UW’s iconic band leader recovers from double bypass

UW’s iconic band leader recovers from double bypass

The iconic leader of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, Mike Leckrone, has been missing from sporting events as he recovers from double-bypass surgery.

Leckrone underwent surgery Jan. 24, and returned to the UW School of Music on March 15, according to a release from University of Wisconsin Bands.

Leckrone returned to rehearse with his 300-member Varsity Band for two hours before spring break after getting permission from his doctor only that morning, according to the release.

“I’m anxious to get back, of course,” Leckrone said. “Besides tournaments, we’ve got the big concert coming up.”

According to the release, Leckrone’s traditional mid-air flying somersaults during the spring Varsity Band Concert have been firmly ruled out, but he is looking for other aerial activities.

“The honest truth is that I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be able to do,” Leckrone said. “We’re kind of planning contingencies, with a plan A, plan B and plan C.”

During Leckrone’s absence, band staff explained only that it was gone due to a “procedure,” according to the release.

“I’m certainly not the first person who’s been fortunate enough to have this kind of surgery,” he said in the release. “I had full confidence in my team at UW Hospital, and I’m even more impressed with them now that I know them better. They are all amazing people, real heroes. But at the time, I didn’t want anyone to worry about me.”

Before Leckrone went into surgery, the concert’s theme, “Nobody Does It Better,” was chosen. But since Leckrone’s return, some band members have informally renamed the concert to “This One’s for Mike.”

Professor Scott Teeple, assistant director of bands Dr. Darin Olson and Varsity Band Concert production manager Sarah Marty covered the program in Leckrone’s absence.

The 2017 Varsity Band Concert will be held at 7 p.m. April 20 through 22 at the Kohl Center.