Lauren Davis, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
Adding a pep band to the atmosphere of Berry College’s football game days has piqued the interest of students, and has been a topic of conversation in our Music Program. While Berry already has a well established drumline that brings scholarships and competition to the recruitment of our school, students are wanting a collegiate football experience, but what exactly does this experience look like for such a small, private school like Berry?
Freshman Ryan Pilgrim is a chemistry major but has had a passion for playing an instrument since highschool. Pilgrim played the saxophone in his high school marching band all four years and is now a part of Berry’s Wind Ensemble.
“Marching band is what helped me form my social group in highschool and I hope a pep band could do the same for people in college,” Pilgrim said. “The pep band would compliment the football team and add to the experience”
According to Pilgrim, after attending a berry football game and listening to the Berry drumline the atmosphere did not feel right without some of the other instruments. Pilgrim believes that a pep band would aid the atmosphere in between plays.
There are a lot of factors that go into establishing a pep band; funds, equipment, and practice space are just a few of the things students and staff take into consideration.
According to Pilgrim the possible pep band could include mostly brass and woodwind instruments and would be a club based program that stands alone from the music department. Pilgrim is aware of the huge monetary costs of uniforms and instruments, but believes the band can start with what equipment they already have and build up funds from there. Pilgrims biggest passion in wanting a pep band is to entertain, have fun, and make anyone feel welcome to join.
“I just want to make beautiful music with a lot of people who are passionate about the subject, as well and ultimately entertain while we are at it,” Pilgrim said.
Sophomore Addie Maxwell is a Nursing major who has a passion for playing the flute. She is also a part of the Berry Wind Ensemble. Maxwell played in her highschool marching band for four years while also performing in the stands during football games.
“When I was in marching band I felt like I had a place to belong during football games,” Maxwell said, “A pep band will allow us to enjoy the game, but also to encourage and support the football team.”
While some students have shown interest in a pep band, some berry faculty have expressed concern with the idea. Professor Adam Hayes is the director of the department of visual and performing arts at Berry. Hayes has no doubt that a pep band would be entertaining and understands that live music is a part of the collegiate football experience.
“Any hesitancy on us doing something like that doesnt have anything to do with the idea that the fans would love it,” Hayes said “We are well aware of the interest or lack of interest and we constantly take the temperature on that, but I would say that we annually evaluate the feasibility of what we’re doing.”
11 years ago when Berry College introduced the football team the vice president of student affairs asked Hayes to write a marching band feasibility study which is a detailed report to show what it would cost to have a marching band. Based on the feasibility study the estimated total start-up cost for a marching band would have been half a million dollars, with a yearly budget of 200K. According to Hayes, when the feasibility study for the marching band wasn’t there yet, they also looked into a pep band unit and found negative results quickly. The drumline is a recruitment tool where students can receive scholarships to play. There is some concern that a pep band will not have enough time to fit a pep band into their schedule.
“Pep bands don’t recruit students, they just beat up the students that we already have,” Hayes said.