A hurrah to QU’s Pep Band


Photo by Alex Bayer / Contributed by Pep Band

Neha Seenarine, Arts & Life Editor

In the winter, as Quinnipiac University’s M&T Bank Arena is seated with thrilled attendees supporting the Quinnipiac basketball and hockey teams, there’s one group that’s always there: the Quinnipiac Pep Band.

“We represent the school, so we have to put on our best face,” said Tyler Horvath, co-director of Pep Band and molecular and cell biology graduate student. “We have to support the team through their ups and downs… we love the players a lot and we support them as much as we can.”

The Pep Band is a performing ensemble that plays at both men’s and women’s ice hockey and basketball games with opportunities of traveling with athletics during championship games.

Madison Vale, spirit lead of Pep Band and a sophomore 3+1 graphic and interactive design major, makes sure everyone involved is enjoying themselves.

“We’re just here to get the crowd pumped,” Vale said. “We’re really making sure we limit our negativity and bringing in a positive light to games in general.”

The Pep Band is one of the Quinnipiac’s spirit groups alongside the Quinnipiac Ice Cats and the appearances of students dressed as the Teletubbies. The group creates signs catering to each athletic game and dedicates special horn movements to different plays.

“Most of us do not know the individual athletes personally, but we want them to win so bad it kind of is the fan mentality where we have signs,” said Justin Reid, co-captain of the Pep Band and senior history major. “We love to hold up signs that reference members or other team members. We played against Colgate and have a sign that says, ‘Crest is better.’ We make signs that are stupid, right? Of course, but it’s all part of being a fan.”

Although the Pep Band proves its loyalty, Evan Voyer, co-director and molecular and cell biology graduate student said sometimes the crowd can forget the group exists.

“We are at every single home game, men’s and women’s ice hockey and basketball teams, that’s four teams that we support,” Voyer said. “I think a lot of people like to appreciate and focus on some of the others (spirit groups) and we’re there at everything.”

The Pep Band plays a variety of music from start to finish. The group opens with “We Will Rock You” by Queen and “Tequila” by The Champs makes an appearance at the beginning of the third quarter. The band closes with either a winning or losing song.

“(The music) has to be pretty fast-paced, it has to be fun, we’re trying to be peppy,” Reid said. “We want to make sure that a lot of people know the song because it’s way more fun for everybody. We’re pulling from things like movies and TV shows and songs that you would have heard on the radio, like ‘Shrek 2,’ a lot of people know that.”

Illustration by (Lindsey Komson)

After the basketball and hockey seasons were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Pep Band noticed a loss of vibrancy between the group and the attendees when they returned to the stands.

“It was definitely different because the students knew a lot more of the chants that we did, and sort of the culture surrounding the games,” Voyer said. “The pep band started up again after the pandemic, so then, at that point, there were two classes, so half of the school that had never been to an in-person game… so it was a little bit of a transition to get back into, trying to get them to chant the chants that we’ve been doing.”

Voyer recalled a time when the Pep Band was spelling out Quinnipiac as a chant at one of last year’s games and a student questioned what the group was trying to say.

“They’re like, ‘What is that?” And you’re like, “The name of our school?” Voyer said. “Yeah, (that’s) a bit of a taste of what we’ve been dealing with.”

Though the group has seen a decrease in membership throughout the past three years, it doesn’t stop them from performing.

“We’re small but mighty,” Vale said. “Sometimes people are like, ‘There’s a band?’ and so just knowing that we’re here. Hopefully, we can continue pushing forward and going back to like, what Pep Band was like before COVID. Although I don’t really know what it was I can assume a lot of bands are rebuilding.”

The environment of the Pep Band is “do what you can” Horvath said. The group emphasized its gratitude for the members and the positive moments they shared together. Horvath described the Pep Band as a second home.

“We have four games a weekend and that’s four hours a game; every weekend, every Friday night, Saturday night, sometimes we have a game,” Horvath said. “I’m with these people a lot. These are people that come from all different majors and all different parts of campus and campus isn’t huge, but they’re people I never would have met otherwise.”