And we danced

March Madness is as much about the run leading up to the games as the games themselves. Even though NCAA action for both the Green Bay men’s and women’s basketball teams ended last Friday, campus personnel enjoyed the run and the pure joy that comes with being a part of a university community that gets to go along for the ride. Thank you coaches, student athletes, cheer squad, pep band and Phoenix fans who caught the Phever! Your support was felt all the way to Temple and Oklahoma City. Here’s a recap of a job well done by both teams last week.

Men’s basketball recap

Women’s basketball recap

Campus, community invited for UW-Green Bay Day at Lambeau Field

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay invites campus and community members to attend UW-Green Bay Day at Lambeau Field Saturday, Nov. 15.

This something-for-everyone event takes place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Lambeau Field Atrium, and is free and open to the public. UW-Green Bay is a Higher Education Partner of the Green Bay Packers.

Activities and attractions for the day include inflatables, face painting, balloon animals and many other offerings for children. Attendees can learn more about UW-Green Bay academics, Division I athletics, the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts and much more. Members of the public can meet UW-Green Bay’s men’s basketball coach Brian Wardle, have some fun (and friendly competition) with many of the UW-Green Bay athletes, and have their photos taken with UW-Green Bay mascot Phlash.

“UW-Green Bay Day offers another tremendous opportunity for campus and community to come together, celebrate the long-standing relationship between the greater Green Bay community and its University, learn more about what UW-Green Bay has to offer, and think of ways that the University can serve the community even better,” said Steve VandenAvond, UW-Green Bay Associate Provost for Outreach and Adult Access. “We are so pleased to work as a higher education partner of the Green Bay Packers and collaborate with them on this community event, and we couldn’t ask for a better venue than Lambeau Field, home of the most storied franchise in professional sports.”

Other events for the day include a photo and autograph session with Green Bay Packers great Bill Schroeder, as well as live music with local band Sideways Gravity and the UW-Green Bay pep band. Attendees can take advantage of special bargain pricing for Lambeau concessions and stick around to win Phoenix and Packers prizes that include signed footballs, Packers mini-helmets, UW-Green Bay and Packers game tickets and much more. UW-Green Bay day attendees are encouraged to bring a toy, game or book to donate to the Green Bay area Toys for Tots program. Donations will be accepted at the Outreach and Adult Access table in the Atrium.

At 2:30 p.m., UW-Green Bay Day participants can join Phoenix basketball fans, cheerleaders and the UW-Green Bay dance team on a spirit walk from the Lambeau Field Atrium to the Resch Center to see the unveiling of the Horizon League Championship banner and watch the Phoenix men’s basketball team take on the University of Illinois-Springfield in its home opener. Attendees will have to buy a ticket to get into the game.

“We have such a strong relationship with the Green Bay Packers, and UW-Green Bay Day at Lambeau Field will be a great day to highlight that relationship,” said Mary Ellen Gillespie, UW-Green Bay’s director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “The opportunity to collaborate in this way with one of the most recognizable brands in the world is a win-win for our University. After celebrating at Lambeau Field, we hope to see all Phoenix and Packers fans at the Resch Center to cheer on our men’s basketball team as it tips off the season.”

UW-Green Bay Day participants can conclude their day back on campus, where popular singer and recording artist Ingrid Michaelson will present a premiere concert as part of her Lights Out Tour. Attendees will have to purchase tickets; information is available at

More information about UW-Green Bay Day and the University’s partnership with the Green Bay Packers is available at Users of social media are encouraged to use the #uwgbday hashtag.


Photographer Becker has sideline view of the storied Green Bay Packers

becker-top-storyMatt Becker has a front row seat for one of the most historic franchises in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers.

The 2008 Communication graduate is a team assistant photographer for the Packers and associate photo editor for digital media at ESPN.

“Sports were a big part of my life when I was growing up, and living in Wisconsin I was a big Packers fan,” Becker said. “So having a front row seat to one of the most historic franchises in the NFL is a dream come true. There is no better feeling than seeing a big play unfold right in front of you and than capturing that moment on the camera.”

Sometimes the moments between plays offer the greatest opportunities, such as Becker’s shot capturing Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers squeezing the bicep of NFL referee, Ed Hochuli, who is famous for his bodybuilding physique (and pride in his pipes).

aaron-rodgers“I was honored when this photo was selected and displayed by the NFL Hall of Fame as an honorable mention Best Feature Shot of 2012.”

Becker tries not to get caught up in the games, he would rather have that big moment captured with his camera so it can be shared. He said his head is always on a swivel when shooting a game because his work is not done after a play is over. He looks to capture the reactions of players and coaches to those moments.

He first developed an interest in photography in high school while working for his hometown newspaper, The Rhinelander Daily News. He attended OrgSmorg, the annual Student Life event, where he met Prof. Victoria Goff, adviser to the school newspaper, The Fourth Estate. He joined the student newspaper that semester as a photographer and sports writer.

He was also a member of the Phoenix Pep Band, which meant hectic game nights. During Phoenix games he would grab his trumpet and play a song with the Pep Band, before running to the sidelines with his camera to get the game winning shot.

Matt Becker
Matt Becker

“My photography wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for UWGB alumnus/photographer Matt Ludtke,” Becker said. Becker first met Ludtke while shooting a Phoenix women’s basketball game. “During one of the timeouts he showed me a couple things on the camera that would make shooting sports easier. I still communicate with him today, whether it’s borrowing camera equipment, photography advice or in passing each other along the sidelines at Lambeau Field.”

One of his favorite memories is photographing the Phoenix women’s basketball team as they took on UConn during the 2007 NCAA Division I tournament in Connecticut. It was double duty again that night… utilizing a press pass to shoot the game while also playing with the pep band.

During college Becker worked internships with both the University’s Office of Marketing and Communication and the Green Bay Packers marketing department. After graduation he worked for InCompetition Sports and served as a free-lance photographer for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and The Business News. He maintained his contacts with the Packers and helped them with some event photography.

While shooting a training camp practice for the Press-Gazette, he was approached about becoming a photographer for the Packers public relations department. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse. He is now an assistant team photographer.

Days of fighting off frostbite at the “frozen tundra,” are worth it, says Becker, who works home games and has also traveled to Minneapolis and Detroit this past season. He continues covering non-game day events, as well, and works during the off-season with the team’s photo archives.

Becker divides time between work with the Packers and sports network, ESPN. He edits photos for the ESPN website and their affiliates, and has created feature photo galleries for the Super Bowl, ESPN New York and NFL websites.

“Growing up, I never would have dreamed I’d have a key to Lambeau Field, let alone be able to photograph the games,” Becker said. “I still find myself smiling when I turn on to Lombardi Avenue knowing I’m going to work at Lambeau Field.”
Story by 2014 UW-Green Bay graduate Cheyenne Makinia

Wanted: Drum-set player for Phoenix Pep Band

Phoenix Pep Band Director Eric Hansen of the UW-Green Bay Music faculty once again is offering an awesome opportunity: the chance to be the band’s drum-set player for the academic year. The gig involves playing at men’s and women’s basketball home and tournament games for 2012-13 (with some leeway for occasional illness, schedule conflicts, etc.). And who knows? With the recent success of our Phoenix women’s hoops team, the band just might be making another trip to the Big Dance. If you know of a student (Music major or not) who might be a candidate, drop Hansen a line ( The deadline for students to contact him is Thursday, Sept. 20. Go Phoenix!

Want a free trip to the NCAA tournament? Can you play the drums?

Phoenix Pep Band Director Eric Hansen of the UW-Green Bay music faculty is advertising a unique opportunity: the chance to be the band’s drum-set player for the spring 2012 semester. The student who successfully auditions will get a paid stipend and the chance to enjoy exciting Phoenix Athletics action. An NCAA trip for the Phoenix women’s basketball team isn’t guaranteed, of course, but it appears increasingly likely. Pep Band drummers have been making regular spring-break trips to the Big Dance for more than a decade. Know of a student (music major or not) who might be a candidate? Contact Prof. Hansen at

Newcomer makes noise with Pep Band debut

Chancellor Harden plays with Pep BandUW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden left his usual seat in the stands for an end zone spot with the Phoenix Pep Band last Saturday (Feb. 5) as the women’s basketball team hosted Youngstown State.

A trumpet player in his youth who has also played percussion, Harden joined Prof. Eric Hansen’s group after a few weeks of spare-time practice to “get his ‘chops’ back.”

No word yet on how the Pep Band’s newest occasional member acquitted himself, musically, but the band and team had an enjoyable afternoon with a one-sided Phoenix win before a large crowd at the Kress Events Center.

(Photo courtesy of Mike Roemer, UW-Green Bay class of 1986.)

Video: Phoenix pep band gets Packers Phever

Members of the Phoenix Pep Band showed their Packers spirit at the Kress Events Center during the women’s basketball game on Feb. 3, days before the Super Bowl. Band members sported jerseys, cheeseheads and led the crowd in Packers-themed cheers, including a rendition of ‘the Raji.’ The  Phoenix cheerleaders and the dance team (which did a halftime Packers tribute of its own) joined in the fun.

UW-Green Bay to present brass and clarinet ensembles

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is hosting a brass and clarinet ensembles concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6. The event will take place in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, 2420 Nicolet Drive, and is free and open to the public.

The Phoenix Brass will begin the concert with “Fanfare” from La Peri by Paul Dukas and Sonata “Sancti Polycarpi” by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber. Also performed will be “Helicon Schottische” by J.H. Woods; “Ancient Hungarian Dances” by Vaclav Nelhybel; and the traditional piece “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” arranged by Ulrich Nehls.

UW-Green Bay Prof. Adam Gaines directs the brass ensemble. In addition to teaching the trumpet studio, Gaines directs the Jazz Ensemble II and the New Music Ensemble, and teaches jazz history and brass techniques. A native of Kentucky, Gaines has performed as a soloist throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and at the Montreux and North Sea jazz festivals in Europe.

The clarinet ensemble will feature Mozart’s “Larghetto and Allegro”; Haydn’s “Allegro”; and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen from A Night at the Opera. The ensemble will also perform an arrangement of “Three Old Dutch Dances” including “May Dance,” “Allemande,” and “Gaillarde.” H. Voxman arranged the piece.

The freshmen clarinetists will perform “Andante and Allegro” from Grand Trio Op. 8 by J. Bouffil. That will be followed by the junior clarinetists performance of “Molly on the Shore” by Percy Grainger.

UW-Green Bay Prof. Eric Hansen directs the clarinet ensemble. Hansen teaches clarinet, music theory, woodwind techniques, woodwind ensemble, and directs the Phoenix Pep Band. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Kentucky and two bachelor’s degrees in music education and music performance from Arizona State University.

This is the thirteenth concert of the 2010-11 season.

Chris Dinse ‘10 snares a cool gig with Packers Tundra Line

By weekday, recent University of Wisconsin-Green Bay graduate Chris Dinse is a music teacher in the Green Bay Area Public School District. By weekend, he’s one of 20-plus percussionists spending their free time performing with the Green Bay Packers drumline — the Tundra Line.

Its popularity boosted by the 2002 movie “Drumline” starring Nick Canon, drumlines are becoming a mainstay at sporting events at every level. In Green Bay, the Ashwaubenon High School drumline gained popularity when it was selected to play a number with country music star Keith Urban at the Resch Center. The Tundra Line, which performs in front of 70,000 fans for every Lambeau Field home game, is a crowd pleaser.

Dinse met the players in the Tundra Line while cheering for the Packers as a Phoenix cheerleader in 2009 (a perk for both UW-Green Bay and St. Norbert cheer squads).

“Knowing I was going to graduate and it would be my last year as a cheerleader, I asked the drumline if there were auditions,” Dinse said.

Dinse practiced all last winter, and drove to Madison for spring 2010 auditions, competing with percussionists from across the state and northern Illinois. When the selection process was complete, he was the first member from Green Bay to ever make the line.

The members of the drum ensemble are all skilled percussionists, according to Dinse, many with experience from the UW-Madison Marching Band or DCI Drum and Bugle Corps. Dinse plays the bass drum, a large drum with mallets. It’s an extension of learning and opportunities he found at UW-Green Bay.

“Being on the line allows me to still actively play with great percussionists after leaving college,” said Dinse, who played in many different music ensembles at UW-Green Bay, including percussion ensemble, hand drumming, wind ensemble, concert band, jazz band, jazz combo, and pep band.

His commitment to the Packers and his responsibility to the Tundra Line runs deep.

“We are committed to every home game, rain or shine, hot or cold and we play the home playoff games as well,” Dinse said. The goal of the group is to pump energy into the crowd.

“Being part of the drumline mixes two of the things I love most, music performance and sports,” Dinse said. “I enjoy interacting with the crowds of tailgaters who we play for in the parking lot before the game — I go to the games hungry on purpose. I also love the big-game atmosphere and the opportunity to perform in front of over 70,000 people. I am a HUGE Packers fan; I was born and raised a cheese head in Green Bay.”

His young students — he splits time at Webster and Sullivan elementary schools on Green Bay’s east side — think it’s pretty cool, too.

“My students think its awesome that their teacher is part of a performing group, especially since most of them are Packers’ fans. I feel it has helped their engagement in class because it lets them know I am accomplished in music and there is plenty for them to learn from me.”

Photo by Mike Roemer ’86

Thanks to those who hosted Covenant Day

UW-Green Bay pulled out all the stops for nearly 200 area middle school students who toured campus April 28 for Wisconsin Covenant Day hosted by Gov. Jim Doyle.

The Phoenix Pep Band and Phlash Phoenix got things rolling for the 9:30 a.m. program in the Union’s Phoenix Room. Following remarks and a short ceremony, the eighth-grade students and their UW-Green Bay tour guides (students, staff and community volunteers) fanned out across campus. Among the stops:

• The Ecology Lab in the Laboratory Sciences Building, with biology Prof. Amy Wolf and spider specialist Prof. Michael Draney;

•  A Social Work presentation on “Why It is Important to go to College”;

*  A tour of the David A. Cofrin Library;

•  The Academic Advising Office in Student Services, to learn how student registration works on a college campus;

•  Residence Life, to see how university students live;

•  The Kress Events Center, to tour the facility and shoot a few baskets with players from the Phoenix NCAA tournament team;

•  A scientific presentation on “making root beer” wth Prof. Julie Lukesh and her chemistry students.

The morning’s activities were organized by staff of the Phuture Phoenix Program and the Institute for Learning Partnership.