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Media Memo: Blugold Marching Band to perform at Vikings home opener Sept. 19

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Julie Poquette

DATE: Sept. 15, 2010

SUBJECT: Blugold Marching Band to perform at Vikings home opener Sept. 19

UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Marching Band will perform Sept. 19 before more than 64,000 football fans during halftime at the Minnesota Vikings' 2010-11 season home opener against the Miami Dolphins. The noon game will be played at Mall of America Field in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.

The band's director, Dr. Randal Dickerson, received the news Friday and announced it to band members during a meeting just 15 minutes before the band played during UW-Eau Claire's home football game against St. John's University of Collegeville, Minn.

"They were pumped," Dickerson said of band members' reaction to the news.

Dickerson estimated that 40 percent of the band's members are from Minnesota.

"The Vikings are treating us really well," Dickerson said, noting that during the game the 270-member band will have 100 seats on the playing field and 170 in the stands.

The band will perform a Latin-themed show that includes songs by Shakira, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan.

This will be the third performance at an NFL game for the Blugold Marching Band since Dickerson began as director in 2000. The group previously performed at Green Bay Packers' home games in 2004 and 2008.

Since 2000, the size of the Blugold Marching Band has more than quadrupled, from just 60 members to 270 this season and last. Membership needs to stay at that number for now due to the number of uniforms, instruments and other equipment available, Dickerson said.

The band is the largest among NCAA Division III schools and as large as bands from many Division I schools, Dickerson said.

"If we were a member of the Big 10, we'd be the fifth largest marching band in that conference," he said.

The band's membership includes students from eight states and from all academic areas at UW-Eau Claire, with 70 percent of its members being non-music majors, Dickerson said.

Members of the media are welcome to photograph and videotape Blugold Marching Band practices leading up to the Vikings game performance. Remaining practices will be Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 15 and 16, from 4:15-5:30 p.m. on the field to the west of UW-Eau Claire's Haas Fine Arts Center.

For more information about the Blugold Marching Band and to arrange to interview band members, contact Dr. Randal Dickerson at 715-836-2312 or dickerrc@uwec.edu. Also visit the Blugold Marching Band website.

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