-Megan Cole, Staff Reporter
Close your eyes. Imagine you are at a football game. The school year has just started. The stands are full, and the lines are long. The sun is beating down, and the team is running out to the field. The crowd stands up with loud applause. Flags fly across the field. The students in body-paint run past your row. You try to put down your cheesy nachos so you can stand up too, then—
That’s right, silence. There’s no music. Other than the soft clapping sounds of hands, the sound of melodious notes and pounding drums are nowhere to be found.
Can you imagine it? A sporting event with no music to be heard?
According to Craig Young, director of band activities at Mississippi College, the question is very difficult to answer. “The reason I say that, is I can’t conceive a football game without it.” Young explained.
Mississippi College’s Pep Band makes up the music component to all football games at MC. Young believes that this part of the athletic event is crucial to the energy, spirit, and fun atmosphere people feel at football games. Apparently, it’s just one of those things that the pigskin alone cannot provide.
“The music energizes the crowd which energizes the football team,” Young clarified. “And for people that don’t watch the game, they get to have fun too, singing songs and dancing to the music.”
Will Gurtowski, a junior, agreed. “It would be pretty boring without the noise, the music, the fight songs and things like that.”
When discussing a student’s motivation to be a part of college band, Gurtowski admitted that his initial inclination to join was for the scholarship, “but after day one,” he continued, “it was so fun. I learned how to enjoy and appreciate playing music more than ever before.” Gurtowski, who is now in his third year playing with the group, believes band provides a great sense of community to students and new skills to be gained with every practice.
This year, Pep Band’s music highlight is music from Arthur Laurents’ musical, “West Side Story”. Brooke Stevenson, a freshman, describes the music as “really fun and upbeat”. Her favorite song from the set is “Maria”. Other songs apart from this season’s highlight include, “Handbags and Gladrags” by Rod Stewart and “Surf” by the Foo Fighters.
Craig Young also expressed his thoughts on the truth about the group versus what the campus sees in an interview. “I think it’s important to point out that this doesn’t just happen. These students put in a lot of time and effort to provide this.” Young continued to describe a three day band retreat the group attended in order to learn the year’s new music.“It was a total of four days and 18 hours of rehearsal before the first day of school,” Young stressed. “These are students who are willing and able and doing.”
This year, Pep Band has a total of 41 members. Half of them are freshman and two-thirds are non-music majors. For all the music lovers and musicians out there, there are also two other music-related bands at MC: the Jazz Band and Symphonic Winds, the concert band.