GREEN BAY, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawk Marching Band returned to Lambeau Field Sunday after a six-year absence.

The leader of Whitewater’s 162-member band said a performance in front of a crowd of 80,000 comes with challenges.

What You Need To Know

  • UW Whitewater's 162-member band was invited to perform at Packers halftime and post-game

  • Band performance titled, “Alive,”  included musical hits “Come Alive” from “The Greatest Showman” and “The Club” from “In the Heights”

  • Glenn Hayes has been director of bands at UW-Whitewater for 37 years

  • Band last performed at Lambeau on Sept. 10, 2017, for the Packers season opener versus the Seattle Seahawks

Director of Bands Glenn Hayes said they’ve been waiting to bring their melodies back to Lambeau since 2017.

“It feels great to be back. It’s a little cooler than it was in 2017, but again, another beautiful day, it’s the best weather we can hope for,” Hayes said.

Hayes has led the UW-Whitewater band for 37 years. Their biggest crowd at Perkins Stadium has been 20,000.

So Hayes said playing for Lambeau’s mass of 80,000 is a sweet symphony.

“It’s incredible. It’s really, you can’t describe it, because you can talk about it, but it’s like music itself,” Hayes said.

He said his biggest challenge playing at Lambeau is the field. 

Professional and collegiate field marks are very different, so when the band performed at halftime, Hayes said it was pure instinct.

“All of our guide points are not there. So, fortunately, we’re at the end of our season now. So we know the show really, really, really well. I’m not too concerned about that. But that’s the biggest thing and the fact that we don’t get to practice on that field. When we go out, boom, that’s it,” Hayes said.

It was Brooke Conner’s first time playing at Lambeau. It’s her second year playing the clarinet with the UW-Whitewater band. 

Conner said she was nervous about the field markings, too.

“At rehearsal, we’ve been practicing a lot of different count-offs, different ways to count our steps. The professional hash marks, yeah, is definitely a big challenge,” Conner said.

Hayes said it was his 14th visit to Lambeau, so he has a special connection with the Green Bay Packers — especially one player.

“We’re hoping that AJ Dillon will come out and guest conduct. I sent him that baton last January,” Hayes said.

Hayes said although it’s exciting returning to Lambeau, he’s reminded of his biggest reward: teaching future musicians.

“It’s about giving all of our students whatever they’re doing the best possible experience to help them in their career,” Hayes said.

The band has its work cut out for them. The UW-Whitewater Warhawk Football team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division Three Playoffs with a 42-14 win over Bethel University at home in Perkins Stadium Saturday.