Marching back into the Kohl Center


The UW Varsity Band performed in the Kohl Center and captivated another audience of fans April 21-22. (Kelly Feng / Clarion)

Kelly Feng, Managing Editor

There’s nothing quite like the UW Marching Band, and its annual spring show gives it a well-earned spotlight.
Under the signature red concert lights and pyrotechnics, the April 2023 UW Varsity Band marched into the Kohl Center and captivated another audience of Badger Band fans the weekend of April 21-22.
The show performed its usual trademark tunes, keeping with the familiar Badger Band traditions like the well-known Fifth Quarter and “On Wisconsin,” but also featured a new playlist from the fall 2022 season, impressing an audience of different generations.
Director Corey Pompey led the band through a mix of new material and familiar favorites. Highlights for this year’s show included “Back to the Eighties,” “The Music of Bruno Mars” and longtime favorites like “Space Badgers,” “If You Want to Be a Badger” and the Badger Band Finale.
“The Back to the 80s” medley covered “We Built This City” by Jefferson Starship, “Sweet Dreams” by Annie Lennox and “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News.
With a nod to one of the best-animated films in recent times, the band performed to an “Encanto” medley, including “The Family Madrigal,” “Surface Pressure” and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”
After surveying band members and requesting ideas for future music, the concert showcased “The Winner Takes It All: The Music of ABBA.” The band entertained the audience with several songs from the famous Swedish group from the 1970s, including “Waterloo,” The Winner Takes It All,” and “Dancing Queen.”
COVID 19 canceled the 2020 and 2021 concerts, so Pompey’s first Varsity Band Spring Concert was just last year, introducing a new era with plenty of pep, percussion, tubas and trombones. Gone were the Liberace suits and airborne approach of the legendary Mike Leckrone.
There were no guest appearances during this year’s show, with all the entertainment coming from band members. Teachers and students worked together, creating special music and high energy. Pompey brings a cohesive, team-based approach to the concert and nods to tradition.
Despite it being Pompey’s second time at the Kohl Center, his confidence and unassuming manner produced another top performance and made the varsity band shine.
From the looks and sound of it, the future UW Varsity Band concerts are in good hands.