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Blugold Marching Band looks for sponsors as ranks swell to 300

RELEASED: May 19, 2011

Blugold Marching Band
Learn more: Find out how the Blugold Marching Band has become one of the largest marching bands in Wisconsin, meet the director and more online.

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation and the Blugold Marching Band have teamed up to make sure the band plays on. A fundraising campaign to support the cost of maintaining one of the largest marching bands in Wisconsin is being introduced through band members.

"The Blugold Marching Band was one of the main reasons I chose UW-Eau Claire," said Bryan Kujawa, a junior music education major from Greenfield. "This past season I was given a leadership position and I've truly grown as a person because of it."

Kujawa is among the more than 50 percent of band members who say the respected organization factored into their decision to choose UW-Eau Claire. However, he is in the minority when it comes to band membership by major. A full 68 percent of Blugold Marching Band members are non-music majors. Dr. Randal Dickerson, director of the band, thrives on a diverse collection of students who are enthusiastic about music and performance, and believes students from any major can benefit from the experience.

"The Blugold Marching Band is a wonderful opportunity for students to become immersed in the campus culture and establish a network of friends from the get-go. Halftime performances at National Football League games, special events throughout the state and even European tours have given our members wonderful multicultural experiences," said Dickerson, who has been at the helm for the past decade.

A distinctive style of marching combines the precision and artistry of drum and bugle corps with the high energy of southern "show bands," but Dickerson simply calls the band's style "funk." The popular band has swelled to 300 members, which is beneficial for students but difficult to maintain in a challenging fiscal environment.

At $250 per band member, the Adopt a Blugold Marching Band Member campaign is an appeal to audiences who appreciate the band's crowd-pleasing style and wish to keep it going.

"The Blugold Marching Band has become an icon in the Eau Claire community and an international representative of excellence at UW-Eau Claire," said Nicole Poehling, associate director of annual giving for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. "The Foundation wants to help these students, many of whom pay their own expenses, including room and board during pre-season camp, and travel and dining expenses when the band is on tour."

More information about the campaign and the needs of the band can be found online. Those wishing to support the Blugold Marching Band should direct their donations to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation through the website or by contacting Nicole Poehling at 715-836-5628 or poehlinm@uwec.edu.

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RD/DW

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