Anna Fisher – News Editor
This fall, the BenU Athletic Band will become both a class (MUSI 1127) and part of the Club Sports Program. Here are five reasons student musicians should join.
1: You Can Receive Course Credit and a Scholarship
Those who receive a C or better in the MUSI 1127 course receive a $1000 per semester scholarship and the course may satisfy multiple requirements, depending on your degree.
Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings 6:30-7:45 Aug. through Nov. The Athletic Band normally performs at 18 home games Sept. through Mar. Both rehearsals and performances are filled with music and levity.
“Pep band is full of lots of laughs and inside jokes. It is always a good time. Every time I have to go, I’m always excited for it,” said Samantha Jendreas, who plays baritone saxophone, “Everyone’s as high-energy and goofy as I am.”
2: We Play Groovy Tunes
A bevy of tunes fill the Pep Book, and everyone has favorites: “Vehicle,” “Carry On Wayward Son (nicknamed “COWS”),” “25 or 6 to 4,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Hey Baby,” or even “Don’t Stop Believin.’”
For Kristian Santiago, a keyboard player, two favorites are “Sweet Caroline” and “YMCA,”
“I couldn’t decide between the two. They’re not my favorites just in a playing sense, but it always made me happy when the crowd would join in on the fun during the chorus of either tune!”
3: We Help Bring Spirit to Sports
Crowd participation is one way the Athletic Band brings the pep.
“You get to share your passion of music with so many others. It’s a lot of fun getting to both play and support athletics at the same time,” said Santiago.
Andrew Rapata, a bassist, appreciates the spirit of the group and enjoys both spectating and playing at games.
“One of my favorite pep band memories was playing in the NACC tournament games,” Rapata said, “The vibes and energy in the gym was awesome, no feeling like it.”
4: It’s a Fun Community with a Great Cast of Characters
Athletic Band has hosted majors and minors of all disciplines, leading to fun interactions and moments for hospitality.
“My favorite memory is when we were leaving for Thanksgiving break and we had a pep band game that night,” said Adia Dixon, saxophone, “I brought my pet fish, Prince Purple Rain Taki Fuego Dixon, to the game. He was sitting on the stand and he became part of the band.”
The atmosphere is encouraging, observes Brittany Chally, baritone saxophone, “The pep band culture we have created here is welcoming, diverse, and very forgiving. We love inviting friends and family to regularly perform with us and always looking for new members to join!”
As an example, Chally cited Homecoming 2019, when the Athletic Band invited several professors to play at the football tailgate. Dr. Joe Incandela, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, even conducted a piece:
“He prepped well in advance, participating in the conducting lab course that the music education students were enrolled in so that he was ready for his big moment,” Chally said, “The crowd loved seeing our guest conductor, and it was an exciting moment for us to see the Dean wanting to interact and spend time with his students.”
5: It’s a Way to Develop Musical Skills Alongside Others
For Chally, Athletic Band was also an opportunity to rekindle her love of music, “I would encourage somebody to join pep band for the experience,” she said.
Originally, Chally didn’t plan to pursue music in college, but decided to audition anyway, “Auditioning for pep band encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone as I ultimately decided to minor in music and eventually switched to music education.”
Other members prize Athletic Band as an opportunity to exercise musical expression.
“For me, pep band was an escape from studies and a time to do what I love with people I love,” said flautist Kathy Karagiannis.
With the chance for renewed community this fall, what better time to get involved on-campus?
To join, contact Dr. Al Legutki at firstname.lastname@example.org, audition, and enroll in MUSI 1127 for 0-1 credits.