo)
This year's show was great.  The talent on display was special and the guest performers were amazing.  If you haven't heard of Alphonso Horne, I think you will.

He was chosen by Wynton Marsalis as an up and coming jazz musician in 2011.   He has arrived. His ability on the trumpet and his singing were outstanding.  He returned after the break to lead a New Orleans style jazz parade which included the audience.  It set the place on fire (no, not really).

If you live in Wisconsin, you owe it to yourself to take in a show.  If you can't make it - you'll definitely want to see the highlights - this year it airs May 5 at 7 pm on Wisconsin Public Television.