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With 12 seconds left on the clock and a tie score, the crowd in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex was deafening.
This heightened din was boosted by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Pep Band, whose function, much like the Marching Band at football games, is to boost morale and energy through music and spirit.
The band, which is a student-run organization, practices once a week for at least two hours to dish out their renditions on popular songs like “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
The band even has songs that they sing along with as they play.
“I love being a part of the Pep Band and showing support for IUP,” Pep Band director Zach Grass (senior, music performance) said.
Tashio Jefferson (junior, music) said the transition into playing for the basketball team was a little rough.
“The first time was kind of scary because IUP never had a pep band before,” Jefferson said.
“We started out three years ago, and it was pretty bad, but eventually we got better and then the crowd livened up.”
Jefferson said that it’s really fun playing in the pep band for the basketball teams.
“Not only do we get to watch the games, but we get to excite the crowd, bringing the hype and pep for the women and the men’s games,” he said.
President of the Pep Band, Sadie Spencer (sophomore, music education) said the band is like a family and very dedicated in all they do.
“It was an honor to be asked to be responsible for pumping up the game, not to mention a lot of fun,” she said.
Standing amongst the instruments blasting The 45 King’s “The 900 Number,” their cohesion was apparent. They were in sync and comfortable with each other in their movements and behavior.
Judging by the enthusiastic fans, IUP students seemed to agree that the Pep Band added to their game day experience, and the crowd wasn’t the only thing moved by the music.
“I love the Pep Band,” said Lexi Carpenter (sophomore, communications/business marketing), an IUP basketball player. “It gets me hyped.”
And so bleacher-goers and players alike have benefited from the music from the Pep Band.
Anna-Kate Depaolo (senior, exercise science) said that she likes the modern music the band adapts for their stand tunes.
“I enjoy the music, and it personally adds to my experience of the game,” Depaolo said.
And listening to the way the band blows the stands down, an onlooker would never know that there are only about 45 people in the band.
“I love the band because it really adds a lot of energy to the game,” Rachel Alexander (sophomore, marketing) said.
Basketball games are a part of the college experience, and the Pep Band adds to the unique atmosphere of IUP games.
See the Pep Band at the next home men’s and women’s basketball games Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.
Nikki Santiago, Renee Williamson, Aleda Johnson contributed to writing this article.