CONTINUING COVERAGE: Fans react to silenced UW band - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Fans react to silenced UW band


Band director Mike Lekrone suspended all UW band members yesterday after serious hazing allegations.

It's the first time in 40 years the UW band won't be leading the crowd from the stands of Camp Randall.

Fans say it's a dispiriting moment in Badger history.

"I believe it's going to change the game dramatically. The music is really amazing and just the spirit of it all," said Elizabeth Van Alstine.

"I'm shocked," said Gary Van Alstine. "I had no idea they weren't going to be here. It's just part of the Wisconsin tradition."

For this Badger football game, tradition got trumped, along with the tubas, trumpets, trombones and triangles. For longtime fans, feeling disappointed is an understatement.

"It really upset me," said UW alumna Pat Braun, class of 1955. "How are we going to have a 5th quarter without the band?"

Also disappointed, the Subway guy, who was supposed to be an honorary band member at the game.

"Even though I don't play an instrument they were going to let me sort of pretend like I was, actually let me wear a band uniform, and everything for it," said Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle.

Even visiting team fans say there's something sacred about the music.

Buckeye Man Larry Lokai said, "You still want to see some of the legend, some of the things that really make college football special, whether it's the visiting band or your home band."

Fans say not having the bands cues, puts a greater responsibility on the crowd.

"We defiantly count on the band to help us get rowdy," said Tiffany Raymond.

Steve Braun said, "It's a big game. It's Ohio State. Shouldn't be too hard for the fans to make some noise."

Some fans were able find music at the Union South, listening to the sounds of The Madpolecats, sitting in where the UW band normally does a pre-game concert.

Madpolecats member Paul Sukowski said, "I'm a third generation musician in my family. And there's no feeling like playing live in front of people."

As for the UW band, the Offices of the Dean of Students is investigating allegations against band members, which include inappropriate alcohol use, hazing, and sexual behavior.

In 2006, the band was put on probation after similar conduct. The UW has not said when how long the suspension will last. The band has about 300 members.

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