Michael Leckrone retiring after 50 years as UW band director

NOW: Michael Leckrone retiring after 50 years as UW band director

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Saturday will mark the end of a career that spans five decades in Wisconsin. CBS 58's Victor Jacobo sat down with the legend himself, UW Band Director Michael Leckrone. 

Last August, the 82-year-old announced the 2018-19 school year would be his last, marking 50 years since he started back in 1969. 

Over the course of his five decades, Leckrone has conducted hundreds of performances, earned numerous awards, played at multiple Rose Bowls, and has raised the University's profile as the home of one of the country's premier marching bands. 

"I'll miss the day to day interactions with the students," Leckrone said. "To watch them grow, to watch these people grow in personality and grow in abilities and to grow in leadership characteristics, that's been really fun for me to observe.

Leckrone's final performance is the Spring Concert, a spectacle of great music, lots of Badger red, and a high-flying conductor. 

Leckrone has been a staple for multiple generations at UW, but he has some simple advice for his successor. 

"Be your own person. I think there are a lot of traditions with this band, a lot of traditions that I hope will be maintained, but there are also lots of things that can be altered and changed. Don't let the traditions govern you."

In the end, Leckrone says he wants to be most remembered for his passion and love of music. 

"Somebody who enjoyed what they did and did it the best possible way they could do it. And enjoyed music. I really enjoy the making of music. I think it's one of the most wonderful things anybody can get involved with."

Leckrone says he doesn't have any longterm plans just yet, but first on his list is to clear out his office, which he admits will take a while. 

The search for the next UW band director is ongoing, but Leckrone says to expect an announcement soon.

Share this article: