Student Artist Spotlight: Corey Beck ‘22 reflects on time with pep band before conducting at his final football game

Corey+Beck+22+leads+Lafayettes+Pep+Band+on+and+off+the+field.+%28Photo+by+Caroline+Burns+22%29

Corey Beck ’22 leads Lafayette’s Pep Band on and off the field. (Photo by Caroline Burns ’22)

Isabella Gaglione, Contributing Writer

It is hard for Corey Beck ‘22 to remember a time in his life without music.

He grew up surrounded by musical instruments, learning piano when he was five and percussion in the fourth grade. And his lifelong love of music accompanied him to Lafayette. Since his freshman year, Beck has been a part of multiple music groups on campus including the Percussion Ensemble and the Pep Band. This year, Beck took on the position of Pep Band conductor. As conductor, Beck has the responsibility of running rehearsals and leading the band at events.

“When we’re there and we are at these events, I’m the one that’s calling the shots and running the show,” he said.

The band’s biggest event of the year is the Lafayette-Lehigh rivalry game. On Friday, they will be performing fun and high-energy stand tunes on the quad from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. as a part of the “FriYAY” event. On Saturday, the band will travel to Lehigh to play with the Lehigh Pep Band during Lehigh’s President’s Brunch event. Later, they will join their fellow Pards in the stands at the game, leading the crowd with carefully selected fight songs.

Beck believes that live music at games is vital to the energy of the crowd.

“I’m slightly biased because I play music, that’s what I do. I love live music,” he said. “The value of the live music is in the entertainment, but beyond that is this just sort of raw energy that the band is able to provide at these events. When they’re having a good time, everyone’s going to be having a good time regardless of what’s going on.”

For Beck, creating this atmosphere for the crowd is the best part of performing.

“It’s everyone that comes out to the games and has a good time and listens to the band play and supports all that. That’s what really makes it worthwhile for everyone,” Beck said. “We love playing for people. We love people that are cheering along and being involved with everything, and so to have all that opportunity to play both for the team and for everyone that’s around is just incredible.”

The Pep Band collaborates with the Lafayette Dance Team and the Cheerleading team to create vibrant energy in the crowd. During halftime this Saturday, the band will perform with those groups on the field.

Part of Beck’s role involves choosing what songs the band plays, which contributes to the high-energy atmosphere of games.

“I get to pick all the songs that we play, so I think they’re all great. There’s lots of fan favorites and crowd favorites. Everyone loves ‘The Impression That I Get’ because it’s really fun,” Beck said. “We’ve played ‘Timber’ with the dance team before. This year we did two different shows, one which was a bunch of Stevie Wonder songs, and I love Stevie Wonder.”

Beck struggles to pick a favorite from among the band’s catalog.

“We also did a bunch of songs [by] The Beatles, so I think this year my favorite is ‘Twist and Shout.’ I don’t know, it’s fun, it’s high-energy, everyone seems to like it regardless of age, so I think that might be my favorite one this year,” he said.

While this will be Beck’s last year with the Pep Band, he plans to continue incorporating music in his life.

“Music is creating this [connection] with other people, and I feel that having that ability, whether it’s playing with other people or playing music for other people, creates this connection. And that’s something that’s really vital and important to me and not something that I really want to give up or do away with,” Beck said. “So I’ll continue playing. What that looks like may look different. I think that’s something that’s really important to me and I’ll continue holding on to it for the rest of my life.”