Blugold Marching Band and Blugold football strike the right chord

Marching band members and football players discuss the symbiotic relationship that has developed between the two programs


Photo by Kelsey Smith

The Blugold Marching Band helps motivate the football team and excite the fans.

Ever since their founding team took the field in 1917, the UW-Eau Claire football team has been a staple of the athletic department and the university. Saturday afternoon football games every fall since then have been filled with fans of Eau Claire football, but now they are also filled with the enthusiastic members of an organization on the rise: the Blugold Marching Band.

During his 17 years at Eau Claire, the conductor of the Blugold Marching Band (BMB) Randy Dickerson, has kept two goals in mind: support the Blugold football team and inspire their fans.

“We are there to support our team,” Dickerson said. “We need to understand what’s going on and be able to channel our energies to help the football team as much as we can.”

Dickerson said that in order for the BMB to become an intrinsic component in the football games, the band members are trained in the basics of the sport. For example, when Blugolds are on offense, the BMB will remain quiet (to allow the offense to communicate without interference) unless the team gets a first down or scores a touchdown. Similarly, when on defense, the BMB’s main goal is to disrupt the opposing team by making as much noise as possible.

In addition to motivating the football team, Dickerson said the BMB also aims to motivate Blugold football fans and change the game’s atmosphere by keeping them in the stands.

Getting fans to stand up is another part of the process, Dickerson said. When the Blugolds succeed by scoring a touchdown, for example the fans typically clap politely rather than getting up and cheering. By getting their fans to stand up, Dickerson hopes it will add to the community created by the fans, the team and the BMB.

Although these goals are a work in progress, Dickerson said the BMB’s relationship with the football team is a supportive and positive one.

In the past, he has received emails from the team captains, asking the band to play certain songs or allow certain band members to run the flags through the team tunnel, demonstrating that the football team is involved with the BMB as well.

Senior Devon Lawrence, who has been part of the BMB for the past four years and served as drum major for the past two years, agreed with Dickerson. He said their role is to be there for the team, win or lose.

“The BMB has an energy that propels them through the game, regardless of the outcome,” said Lawrence.

Although the football team cannot acknowledge the BMB during the game, people can witness their mutual respect and comradery at the end of the game.

Senior Bo Casper, cornerback on the Eau Claire football team, said the team will go to the stands following the game. Then the band and the football team sing the Alma Mater together and they applaud each other.

Casper said the BMB brings great energy to their games, and although tradition of singing the alma mater together started only last year, it’s important to acknowledge their efforts and hard work.

“I think it’s a great thing to start doing,” Casper said. “It kind of gets us to interact with the band a little bit, to show our appreciation for them.”

Without the football team, the Blugold Marching Band wouldn’t have a team to support or a place to perform. Without the Blugold Marching Band, the football team wouldn’t have an energetic halftime show or nearly as much energy at their home games.

Carson Park on Saturdays has evolved from a place of only athletic competition, into a place of mutual respect between two pillars of Eau Claire.