Campus News

UW Band director to give last performance after 50 years

The UW Band Spring Show this week will be the last performance directed by veteran band-director Mike Leckrone. 

Image By: Dana Brandt

Beloved UW-Madison Varsity Band Director Mike Leckrone faces his final curtain call this weekend at the band’s annual spring concert at the Kohl Center. 

For 50 years, Leckrone has been directing the band on the Madison campus, bleeding Badger pride with every musical note. After half of a century of endless rehearsals and performances, he will conduct his final shows this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The show, which sold out the first day tickets went on sale, will feature the Badger Band, which is a combination of the Marching Band and the Varsity Band. 

The band is expected to perform songs by Lionel Richie and Duke Ellington along with Broadway hits. Guest soloists include David Jones, Dr. Grant Manhart, Emily Whelan and The Leckrone Family Band. Past concerts have also been known for surprise appearances, aerial stunts, pyrotechnics and multimedia displays. 

All of these moving parts are tied together by Leckrone, who leads passionately, according to UW band member Josie O’Donnell. 

“He brings more energy and more experience to his role than anyone in the business and knows how to instill that in his students,” O’Donnell said. 

Leckrone has impacted the lives of roughly 15,000 students and now that he’s leaving, his legacy will not soon be forgotten, UW band member Daniel Klugman said. 

“Everyone in Wisconsin knows this guy, he’s a legend here,” Klugman said. 

Since this is Leckrone’s last concert as head director, his students are keeping their fingers crossed that their hard work has paid off. 

“We really want it to be the best it can be for Mike’s sake … it’s more important than others in the past because it’s his last show,” UW band member Natalie Schmer said. 

“People want to make the show a show to remember,” Klugman agreed. “Everyone wants to show how much Mike means to us and how much he means to the university.” 

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