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WIU a finalist in Metallica Marching Band Competition

 The Marching Leathernecks during their performance of Metallica's music.
Western Illinois University
courtesy image
The Marching Leathernecks during their performance of Metallica's music.

Metallica is a hugely successful heavy metal band. But a new contest requires bands to interpret their music in a much different style.

The inaugural Metallica Marching Band Competition: For Whom the Band Tolls! is in its final stages, and the Western Illinois University Marching Leathernecks are among the bands still alive.

WIU Associate Director of Bands Matt Thomas said he respects Metallica’s music, and believes it transcribes well for marching band.

“Sometimes when certain pop music is too repetitive, it doesn’t translate well without lyrics,” he said.

“But Metallica … their music has such a breadth of diversity and approaches and that sort of thing that it actually lended pretty well to marching band.”

The video Western entered features the marching band during a halftime show performing four Metallica songs: Master of Puppets, Enter Sandman, One, and Lux Aeterna. You can watch the video here.

“I really love and am proud of our students. They put a lot of energy and effort and time into this performance this year. They do a great job and we have a lot of fun,” Thomas said.

He said there are two ways the Marching Leathernecks can earn a prize of new musical equipment.

One is by winning over a professional adjudication panel that includes marching band directors and the members of Metallica. Western is one of five finalists in the small and mid-sized universities category.

The other category is fan favorite. The prize will go to whatever college band gets the most votes online.

You can vote by texting #UWILLINOIS to (833) 609-0330 or by visiting metallicamarchingband.com

The voting continues until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31.

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Copyright 2023 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”