You’re seated on the cold bleachers at a George Mason home game. The cheerleaders are exclaiming words of encouragement, parents and students are rooting for their friends and loved ones, and the home team is winning 7 to 0. Suddenly, music starts playing and you find yourself singing “8-6-7-5-3-0-9!!!” with gusto and in repetition. You have the Pep Band to thank for this sudden outburst of energy and enthusiasm.
The pep band players are the unsung cheerleaders of football games. At every home game, you can count on the pep band to be there a half hour prior to the start of the game and play throughout the first half. No matter the weather, they are always there, often playing through the biting cold.
“We’re the life of the game, really,” stated Honora Overby, a senior who has been playing in the pep band since eighth grade. Her favorite part is “the sense of community,” to which Jessica Kemp, also a senior, adds that “it connects the grades.”
Senior Nathan Frost’s favorite part is “playing instruments that aren’t my own,” also commenting on how the “support and good noise” coming from the pep band has a positive impact on the game and general experience.
Jackie Cornejo concurs, “I definitely think (the players) enjoy it.”
“I enjoy the fact that I get to come out here and play very loudly and very blatantly on the drums,” states John Glover, whose favorite song to play, along with Frost’s, is “Jai Ho,” whereas Waters favors playing “Louie, Louie”.
Indeed, most can agree that the two most beloved crowd favorites are “Jai Ho” and “Jenny.”
“It gives the band a chance to play pop tunes and jazz tunes that they wouldn’t normally play and it’s a bonding experience. A lot of the time we’re out braving the cold, supporting the team, supporting the school,” remarks Mary Jo West, music teacher and pep band coordinator, on the pep band experience.
Though “carrying percussion instruments down the field” and playing in the cold (though, senior Emma Washa says her clarinet “warms her heart”) may not be their favorite memories, most seniors will miss the pep band experience, supporting classmates and bonding with friends.