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UW-Eau Claire Blugold Marching Band
to Play at Packers Season Opener Sept. 8

RELEASED: Sept. 2, 2008

Blugold Marching Band drummer
Blugold Marching Band drummer and UW-Eau Claire sophomore Aaron Monson performed with the band Aug. 29 during a welcome picnic for new UW-Eau Claire freshmen. The band will perform Sept. 8 during halftime of the Green Bay Packers' season opener against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. (UW-Eau Claire photo by Rick Mickelson)

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugold Marching Band will perform a halftime show during the Green Bay Packers season opener against the Minnesota Vikings Sept. 8 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

The band's director, Dr. Randal Dickerson, a UW-Eau Claire associate professor of music, recently received word that an opening for the halftime slot was available. The last-minute opening occurred when a retirement ceremony to honor former Packers quarterback Brett Favre was cancelled after Favre's recent decision not to retire and his subsequent trade by the Packers to the New York Jets.

"The Packers media director called me on Wednesday morning during our practice at Carson Park," Dickerson said. "Knowing it was a call from Green Bay, I took the phone call with the band watching and listening. At the end of the call I gave a 'thumbs up' gesture to the band, and they all screamed."

Last spring Dickerson had sent the Packers a media packet containing pictures of the band, a performance DVD and a detailed letter describing the band, listing the dates they were available and proposing a list of music they'd like to play. He also made a follow-up call to the team's media relations director.

"Originally there was not a date available for us until December, and that is logistically too late for us," Dickerson said.

But the band will be ready to play at the season opener, Dickerson said.

"This year's band is already performing at a higher level than any year in the past, so we will be in great shape by next Monday night," he said. "The energy level is at an all-time high, and this just added fuel to the fire."

The band, allotted seven minutes for its Lambeau halftime appearance, will perform three of the songs it's been preparing to play at UW-Eau Claire Blugold football games. This fall's show, titled "Greatest Songs of the Rock Era," includes music from Guns 'n Roses, Kansas and Styx, Dickerson said, noting that later in the season it will also include music from Bon Jovi.

The Sept. 8 performance will be the Blugold Marching Band's second appearance at a Green Bay Packers home game. The group first performed at Lambeau Field in October 2004 but a few things have changed since then.

"The major difference is that in '04 the band had 125 members, and this year it has 230 members," Dickerson said. "Along with the size difference the band has also developed a much higher energy style."

The Blugold Marching Band is the largest marching band of any NCAA Division III college or university, Dickerson has said.

Besides its performances at Lambeau Field and all UW-Eau Claire Blugolds home football games, the band will make several additional appearances this fall:

  • Sept. 5: Halftime performance at the Menomonie High School football game against Wausau West High School. The game begins at 7 p.m. at UW-Stout's Williams Stadium.
  • Sept. 11: Exhibition performance at "Music Along the Chippewa," a contest for high school marching bands at Dorais Field in Chippewa Falls. The Blugold Marching Band will perform at the close of the competition for about 2,000 high school students and their parents.
  • Oct. 25: Exhibition performance at the Youth in Music "Contest of Champions," a high school marching band contest at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The Blugold Marching Band and the University of Minnesota Marching Band each will play exhibition performances at the competition featuring the best high school bands from six states.
  • Sept. 27: Exhibition performance at the Lincoln-Way Invitational Field Show in New Lenox, Ill., the largest high school marching band contest in the Chicago area.
  • Nov. 2: Second annual stage show at 2 p.m. in UW-Eau Claire's Zorn Arena.

-30-

JP

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