“SSSSSS…BOOM…AHHHH…WHISTLE!” The band has your attention. Are they greeting someone, announcing a song or a cheer, or are they about to tell a joke? It could be any of these, but you know the band has something to say, and they’re using a skyrocket to do so.

The skyrocket tradition has not always been exclusive to the band, but Badger Band members keep the tradition alive today. As a student custom, the skyrocket dates back to the beginning of the University of Wisconsin when it was originally used to greet a favorite professor at the beginning of a lecture. At some point in history, skyrockets were discontinued by the student body. The signal starts with a long, low hiss, “SSSSS”, followed by a short, loud “BOOM,” then a sigh, “AAHHH,” and finally a whistle. Band members now use it as a means of extending a greeting, an honor, or to announce a cheer or song.