Wheel of FortuneApril 21, 2008 — EVANSTON, ILL. — The Chicago audience cheered as the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band debuted on the long-running and popular game show, Wheel of Fortune.  The programs featuring the Wildcat Band will appear on network stations throughout the country and around the globe next week, from Monday, Apr. 28 to Friday, May 2.

Last month, band members dusted off their instruments and were re-issued their uniforms in preparation for the tapings, which occurred in a marathon Saturday session in television studios in Chicago.

NUMB on the set of Wheel of FortuneThe band participated in all five of the shows recorded that day, showing off their Northwestern spirit and colors throughout the program and ensuring the studio audience and contestants were energized.  "We were very excited and you'll be able to hear us perform before and after commercial breaks," said NUMB trumpeter Jesse Anderson-Lehman '11.

One highlight of the day was that two Wildcat Band members were selected for each show to introduce hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White at the top of the program.  "It was unique, though they really made them ham it up," said Anderson-Lehman, a Texan who is studying integrated science and film and media studies at Northwestern.

Sajak and White took time to say hello to the audience during breaks.  (White, by the way, is recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as "Television's Most Frequent Clapper," putting her hands together more than 28,000 times per season!) In between tapings, the band members also joked around with Charlie O'Donnell, the Wheel of Fortune announcer whose voice almost anyone would recognize.

Jessie Anderson-Lehman '11 The programs are part of Wheel of Fortune's College Week series, which features university students as contestants, including a few contestants who are current undergraduates at Northwestern.  This is the show's twenty-fifth anniversary season.

Anderson-Lehman, who is in his first season with the Wildcat Band, said afterwards, "It was really great to get to show off what we do to the world, and to be able to do it from our own home town in Chicago.  I hope that we can do more of these sorts of events in the future."

For show times in your area, check the Wheel of Fortune web site.

—Daniel M. Reck (GSESP08)

Band photo by Sony Pictures.  Personnel photo by Rachel Gribben '10. Wheel of Fortune logo is the property of the Sony Pictures.

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