Go Colonels! Jaemi Loeb revitalizes Centre Pep Band
Cheerleaders, stadium lights and school spirit are all part and parcel of Centre football, and thanks to the hard work of Assistant Professor of Music Jaemi Loeb, another fixture of fall sports is alive and well: Centre’s Pep Band.
“Our role at games is to get the crowd excited and help cheer on the team,” Loeb explains. “I sometimes think of the pep band as filling the role that Joel (or Mike) and Crow and Tom Servo play on Mystery Science Theater 3,000; it’s our job to comment on the game—inviting fans to cheer for the good plays, get angry at the bad plays and respectfully disagree with the opposing team.”
Loeb decided to revitalize the pep band after talking to both students and faculty about the desire for another opportunity to play music.
“Many students come to Centre having been in marching band in high school, and they want to continue to play, but may not have the time to join our larger ensembles,” she says. “The pep band is a great way for students to continue playing their instruments in a low-pressure and low-time commitment environment. I also heard from many upperclassmen and faculty who put down their instruments when they got to college and were looking for a low-pressure way to get back into the groove.”
To create the pep band, Loeb recruited musicians from all over campus to play in the stands during a football game, giving her an idea of what would be required to perform during games more often. First and foremost, portable marching instruments were purchased.
“Even though we don’t really march,” she explains, “having portable instruments that can withstand the pressures of the heat and cold is critical to getting a pep band going.”
Athletic Director Brad Fields supported Loeb’s efforts by allocating funding for Pep Band jerseys.
With the basics in place, Loeb has been tirelessly promoting the band to new and incoming students, her colleagues and interested community members. She also built in a course requirement for members of the Wind Ensemble to participate in Pep Band.
“We have a good core of students who really love Pep Band and are excited to get involved and bring friends along,” says Loeb.
The Family Weekend football game was a rousing success, with the debut of the Star Wars main theme and imperial march, the Batman theme, “Eye of the Tiger,” “Louie Louie” and the main theme from Rocky.
“There’s a surprisingly large canon of “stand” tunes that is mostly made up of arrangements of rock tunes, movie themes and the occasional classical transcription,” Loeb explains. “We are always on the lookout for new ways to pump up the crowd and the team.”
Currently, a student committee is looking for new and exciting music to debut at the Homecoming football game, while Loeb continues to look forward to a bright future for Pep Band.
“I’m hoping to purchase more marching instruments and drums so we can have a real drum line,” she says. “I would like to see Pep Band become a large, self-sustaining, student-run club within the next few years and maybe start doing half-time shows. I also hope the group will branch out into more sporting events like basketball and maybe soccer.”
Above all, Loeb sees Pep Band as an important element in promoting athletics and school spirit at Centre.
“Given the important role that athletics plays on campus,” she says, “a strong pep band is a way for those of us who are not on a team to be part of the fun.”
To learn more about Pep Band at Centre, contact Jaemi Loeb at email@example.com.
By Mariel Smith