Pep Band earns respect

Viktoria Sundqvist

Editor’s note: After speaking with several members of the Pep Band, we realize that our previous article that ran in our Feb. 20 issue does not give an accurate picture of the band. With this follow-up article we will therefore try to tell a more complete story.

When the men’s hockey team won the game at Madison Square Garden, the Pep Band was there to cheer them on. When the same players lots their chance to make it back to the NCAA tournament after losing in West Point, N.Y., the Pep Band was there to cheer them up.

And for the past five years, the pep band has been there, through wins and losses, playing 20-25 games a season.

“We split our time between men’s hockey, men’s basketball, women’s hockey and women’s basketball,” said Pep Band Director Lauren Bellucci. “Most of the games we play are home games, and the away trips we save for something special. If a team makes it to the NCAA tournament, it has priority.”

Bellucci said that more than half of the games the band goes to are men’s hockey games.

“We tend to focus more on hockey because there are more time outs,” she said. “Because we have more opportunities to play, we are more a part of things at the hockey games.”

A big event this year for the Pep Band was to play at the Hero’s Hat game in Madison Square Garden, N.Y.

“We were the only band there, so we got to play the national anthem,” said Bellucci. “That was really special.”

Last week, junior Bryn Souza was elected president of the Pep Band for the upcoming year.

“By far, Madison Square Garden will be an experience I will never forget,” she said. “If I hadn’t decided to become a part of the Pep Band freshman year, my college experience wouldn’t nearly have been as worthwhile and exciting.”

Senior John Hirbour has been a member of the Pep Band for five years. He agreed that one of the most memorable moments was the Madison Square Garden game, but he said that this is not the only reason he is in the band.

“While playing at Madison Square Garden was amazing, and definitely something that I will tell my children about when I get older, the thing that keeps me going is the support we get from the hockey players,” said Hirbour, who plays the tenor sax in the band. “Some of the players have come up to me after games and said ‘thank you’ and ‘you guys are doing a great job’ and that really means a lot.”

Hirbour was recruited as a member during his freshman year, when the band did not have many members.

“It was very exciting to be a part of something that was so new,” he said. “I have seen the band grow over the years.”

Senior Tara Faldman said the quality of the band now is astonishing.

“To go from only having six to ten members at the start of the pep band to over 30 members in just a few short years is outstanding,” she said. “We sound great and look great. I am proud to be a part of something so amazing.”

Faldman joined the Pep Band in her sophomore year.

“I felt that I had a lot to add to the band,” she said. “Since I played the trumpet, and that instrument was scarce, I felt my sound could add to the band and make a better and bigger sound.”

Bellucci said the sound of the band is really well-balanced now.

“When the freshmen came in they played exactly the instruments that we needed,” she said.

Freshman and trombone player Kimberly Aiksnoras has been a part of the Pep Band for almost a year now. When she came to visit campus she remembers seeing pep band sign in the cafeteria.

“I asked someone what music groups there were on campus, and I was told about the pep band,” she said. “I have played a musical instrument since fourth grade and I wanted to continue to play, so I joined the band.”

Bellucci said that the band was also very strong last year and received many compliments for improvements.

“Each year we have been getting more members,” she said.

Souza agrees that the Pep Band has grown tremendously in both membership and musicality since she joined it, but she said the band still has many new goals and objectives for the upcoming year. As the president, she is responsible for all non-musical aspects of the band, and she also serves as a liaison between band members and the band director.

“Hopefully, our music selection will continue to expand as it has this past year,” Souza said. “Also, the group will be working on creating more social events, opportunities for road trips, our own constitution and even our own web site.”