‘He wants to sparkle in some way': UW marching band seamstress designs final costume for Leckrone

Credit: WISC
Published on April 1, 2019 -

‘He wants to sparkle in some way': UW marching band seamstress designs final costume for Leckrone

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Marching Band Director Mike Leckrone’s illustrious 50-year career is coming to an end, culminating with his final spring concert series in April.

‘He wants to sparkle in some way': UW marching band seamstress designs final costume for Leckrone

University of wisconsin madison marching band director mike leckrone's illustrious 50- year career is coming to an end ... and will culminate with his final spring concert series in two weeks.

Each year during those concerts ... you can count on him to deliver -- both when it comes to music, and his carefully crafted outfits.

Our madalyn o'neill has the story behind the jacket.

Wrap in: "it's no camp randall or concert hall, but this unsuspecting house in beaver dam is where the magic starts."

Nat sewing lois levenhagen costume maker, uw marching band and mike leckrone 31:22 "yes, this is the room.

Yep, this is it, this is where i live."

Humble beginnings ..

Lois 7:10ish "i learned to sew myself, i have fun with it."


Can bring about creations you never imagined.

Lois 57:33 "i was just somebody in the background that did this."

From lois levenhagen's first stitch as the uw- madison marching band's seamstress in the early nineties, hemming uniforms for daughter and other players ... lois 59:03 "they even called me mom" ... she couldn't have known her work would build up to this.

Lois 17:49 "no.

Laughs" lois is the mastermind behind band director mike lecrkone's flashy jackets.

Lois 13:26 "definitely glitter.

He wants to sparkle in some way."

She's worked with leckrone to craft one specialty jacket a year, for 27 years ... here in her basement workshop.

Leah8843 "see, i get sequins all over the floor.

Laughs you can tell from looking around ..

She's has always been a badger fan.

Lois 32:08 "being from wisconsin, you're going to be."

But never a musician.

Lois 32:34 "you don't want to ask me to sing."

Nat lois 32:43 "these are my instruments, my sewing machines, yeah."

Her songs, are her costumes, equally noteworthy -- for leckrone at the annual spring concert.

Lois 15:38 "he likes to be dramatic, have fun with it..... it's trying to out beat himself, and myself too, trying to come up with the costumes."

Together, they weave ideas.

Lois 4:55 "we both watch skating programs on tv, check into elvis presley's costumes, watch old westerns.

They all give us ideas what to put together."

But it's down to lois ..

To put in the up to 125 hours it takes to make the final product.

Lois 6:09 "then it's hours and hours of sewing."

She says beyond the glitz and glam ... lois 20:49 "i'm the sequin master, yep."

... is plenty of substance.

Lois 12:42 "he was great with the kids.

He could horse around, have fun, but he snapped his fingers and he wanted attention, and he got it out of them."

As leckrone is preparing for his final spring concert ... lois is designing his final jacket.

Lois 19:40 "i'll be very busy."

Her last project with the band.

Lois 17:00 "this is a good time to leave, too."

Like all things magical ... this jacket requires an element of surprise.

Lois 14:36 "it's a big secret, when he walks on stage."

It's no secret it will be an ending to remember.

Lois 16:14 "the first time he puts his coat on.

Sighs there, my work, it's on stage.

It just feels good.

It fills me up, you know."

16:22 in beaver dam ... lois 16:25 "it's gonna be hard, seeing the last one."

... madalyn o'neill, news 3 now.

The spring concert series is on april 11th, 12th and 13th.

All three shows are sold out ... but wisconsin public television is live streaming leckrone's last concert online on saturday, april 13th starting at 7 p.m.

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