The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Keeping the pep in the Leopards’ step

The pep band will next appear tomorrow during the football game against Columbia. (Photo courtesy of @lafpepband on Instagram)

In the background of every football and basketball home game is a team that never touches the ball, but is still a vital part of school spirit.

The Lafayette College Pep Band is a group of about 45 students who play different songs at sporting events to try to entertain and “pep up” the crowd. The group is featured at home games for football and men’s and women’s basketball, as well as the Rivalry game no matter the location.

The pep band comes back to campus a week before move-in for band camp. This is also where the new and returning members learn what songs they are going to be playing that year. Each day of camp, there is either a rehearsal with the entire band or sectionals. The sectionals allow individuals to practice and go over anything they need help with. 

According to senior vice president Jack Kerekes, band camp is a good way for incoming first-years to get used to campus. 

“It gives them a smaller view of Lafayette before they’re overwhelmed with orientation and classes,” Kerekes said. “I’ve always viewed it as a great opportunity for first-years.” 

“[The songs] are chosen by the board,” junior president Emily Rice explained. “We work with the student conductor and try to formulate what songs we think the band can play, different themes and what we think is fun.”

She also added that personal preference may have a role in the selection.

“If you have a favorite song you’re more likely to put it into the show,” Rice said. “For example, I created most of the Disney show with the help of one of my other board members and I’m a little biased towards Pirates of the Caribbean, so I added that song in there. We also have Earth Wind and Fire and Michael Jackson, which were all created by different people on the board.”

The band plays during stoppages of the game, but also plays a longer show at half-time. The members rotate through three sets so the crowd is not hearing the same tunes every time. These halftime shows are not the extravagantly choreographed marches that you see at Power 5 schools, but they provide entertainment to the Lafayette audience during the game’s lulls. 

Rice understands that the regular Lafayette student most likely has other obligations.

“[Pep band is] a lot more relaxed in general,” she said. “It’s a bit more flexible with the scheduling because we’re all human, things happen.” For instance, the band only practices on Saturdays during the semester.

To Kerekes, the members of the band are more than just a musical group — they’re friends with many common interests.

“The chemistry is really good,” he said. “Most of us are in concert band also and a lot live on [the music appreciation floor].” 

Both Rice and Kerekes stressed that Pep Band is not a “military-style” drill but a fun way to play music and cheer on the sports teams. 

The favorite event of most of the band is the Rivalry game, but the homecoming game also is up there for many of the members because alumni from all different years join in to play with the band.

“We bring in all different alumni, even people from the 1980’s graduating classes,” Rice said. “They either bring their own instruments or we provide them … and they show up and play with us. It’s a lot of fun and a great atmosphere to be in.”

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