Marquette Wire

Live concert series boosts MUBB pregame excitement

Local musicians play before Saturday BIG EAST games

Classic+rock+band+Vinyl+Groove+played+hits+from+The+Beatles+before+the+Jan.+16+game+against+Xavier.
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Live concert series boosts MUBB pregame excitement

Classic rock band Vinyl Groove played hits from The Beatles before the Jan. 16 game against Xavier.

Classic rock band Vinyl Groove played hits from The Beatles before the Jan. 16 game against Xavier.

Classic rock band Vinyl Groove played hits from The Beatles before the Jan. 16 game against Xavier.

Classic rock band Vinyl Groove played hits from The Beatles before the Jan. 16 game against Xavier.

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Marquette Men’s Basketball recently added a new opportunity for fun and musical enjoyment at the games this season. The entertainment of local bands and artists through pregame concerts have come to the BMO Bradley Harris Center. Performed in the east atrium, the concerts begin when doors open for Saturday BIG EAST basketball games.

Brian Morgan, assistant athletics director for ticket sales and strategy, said the team and the fan experience group were looking for different ways to engage fans. They considered what the Milwaukee Bucks and the Milwaukee Admirals do for their pregames, and wanted some ambiance when fans came into the atrium.

“I think (pregame concerts add) a little bit extra oomph for folks as they get ready for Marquette Basketball games,” Morgan said. “It definitely adds to the excitement leading up to the game.”

The bands and artists are selected by K Nation Entertainment, a group that has worked with the Bucks. All musicians are local. Morgan said that the concerts expose fans to musical talent coming from areas close to home and also satisfies a diverse group of fans with different musical tastes. There are going to be different genres of music performed at each of the five BIG EAST games.

Marquette University Basketball added the new concerts to try something new and see how fans respond. Morgan said the last pregame concerts on Jan. 9 and 16 were a success. Hannah Mrozak, a former “American Idol” contestant performed Jan. 9 and covered music from the 60s and after. Her repertoire included songs by Alicia Keyes and some country. Vinyl Groove, a rock band that performed Jan. 16, covered hits from the ’60s to the ’80s. Its repertoire included songs by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

Morgan said that people have enjoyed the concerts because they are no longer walking into a silent atrium before games. The concerts are not about increasing ticket sales, but more about the excitement and energy of the audience.

“Basketball is obviously the number one passion, but it’s all for entertainment,” Morgan said. “Any time we can help (fans) have the best experience, from the time they park their car until they come to the game, that’s ultimately what we’re striving for.”

Bob Mittnacht, member of  Vinyl Groove, said that the band has gained a lot of experience performing around the Milwaukee area during the five years the band has been together. The members have played their instruments since high school, but Vinyl Groove was formed through an invitation to perform at a friend’s party. The performance ended up being a success and the members decided they wanted to continue performing.

Mittnacht said that the band really enjoyed performing for Marquette Basketball last Saturday.

“The crowd, as (it) came in, (was) extremely enthusiastic,” Mittnacht said. “People were dancing and enjoying the music.”

Fans of a variety of ages came up to Vinyl Groove during and after the performance and shared how much they enjoyed the music and how much fun they had.

The band would perform again for Marquette University Basketball if given the opportunity. Vinyl Groove’s next show will be in Port Washington, Wisconsin at the Patio Bar and Grill in March.

“I think it definitely added to the spirit of the game,” Mittnacht said.

The next pre-game concert will be Jan. 30 when the Golden Eagles take on Butler University.

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