Lambeau’s very own tailgating hype band

The Big Game

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – If you’ve ever wondered what you can possibly do with the skills you learn from being a part of the school band, you needn’t look further than the Packers Tailgaters Band.

First off, this is a pretty cool job to begin with, hyping up the fans before a home game at Lambeau Field is not a bad conversation starter at parties. But while this may look like a fun job, make no mistake, this is a group of extremely talented musicians.

When you look past the instruments and high energy fandom, the members have quite interesting lives outside of the band.

You’d be hard pressed to find a cooler band teacher than Mr. Zipperer. He teaches band to 5th and 6th graders at Lineville Intermediate in Howard-Suamico.    

Mr. Zipperer says the tailgaters at Lambeau Field are excited to see them each home game, “They wait for us, they’re excited to see us…they’ll wave and call us out to us.” The band adds an interactive element of the game for not just the band members but for people tailgating.

A career graphic designer, drummer, Joe Maas has been playing since he was 15 years old when his dad needed a drummer for his band and he’s been playing music ever since.

Joe works closely with leader of the band, Kevin Van Ess.

Kevin recently retired as a band director. He taught for 34 years while juggling a schedule with a full time musician. Now he handles all of the scheduling for the tailgaters band and performs in other local bands as well.

Kevin says the beauty of music is its ability to communicate, “It does not discriminate. Regardless of the team we’re playing, it’s just a great way to celebrate and pump up the team.”

Created in 1921, the band was called the Green Bay Packers Lumberjacks.

Courtesy of Neville Public Museum

Now they’re known as the Packers Tailgaters Band and are still going strong. 99 years may separate the original band from the current group but the pride, passion, and dedication that goes into this job has held up and will continue to do so for years to come.

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