Pep band provides welcome addition to game atmosphere

by Kristin SimpsonStaff Writer

It’s the fourth quarter, and it’s a tied game. Cowles is loud and packed. The cheerleaders are rallying team spirit; the fans are cheering on the Storm. But then you hear something else adding to the noise. You look over your shoulder, only to discover that the guy behind you is humming.

He begins singing along to a familiar tune. You search for the source of the music. Wait. When did we get a pep band?

Simpson’s pep band has entered the scene, pumping school spirit with the help of their instruments instead of pompoms.

“Last time we played, we had people stand up and clap for us,” junior pep band player Lucas Iburg said. “So the crowd loves us playing here.”

Student director Carl Rowles agrees. A sophomore, he was recommended by fellow student director Craig Jacobson to help with the band.

“I breathe easy knowing that we’re doing a good job from [the crowd’s] perspective and ours,” Rowles said.

The push for a pep band came from the administration. The objective was to boost school spirit by getting students involved.

“The dean and the president came to us and they wanted to have more involvement,” Iburg said.

The symphonic band tried playing at two football games, for Homecoming as well as Parents’ Night. The administration wanted something more.

“The athletic department wasn’t completely satisfied with that,” Rowles said. “They wanted all games or they wanted no games.”

The symphonic band members couldn’t be required to play at every game, so the pep band was born. Someone needed to organize a group of volunteers willing to play during their free time.

“It was Craig [Jacobson] who did all of the leg work first semester to try and get it going,” Rowles said. “But the football season kind of didn’t go well because we tried to start it so soon.”

Eventually, with the help of meetings, rehearsals and mass emails, enough students showed interest to join. Rowles speculated that a lot of the players joined because they had enjoyed playing in their high school pep bands.

“It was pretty much all voluntary,” Iburg said. “We got a bunch of volunteers together and we just started playing.”

The band usually rehearses once a week and tries to play at all of the home basketball double-headers they can. Last Tuesday night was the band’s sixth basketball appearance. The more they play, the more the pep band is seeing how volunteering their talents is impacting fans and teams alike.

“The coaches really appreciate it,” Rowles said. “They seem to notice the band seems to keep the game upbeat and they’re constantly saying ‘guys, we really appreciate it.'”

One fan, freshmen Stacy Bonertz, believes that pep bands can make a big difference for the players.

“As a [basketball] player in high school, I liked having the band play. I think it does more for the players than the spectators,” Bonertz said.

The pep band plans on continuing next year, beginning with football.

“Since everyone across the board is happy with it, then it means that we’re actually doing a good job of it,” Rowles said. “If anyone still wants to join, we’ll take them.”