Monday, August 03, 2009

More On the Packer Lumberjack Band

The Lumberjack Band was a marching band who played at Green Bay Packers games. They originally wore plaid flannel jackets, hence the name. The band was formed in 1921, originally made up of a group of volunteers. Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Lumberjack Band accompanied groups of fans to road games, most notably to games with the Chicago Bears.

“Right from the start, Packers fans got caught up in the spirit of the competition. More than 300 fans, including 22 members of the Lumberjack Band, took a midnight train from Green Bay to Chicago for the first game, played on November 27, 1921. Dressed in corduroy pants, lumberjack shirts, mackinaws, hunting caps, and high boots, the fans marched through The Loop upon their arrival in Chicago early Sunday morning. The band accompanied them, playing “On Wisconsin” and “How Dry I Am,” as they paraded through several downtown hotels before heading to Cubs Park, now Wrigley Field.”

— from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In 1931, they first played “Go! You Packers! Go!,” the official fight song of the Green Bay Packers. The Lumberjack Band was a fixture at Packer games, and an integral part of the City Stadium experience. Curly Lambeau was convinced that the band played in a part in many Packer victories. A bandstand was built for the Lumberjack Band at one corner of the field, and early designs for New City Stadium, later renamed Lambeau Field, showed separate stands with a bandstand in one corner, before the decision was made to have a bowl-shaped stadium.

When Vince Lombardi became head coach and general manager, he upgraded the band’s look, saying the traditional flannels did not fit with the team’s new stadium. The band was renamed simply “The Green Bay Packer Band” and was set up in the southwest corner of the field, occasionally seeing “guest appearances” by players running out of bounds. The uniforms changed to green military-style outfits. Wilner Burke directed the band during this period, giving way to Lovell Ives in the late 1970s.

But in the 1990s, the use of recorded music and the airing of advertisements on video screens led to the band’s playing time being cut back. By 1997, the band was disbanded and re-formed as three six-piece bands called the “Green Bay Packers Tailgaters,” which roam the Lambeau Field parking lot before games, playing songs by request for tailgating fans.

1 comment:

Todd said...

Great to have you back, love the site! Where do you find all of those classic pics?