Holly Neumann Photo
A crowd filled the gym at Iola-Scandinavia High School to hear the UW Varsity Band perform Monday night.
“This was a great show,” said Sherri Volner. “I have never seen them perform before. I definitely got my money’s worth.”
Among the performers were Iola-Scandinavia graduates Powers Spees and John Faldet.
“Last time the Badger Band played in Iola, I was still in high school,” said Spees. “It is amazing being a part of it now.”
Spees, a film and production major, feels connected to the members of the band.
“We are a family,” he said. “It’s nice having a family away from home.”
For Faldet being in the band is a way to stay involved with music.
“It’s a great way to get out and get involved,” he said. “And you definitely get your exercise.”
Joining Faldet and Spees, is Amherst graduate Zach Shulfer.
“The band is a lot of fun,” said Shulfer. “There is always a lot of excitement. The crowd’s reaction to is nice to see. Everyone always seems to be having a good time.”
All three agree it is nice to be playing in front of family and friends.
The Wisconsin Varsity Band had been under the direction of Michael Leckrone for the past 47 years.
“I think I have as much fun as the kids do,” he said. “They keep me on top of things and keep me young.”
According to Leckrone, the band does about 12 shows a year.
“For a lot of people they have only seen the band on TV. This gives them an opportunity to see them up close,” he said. “The communities are always so welcoming, and the food is great.”
Leckrone offers this advice to young musicians.
“There are no short cuts. Takes a lot of preparation and practice,” he said. “There is no substitute for hard work.”
Proceeds from the performance will directly benefit the music department at Iola-Scandinavia Schools.