Unfortunately, the band hit tough times during the 1990's. A lack of interest and lack of adequate funding caused the numbers to decline. When the quality of the program no longer reflected the ideals of the Music Department the participation requirement for music majors was reduced, causing the numbers to further decline. When the band hit its lowest point in the late 1990s a proposal to eliminate the marching band almost succeeded. By 2000 the size of the marching band had fallen to 60 members, 59 of whom were music education majors, fulfilling their remaining degree requirement.
The University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire has fielded a marching band for more than 50 years. It was organized and first directed by Robert Gantner, the man for whom Gantner Concert Hall is named. In the beginning the "College Band" served as a marching band in the fall and converted to a concert band in the winter. In 1968 the institution began granting music degrees and all instrumental music majors were required to participate in the "College Band." In the early 1970's the marching band, under the direction of Donald George grew to approximately 120 members.
Over the past decade the Blugold Marching Band has become one of the most active bands in the upper Midwest. The annual season includes Blugold home football games, contest exhibitions, and other selected performances. Recent performances include NFL and Blugold away games, festivals, stage shows and international peformance tours. In 2003 The Blugold Marching Band went through an image transformation. A new, more energetic style of marching was introduced. The unique marching style of the BMB combines the precision and artistry of drum and bugle corps with the high energy level of some of the great show bands of the south. The result is powerful and exciting and is sure to enliven any crowd.
Since that time the BMB has experienced a rebirth that has brought its size and quality to a new high level. The rebirth which began slowly in 2000, turned into a revolution in 2003, and continues in 2012. In these few years the band has (1) increased in size by 500%, (2) updated its appearance with new uniform accessories, (3) added new on-field components (dancers) and (4) increased its performance schedule to include several exhibitions each year. As the enthusiasm of the group increased, so did the number of non-music majors. From 1 non-music major in 2000 to more than 200 non-music majors in 2012, non-majors now outnumber majors. The current enrollment is 300 members. The BMB's energetic style is popular with audiences so the BMB travels and performs often.
History of Directors
Randal C. Dickerson, 2000 - present
Robert Bayless, 1999
Todd Fiegel, 1994 - 1998
Donald S. George, 1968 - 1993
Joseph Casey, 1964 - 1967
Dean Kool, 1963
Leo Christy, - 1962
Robert Gantner, founder
Lambeau Field, October 2004
HHH Metrodome, October 2008
History of the BMB
Mediterranean Cruise and Tour (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel) 2012
Venice, Paris, and London Tour 2010
Italy and Greece Tour 2008
Minnesota Vikings Halftime 2010
Green Bay Packers Halftime 2008, 2004
Youth in Music (Minneapolis Metrodome) 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006