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Media Memo: Blugold Marching Band to perform downtown Sept. 17

TO: News/Photo Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: Sept. 16, 2011

SUBJECT: Blugold Marching Band to perform downtown Sept. 17

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Blugold Marching Band will perform in Eau Claire three times on Saturday, Sept. 17.

At 10 a.m., some band members will lead the Alzheimer's Walk in Carson Park. The full band will perform during the International Fall Festival's Parade of Nations at 2:15 p.m. in downtown Eau Claire. Immediately following the parade, the band will set up for a 25-minute show on the Barstow Street bridge near Phoenix Park.

The Blugold Marching Band will practice for the Saturday performances from 4:15-5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16.

In just a few years, the Blugold Marching Band has grown from a group of about 60 students to a marching band with nearly 300 members. The band is the largest college marching band among schools in NCAA divisions II and III, said the group's director, Dr. Randal Dickerson. The band thrives on a diverse collection of students who are enthusiastic about music and performance, said Dickerson, who believes students from any major can benefit from the experience.

Seventy-two percent of the band's members are non-music majors. More than 50 percent of the band members say the marching band factored into their decision to attend UW-Eau Claire.

In a recent survey of current Blugold Marching Band members, when asked, "What was the first live Blugold Marching Band performance you ever saw?" 55 percent mentioned a location other than Carson Park or Eau Claire (such as the Minneapolis Metrodome, Chicago, Milwaukee or a National Football League game). It was a first impression of UW-Eau Claire for most, Dickerson said.

The band is made of up students from 10 states, and 62 percent are from Wisconsin. The others are from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Vermont and Massachusetts. Twenty-six members are from the Chippewa Valley cities of Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Altoona, Menomonie, Elk Mound and Fall Creek.

Blugold Marching Band members have performed in diverse settings, including halftime performances at NFL games, special events throughout the state and on European tours. Past tours included a News Year's performance at the Vatican. The Blugold Marching Band will perform during a Mediterranean cruise/tour in January 2012 that will include performances in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel.

The band's 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."

For more information about the Blugold Marching Band, contact the group's director, Dr. Randal Dickerson, at 715-836-2312 or dickerrc@uwec.edu.

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