Jim Doepke, aka “Mr. Trumpet,” returned to Allen Field House Feb. 3 to play the alma mater and national anthem before the KU-Oklahoma State men’s basketball game. It’s Doepke’s sixth time performing before the Jayhawk faithful, but he insists it never gets old—especially when his return coincides with the anniversaries of the 1988 and 2008 NCAA National Championship teams and the basketball program’s 120th anniversary.
“That just adds to the excitement,” says Doepke. “It’s just so cool to be part of that.”
Doepke, d’74, a retired high school band director who lives Florida, arrived in Lawrence on Friday with his son, J.P. Their first stop was Allen Field House, where father and son toured the exhibits and interactive displays in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. “I’ve never really had time to do that,” Doepke says. “We really enjoyed it.”
Later, with trumpet in hand, Doepke visited the Adams Alumni Center, where he surprised staff with a special performance of the alma mater.
Doepke, who has set a goal to play the national anthem at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, is scheduled to perform Aug. 2 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Aug. 4 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which will raise his ballpark tally to 19.
Posted on Jul 29, 2013
in Alumni News and News
Jim Doepke, aka “Mr. Trumpet,” is making progress in his quest to play the national anthem at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. On July 22, Doepke, d’74, belted out “The Star Spangled Banner” on his trumpet at Safeco Field in Seattle–the 10th Major League ball park he has appeared in.
A high school band director in Wisconsin who retired in Florida in 2007, Doepke began carrying his trumpet into the stands when cheering for his hometown Milwaukee Brewers. He was soon adopted by the team and was chosen to play the anthem at the opening of Miller Park in 2001. After multiple appearances in Milwaukee, he hit on the idea of taking his show on the road.
“I’ve always gotten a lot of satisfaction from playing the national anthem, and I decided it would be a kick to do it at every Major League park,” Doepke told Kansas Alumni magazine in 2009. He also plays for military honor ceremonies and has sounded taps at Arlington National Cemetery. Also high on his list of trumpet triumphs: playing before KU basketball games in Allen Field House.
Jayhawk fans will have two opportunities to catch Doepke this season: Dec. 10 at the Alumni Association’s pregame tailgate at the KU-Florida game in Gainesville, and Dec. 21 at the KU-Georgetown game in Lawrence.
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