Student-directed wind, brass ensemble enhances ambience, hopes to grow membership, play at more games
Sporting events are touchstones of creating spirit and school pride on many campuses, including Lewis & Clark’s. But it is not just the athletes or the game itself that create the experience of attending an event. From the workers that sell you a ticket, to the janitorial team that maintains the facility, it takes a range of people coming together to make the magic happen.
One of these elements that turn basketball and football games into a full event is the pep band. They rile up the crowd when our team scores a point, provide entertainment during breaks and set the tone for both the audience and players with their upbeat repertoire.
According to the founder and manager of the club, Peter Steck ’24, LC has had several pep bands emerge and dissolve over the years. Steck cites encouragement from the music department and the football program as his inspiration for starting up the club again. Currently, the club receives funding from the athletic department, music department and Office of the Vice President of Student Life.
As manager of the pep band, Steck describes himself as the “put-together person” in charge of securing the right instruments and uniforms, allocating the budget and other administrative tasks. Currently, the club is in the process of building a full board so all the responsibilities do not fall on just one person.
Victor Young ’27 serves as the current conductor of the pep band. His responsibilities include choosing the music repertoire, running rehearsals and directing the band on game days. Young was a part of his high school’s marching band as a drum major, and he says the shift from being a member to directing has been an interesting challenge.
“(In high school) my director basically just told me what to play and when to play,” said Young. “Now, technically speaking, I get to decide both. It’s a little bit confusing sometimes.”
One of the most imperative elements of conducting the pep band is keeping track of time. Choosing songs based on length and when to play them comes down to more of a science than an art.
“A lot of people think it’s really easy just to start playing at a point,” said Young.
From adhering to the game’s breaks and plays to the creativity of curating songs that fit the perfect time frame, the job is far from easy.
The pep band rehearses two times a week in J.R.Howard Hall, running over their songs for the next game. If you have lurked in the corridors of Howard on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday evening, your study session might have been accompanied by the spritely sounds of a flute, or a crooning slide of a trombone playing Pink Panther.
When asked about future ambitions, both Steck and Young emphasized their hopes of growing the band.
“I want to get more players. Our listing of players right now is supposed to be 40 and only about 10 showed up. Pep band is really small, so I’m hoping that as we keep playing games it’s gonna get bigger and become a much bigger club,” said Steck.
Steck also touched on the joy that pep band brings to sports games, both to the athletes and spectators.
“I think (pep band) adds some fun to an activity that is sitting in a seat, watching people do things. It’s kind of fun to hear a band playing for your team. I would hope that it also boosts the players’ spirits a little bit too, because it’s like you’ve got people who are actively cheering and playing something for you. I feel like it’s a morale boost,” said Steck.
Young echoed these sentiments, adding how much he feels the band contributes to the games.
“It adds a lot of spirit, people get really excited for us. I’ve gotten so many comments from parents, family members, professors, and students saying they really liked what we were doing. They really wanted us to be at more things,” Young said.
Pep band is a unique group on campus, neither a club nor a faculty instructed ensemble. At the intersection of two seemingly antithetical communities — athletics and music — lies a group that fosters playfulness, enthusiasm and spirit with their fanfare.
Subscribe to the Mossy Log Newsletter
Stay up to date with the goings-on at Lewis & Clark! Get the top stories or your favorite section delivered to your inbox whenever we release a new issue.