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Pep band gets excited for basketball

Rachel Kubik

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Nicole Carlin

Everyone knows that basketball games are exciting, and a lot of that excitement comes from the student section. However, the Marquette Pep Band brings upbeat music that helps to add a competitive drive and a longing for victory into the hearts of spectators.

Erik Janners is the director of music at Marquette, a pep band conductor, and he has been a full-time professor at three different universities since 2001.

“(Pep band) has always been a part of what I do,” Janners said. “One of the things I really like about Marquette is that it’s a basketball school. We’re kind of the traveling cheer section in addition to the cheer squad. We play tunes, but we also yell as loud as we can.”

A “pep band” has been apart of Marquette’s band program since the 1920s. Janners said it was a marching band when Marquette had a football team. The band would march around the football field and make formations, as any typical college marching band would. It was converted into a pep band in the 1950s, when football was no longer a sport played competitively at Marquette. As a pep band, the students stand in the bleachers while playing.

The pep band consists of students either in the symphonic band or wind ensemble, and per band policy, each student is required to play their instrument at a few volleyball or basketball games throughout each sport’s respective season. However, many students go to more games than required because of the band’s excellent and all-around fun program.

The band has been playing “Ring Out Ahoya,” the university fight song, since the group was formed. Janners said that “Louie, Louie,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and other classic hits from the 1960s have been in their music library since at least the 1990s. However, Janners likes to keep the song repertoire updated. The new songs this year are ‘My Sharona,’ ‘Bully,’ ‘Shake it Off’,’ ‘Monster,’ ‘Love Drunk,’ and ‘Children of Sanchez.'”

Janners said he is excited for the first few games of men’s and women’s basketball this season because they are always well attended by band members.

“Everyone’s really excited to get that first real game under their belts, and that’s always a lot of fun,” Janners said.

Janners is hoping that the basketball team will go far this season. If the team does well, the band travel with the team and plays at the tournaments.

“The tournaments are always really fun to travel to, and cheer for the team, whether it’s in Chicago or New York City for the BIG EAST tournaments,” Janners said.

He said that he gets to know the students in pep band on a more personal level because pep band is not in a formalized instruction setting. He is also looking forward to seeing former students at the alumni game Jan. 9.

The students in pep band echoed a similar excitement for the season.

“I love being in pep band because of the excitement and energy that I think we bring and add to the basketball or volleyball event,” said Amanda Stolz, band vice president, piccolo player and senior in the College of Education. “It’s a great way to hang out with friends and play some really great music.”

Caroline Hildebrand, clarinet player and sophomore in the College of Communication, said her favorite song on the pep band playlist is “The Impression that I Get.” Ricky Krajewski, baritone saxophone player and junior in the College of Health Sciences, also said that is his favorite song to play.

“The arrangement for (The Impression that I Get) is really good and the band sounds really good on it,” Janners said. “It’s a fun piece to listen to and it’s a fun piece to conduct.”

Krajewski said he likes playing for basketball games more than volleyball because of the environment.

“It’s a lot more upbeat,” Krajewski said. “It’s really exciting to see my peers get into the game.”

 

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