Pep band helps crowd feel the ‘Storm Beat’

Pep band helps crowd feel the Storm Beat

by Molly MishlerStaff Writer

Storm fans are feeling the beat at home games thanks to a group of band members dedicated to school spirit. “Storm Beat,” Simpson’s own pep band, got its start in November of 2006 when Jim Thorius, dean of students amd vice president of student development, approached a group of students about starting a pep band.

Thorius is now the band’s faculty adviser. Junior Carl Rowles was asked to direct.

“I run all of the rehearsals and conduct the band at performances,” Rowles said. “Should I not be available for a performance, I have an assistant director whom I ask to direct in my place.”

Prior to the newly-formed pep band, the symphonic band was asked to perform at the football games during Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend. The Athletic Department wanted the band to perform at more than those two games. The planning began and members formed what is now the Storm Beat.

Anyone on campus can be involved and the group consists of both music majors and non-music majors.

“There are a lot of girls from Pi Beta Phi,” Rowles said. “They all recruit more and more from their house. And everyone in pep band has volunteered for it. We’re always looking for more people to join and increase the size of the band.”

The band mostly performs at home football and basketball games. On Nov. 1, 2007, the band traveled to Iowa City to perform at the pre-game reception when the Simpson men’s basketball team played the University of Iowa. The next performances are Feb. 2 and then Feb. 7, when both the men and women’s basketball teams play Central.

There are multiple reasons members of the band have joined. Freshman Julie Fisher joined because she enjoyed performing in her band in high school.

“I enjoy being able to cheer on our teams through the art of music,” Fisher said. “I have gained experience with the fact that I am a music education major and will eventually be teaching band and conducting a band myself.”

Freshman Hank Muzney notes the band’s presence has an effect on spectator enthusiasm.

“It gives me a better understanding of the games and it brings more people to the games,” Muzney said. “It makes the games more fun to have the band playing during the time-outs.”

Rowles believes that it’s very important to have music at the games.

“The pep band provides an environment that can’t be created any other way,” Rowles said. “Live performers who have excitement and adrenaline running through their veins create more excitement than something that has been recorded and is being played through a speaker.”

The band is also trying to get the dance team involved.

“We also work with the dance team to provide live music for them to dance to during time-outs,” Rowles said. “This is something new to us and the dance team that we brought back from watching the Iowa pep band and dance team. We’re hoping this will create a more collegiate environment for our basketball games.”