Revitalized pep band inspires Centre spirit at football games

Posted by Centre News in Music, News 02 Oct 2015

Pep BandYou can see Centre College spirit everywhere on campus, and you can hear it, too—with thanks, in particular, to the growing pep band section at home football games.

The Centre football team moved to 7-0 on the season and assumed sole possession of first place in the Southern Athletic Association standings with a 47-35 homecoming victory over Rhodes on Saturday in Danville, Ky. Both teams came into Saturday's game undefeated in SAA play and tied atop the conference standings. At 3-0 with three league games remaining, Centre now has a one game-lead in the SAA race and a 7-0 overall record, the Colonels' best start since winning their first seven on the way to qualifying for the NCAA Division III Playoff in 2011.

Centre’s pep band was revitalized in 2013 by Assistant Professor of Music Jaemi Loeb, who took the initiative to assemble those interested in participating after having recognized “something was missing” at games in Farris Stadium.

“We had a lot of students, faculty and staff who loved playing with the band at football games during high school and were missing that type of music making,” Loeb explains. “A real, active pep band just seemed like an obvious way to serve the needs of our students in many different ways at once—musically and campus spirit-wise.”

She began to acquire equipment and recruit more players, and now the pep band has grown from a small group of less than 10 working with minimum resources to about 20 people at each home game with new jerseys and the proper equipment.

Loeb stresses that absolutely anyone can participate, and a place in the band can be found even for those without musical experience.

“Anyone rusty on their instrument can request a practice folder in advance, and there are instruments on loan to those without one—even a cowbell,” she jokes.

Loeb explains that the environment and commitment is very low-key, with rehearsal on game day for an hour. She also adds that joining the band does not require participants to commit to coming to every game, as participants have the option of signing up for specific games of choice.

“We add a whole lot of excitement to the game,” Loeb says. “Although we’re a relatively small band, we do make a fair amount of noise, and that keeps the crowd going.”

Beyond the game-day performance, Loeb explains that the benefits of participating in pep band extend into other creative and critical-thinking areas as well, often requiring pep band members to think on their feet to improvise parts by using their musical intuition.

“Outside of actual playing, pep band is also a great opportunity for students to practice their real-world problem solving skills and learn to be resourceful,” Loeb said. “The atmosphere is simultaneously fun and offers great learning opportunities.”

It also appears the pep band has become a lucky charm for the football team.

“Since our re-constitution in 2013, the football team has not lost in the presence of the pep band,” Loeb noted. “We hope to continue this winning streak and eventually extend it to away games.”

by Elise L. Murrell
October 2, 2015