Pep Band wants to be heard

Jenn Press

Wishing to toot their own horn more often, the Pep Band does not feel that they are allotted enough playing time during campus basketball games.

The band has to share their time with the cheerleaders, DJ and announcer, leaving them feeling unfulfilled with their performance opportunity.

“We seem to be the thing that everyone wants and no one wants to support,” said freshman Eric Oppegaard, a trumpet player.

The NCAA rule states that “musical instruments and recorded instruments can only be played during official time-outs/breaks.” This leads to disappointment from a team that puts in a lot of effort to work together.

The pep band plays well-known songs and tries to incorporate audience interaction with the “Hey” song.

An ESPN announcer once said the difference between professional and college basketball games is that there’s spirit with the school that can come alive with a band.

“They are one of the major reasons Quinnipiac as such great school spirit,” said Jack McDonald, director of Athletics and Recreation. “I love them to death.”

Oppegaard interprets the rules as a concern for distraction to the players. Oppegaard argues that the Crazy Bobcats are not any less rowdy than a band, so the reasoning is unclear. Oppegaard said the Bobcats seem to like the band better than recorded music because it gets them pumped up.

The band feels discouraged that they hardly have time to finish a musical piece, especially after their hard work. Oppegaard said the DJ seems to have the rules bent for him, while the band must adhere to restrictions.

“It’s biased,” he said. “It’s house rules with the Quinnipiac DJ. We feel that if we have to follow the rules, then they should have to follow the rules.”

McDonald said the band might not have enough time to play during the unscheduled time-outs, which is why it is easier for a DJ to quickly fill in with music.

Oppegaard said that Quinnipiac can get a technical foul for its team if the Pep Band plays out of turn, if the referee calls it.

“I’m really not pleased that they’re complaining about it,” said McDonald. “They are an outstanding group but that’s just the way things are.”

Oppegaard said that they understand that every single court has its own home rules.

“It seems that people like to hear us play and we’re not playing that often,” he said.

Junior saxophone player Colleen Rice said she likes to play more.

“It looks like we’re not doing enough, but we’re doing what we’re allowed to,” she said. “[There is an] utter lack of communication between the band, DJ’s and announcers.”

The band meets Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. to rehearse in the multi-purpose room in the gym.

The pep band does not get any academic credit, perks or scholarships by being a part of the organization. In addition, they have to transport their instruments from their storage space in Irma all the way to the gym or ice-skating rink to play at the games.

“They are probably one of the most improved teams we have at Quinnipiac,” said McDonald about the pep band, which is coed and considered a varsity sport.

The band plays at the basketball games on Thursday nights and often for hockey games on Friday nights, Saturday and Saturday nights, in addition to other campus events. They also play at midnight madness, the holiday tree lighting, senior days and the pep rally.

Oppegaard said the band has tried to get more playing time.

“We’ve talked to the athletic director and different athletic members and coaches, but we always get deferred,” he said.

McDonald said it has never been brought to his attention.

“I think they need to speak to me and we will certainly do everything we can,” he said.

A lot of work goes into preparing for games that only allow about four minutes of playing time in a three hour period. The band has to adopt music to fit together, take over certain sections if need be and test their skills to better the performance of the band.

“I learned an instrument to be in the band,” said Rice.

Oppegaard said the band does not feel they have done anything to deserve restrictions.

“We’re all there because we like music and we enjoy performing,” he said. “When we don’t get to perform, it hurts.”

McDonald said it is not a restriction.

“It is national protocol for all college events that no music is played while the game is gong on. There’s nothing we can do about that,” said McDonald.

One suggestion Oppegaard has is to accompany the cheerleaders while they do their stunts.

“The cheerleaders do a great job, but sometimes we are just sitting there in silence,” he said.

However, while the rules are strict, Oppegaard said the band sometimes tests the waters and plays when they feel a time is right.

“We have to share the performance time,” he said. “The cheerleaders work as hard as the pep band.”

The band hopes to get more recognition when they play at Madison Square Garden for the Quinnipiac vs. UConn game. Oppegaard also said he hopes the band will travel more, which will allow more opportunities for them to show off their talent.

The band feels shafted in funding as well. Oppegaard said the band has trouble finding support because fund-raising is a problem due to the new recreation center. Oppegaard said they don’t get equal attention as the other sports teams. They don’t get as much support because they are not bringing in money or publicity and they do not compete.

Although they were provided with $80 hockey jerseys, they were not supplied with the T-shirts Oppegaard said they were promised for basketball games.

They are currently seen wearing blue fleeces with the old logo.

“It would be nicer to have something that looks up to date,” said Oppegaard.

McDonald said, “They’re not going to get t-shirts because of the money.”

McDonald said the hockey team recently got rid of the old logo and teams don’t usually receive home and away uniforms.

“None of the other sports complain about it,” said McDonald.