A Look Inside: Blugold Marching Band

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 8:45 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Blugold Marching Band is open to UW-Eau Claire students of any major and represents virtually every department on campus. What one member says being a part of has been “an incredible blessing, a place where they found lifelong friends and a place to share their love of music.”

They are a huge part of the college football game day experience at Eau Claire’s Carson Park. More than 400 students strong, introducing the Blugold Marching Band.

Dr. Randy Dickerson arrived on the UWEC campus in the fall of 2000 with 50 kids in the band. “The band wasn’t accustomed to staying for the whole game. They would just come for the first half, do a halftime and then leave. And it took them a little bit to get them out of it and to make them understand what we were there for,” says Dickerson.

Finding and recruiting students with a passion for music, BMB gradually grew in numbers into one of the largest marching bands in the country.

“I love football. I’m from south Mississippi, I grew up in SEC country, so coming here I wanted to bring some of that energy that we had from those SEC and Big Ten bands into Carson Park. Once they bought into it, boy there was no stopping them.”

“The trumpets don’t deploy triple-F on that first chord.”

From his perch high above the practice field, Dickerson gets a bird’s-eye view of what works and what doesn’t. Coordination in a 400-member marching is critical to putting together a quality performance.

“We are a 100 yards spread from side to side and 33 1/2 yards from front to back. Imagine the acoustic problems because sound is not immediate. The sound takes a long time, when they see the hands move, the people on the back sideline, they react to it and by the time that their sound gets up to the front you’re a count and a half late.”

“If you’re on the 50-yard line or between the 45′s you watch a certain conductor. If you’re on the outsides, you watch a different conductor. If you transfer between the 35 and the 40 you have to switch conductor that you’re watching,” adds Dickerson.

“About my third year, 2003, we changed the style. I just ditched everything we were doing and went to a more dance-oriented style, let the kids dance and party on the field. And do things that were fun for them. I just get my ideas from what the kids are listening to.”

For many students, being part of BMB is the highlight of their college experience.

UWEC senior Tyler Warwick-Mick explains, “It’s really an amazing experience. And yet we still form this amazing community, within the marching band so I know everyone in my section. I know other people in other sections. I just feel that I’ve found a real good friend group, a really good family here and I truly believe that BMB is the reason I transitioned so well to college.”

Fellow senior Davis Bitterman agrees, “It’s so rewarding, first, it’s cool as a freshman I remember coming in and before school even started I had like a 100 friends, at least friends I could talk to or people I would recognize crossing the bridge going to my classes.”

“We come to practice early so we can throw a frisbee or football. We stay late to do the same thing. It’s just fantastic to see everybody have a group that they can feel safe in and be a part of,” says UWEC senior Chad Myhre.

BMB’s passion and love for music earning rave reviews from their UWEC classmates and friends.

“The band is just amazing.”

“I think it just fills up the atmosphere.”

“I thought it was great. They definitely brought the energy up. Not just for the students but brought up the energy for everybody else, the guest in the crowd.”

“Very electric. When the band gets ready to come out... it gives you goosebumps.”

If you want to see the Blugold Marching Band in action, they have two upcoming performances.

Thursday, November 4th, BMB will hold an indoor concert at Pablo Center from 7-8 pm.

And on Saturday, November 6th, the Blugold Marching Band will perform at UW-Eau Claire’s final home football game of the year against Platteville. Kick-off for that game is 1 pm.

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