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A photo of the U of M marching band on a football field performing.

Since their inception, the indoor concerts by the Minnesota Marching Band have grown in complexity. Today, the band incorporates big-screen video projection, computerized lighting, and other theatrical effects.

Marching band: from gridiron to stage

From eNews, November 13, 2003

The lights dim. You hear the thundering sound of drums. And before you can say, "Let's go, Gophers!" 300 maroon-and-gold-clad musicians explode through the doors and storm down the aisles of Northrop Memorial Auditorium. The Minnesota Marching Band's 42nd annual indoor concerts fall on Saturday, Nov. 22, and Sunday, Nov. 23. Since their inception, the indoor concerts by the Minnesota Marching Band have grown in complexity. Today, the band incorporates big-screen video projection, computerized lighting, and other theatrical effects. "It's an incredible experience," says band director Jerry Luckhardt. "Witnessing a Big Ten marching band up close connects you to the University in a very powerful and emotional way." The concerts, which will feature selections from the band's 2003 halftime performances and traditional University school songs, will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. The idea of bringing an entire marching band indoors was conceived in 1961 by former band director Frank Bencriscutto. Many other colleges in the United States have since adopted the idea. Even the Tony Award-winning musical "Blast!," which features a cast of performers executing intricate drill movements while playing on brass and percussion instruments, can be traced to the creativity of the late Bencriscutto. According to Luckhardt, these concerts are now a combination of high-tech and high-tradition. "There's really something for everyone, especially families, and it's also a great way to encourage interest in the arts and in music," he says. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for children (12 and under). Concertgoers will receive a $5 coupon toward the soon-to-be-released Marching Band Goldy Bobblehead. Proceeds from sales will support the marching band program. For tickets or group discounts, call 612-624-2345 or see http://www.northrop.umn.edu. To learn more about the Minnesota Marching Band, see http://www.music.umn.edu/marchingband.

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