Since 1976, the Wisconsin Band has concluded their final home halftime show of the season in the same manner: with the “On, Wisconsin!” Finale. The music and the movements for this tradition stem from the finale of a production presented on November 17, 1973, entitled “The Band Goes Abroad.” Since then the band has used the arrangement as a musical signature. This selection is performed not only for the final home game, but also for a number of annual events including the Varsity Band Spring Concert.
The routine remains basically unchanged. While playing a Maestoso version of “On, Wisconsin!” the band moves into a series of vertical lines. On cue, the lines flow rapidly into the letters “ON WIS.” As the arrangement nears its conclusion, the musicians high-step toward the audience. There is a long drum roll and a knee bow as the public address announcer assures, “We never say goodbye, simply we’ll see you next year, and ON, WISCONSIN!” The finale never fails to elicit a standing ovation from the Badger crowd and a very emotional reaction from the graduating seniors.