Fan Spotlight: Pep Band
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Hailing from the college that claims to possess the “best damn pep band in all the land,” it’s not surprising that the music department’s latest faculty addition is able to use his skills to assist the growing JC Pep Band.
Marc Bolden, a graduate of the University of Dayton, is leading the Pep Band. Participating in the pep band during college helped Bolden reach a new level of understanding with music, showing him just how much music can add to athletics.
“Pep band really helped me to appreciate basketball more,” Bolden said. He had always been a football fan through the marching bands that he had been a member of, but before college and Pep Band, Bolden was not the basketball fan he is today.
Traditionally, a Pep Band is reserved for men’s basketball teams throughout the college world, but as always, JC is bending the rules.
“I think that the Pep Band has been an outstanding addition to athletics. It brings the whole college atmosphere to our games,” says varsity men’s basketball coach Tony Martin.
This year the Pep Band was a part of both the Wrestlepalooza and Battle of Bel Air wrestling matches. Wrestling coach Jake Hollin had specifically requested that the Pep Band play for the matches because he was looking to take the events to the next level. Hollin believes that the music the Pep Band provides goes beyond sheer entertainment. According to him, the success of the wrestling team and the turn outs they have been able to sustain are thanks to the Pep Band.
“It really helps in the whole mental aspect of the match. If another team comes in and they see that we’ve got the stands full, the team pumped up, and a Pep Band there to keep the energy high, it’s going to psych another team out,” said Hollin. The wrestling team seems to appreciate the support too, according to their coach.
The Pep Band has come a long way from their beginning. Most students joined for their love of music and their interest in basketball, such as sophomore guitarist Christie MacDonald. Bolden believes that the Pep Band should really be in the control of the students participating in it. He gave them freedom to help choose their uniform, their music, and how they would support.
While still in search of a true JC Fight Song, the Pep Band has had a rigorous musical process. After a month of research by Bolden for fast, high-energy songs, the band auditioned ten songs, choosing their favorites and narrowing it down to five. The band members practiced their parts, with the exception of the percussionists. There was no set percussion music at the beginning of the Pep Band’s existence, so the percussion section had to completely improvise and memorize their creative and original beats.
“There is a lot more freedom in what you can play. You’re encouraged to play loud and there are even soloing opportunities,” said junior percussionist Patrick St. Clair.
With the success that has seemed to encompass the Pep Band, its future is looking bright. Both Bolden and St. Clair agree that it would be great to expand the Pep Band and bring more people in. Bolden hopes that an expansion would not mean the loss of the current band’s proficiency and skill.
“I see it as a way to help break this barrier that seems to separate the music and athletic department” said St. Clair.
Coaches were ecstatic that the Pep Band wanted to participate in their games, and future seasons seem like they will be just as fruitful.
“I like that it uses students to energize other students,” Hollin said.
Allison Siegel can be reached for comment at [email protected].