MADISON, Wis. – For the first time since taking over as band director at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. Corey Pompey talked about his vision and goals for the legendary marching band.
“For our first show, you can expect a little bit of Beyonce, The Killers, Jonas Brothers and Adele,” Pompey said. “All four of those tunes will be done in three and a half minutes, but we will touch each one of those things. The second show, we are planning to do a funk show.”
Pompey has an extensive background working with marching bands around the country. He said he first heard of UW Madison’s marching band several years ago when he was in Dallas. It was then he learned of Mike Leckrone, as well.
Pompey has been asked a number of times what it’s been like to step in for Mike Leckrone, to which Pompey responded: “There is only one Mike Leckrone. I would be doing the band a disservice and myself a disservice if I tried to emulate him. The best thing I can do is be myself.”
Pompey said he plans to keep many of the traditions Leckrone has instilled, including the “stop at the top” move and the fifth quarter. However, Pompey said, as the years go on, he hopes to add some new elements to the fifth quarter to keep things new and fresh.
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Pompey has worked with the band for the past several weeks and said one standout thing he has noticed about the hundreds of band members is that, “They are very hardworking. I wish at some point, everyone could come see the band rehearse during the summer. The football team has two a days, the band has two a days, and sometimes three a days. And we are up and down the field. ‘On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin’ probably hundreds of times.”
Drum major and senior Justine Spore said she and many other band members are excited to be working with Pompey. Spore said she worked with Leckrone for the past three years as a trumpet player and having a new leader in charge is different but welcomed with open arms.
“The biggest part of band for me is that every day I get to go to the field and play really great music with 300 of my best friends and that hasn’t changed,” Spore said. “If anything, it’s just been amplified by having Dr. Pompey here with us.”
Pompey said although he is not looking forward to the cold Wisconsin winters, he will be out with the band working hard every day to put out the best entertainment possible for crowds, and make the band experience fun for all band members.
Pompey said in five years, he hopes to be “doing my job here and doing it well.”
Pompey said he and Leckrone meet regularly to answer any questions Pompey may have as he transitions into the new leadership role. Pompey said the only general piece of advice Leckrone has given him is to “do what you know how to do.”
Pompey said he is still working on getting organized and learning the fundamentals of the marching band, but ultimately wants to “create a sense of community, a sense of family.”