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Badger Varsity Band and “Dukes of Hazzard” star celebrate the 1970s

March 22, 2012

The Badger band is preparing to celebrate the 1970s during the annual Varsity Band Concert, April 19-21.

Photo: Band concert

Mike Leckrone leads the band at a previous Varsity Band Concert.

Photo: Jeff Miller

This year, the Varsity Band invited special guest Tom Wopat, star of Broadway and TV’s “Dukes of Hazzard,” to join the celebration.

Wopat was first noticed by the public as the freewheeling Luke Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series in the late 1970s. From there, Wopat went on to perform in the Tony Award-winning “City of Angels” and “Guys and Dolls.” Wopat also received a Tony nomination for creating the role of Frank Butler in the Broadway revival of “Annie Get Your Gun,” opposite Bernadette Peters.

This year, Wopat will star in ABC’s first movie musical “Elixir” alongside Jane Seymour, Chelsea Kane and Sara Paxton.

The concert, coordinated by longtime band leader Mike Leckrone, promises entertainment and fanfare with pyrotechnics, aerial stunts and multi-media displays.

The UW–Madison band garnered attention and national acclaim after marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade and performing at the Rose Bowl earlier this year.

“I love this team spirit,” said Shaun Robinson of Access Hollywood, as she watched the band. “This is so exciting.”

The Los Angeles Times took note, with a story headlined, “Strike up the Badgers band and let’s get this show on the road.” Black Eyed Peas musician told the 75-year-old Leckrone, “I want to be like you when I grow up. You’re the coolest man on the planet.”

Varsity Band Concert highlights for this year will include a salute to The Jersey Boys, selections from “Porgy and Bess” and hand-clapping Badger Ballads.

The 2012 Varsity Band Concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 19-21 at the Kohl Center. Tickets are $22. Only on Thursday, April 19: Parties of eight or more, tickets are discounted to $17 each, and UW–Madison students can purchase tickets at a discounted price of $17 each by calling the ticket office. For tickets or more information visit, or phone 608-265-4120.

The concert is made possible in part by Baird Financial Services,, WISC-TV, the Badger Herald and The University Book Store.

-By Kylie Peterson