IAN LINDHARTSEN; Guest Writer; lindhaio@plu.edu

Editor’s Note: Ian Lindhartsen is a member of the PLU Pep Band.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, cheers filled the air as the Pacific Lutheran University football team won its last game of the season. Many fans attributed a large portion of the excitement maintained throughout the game to the PLU Pep Band.

Sophomore Kayla Murray said she can tell the Pep Band is into the game, and the band does a good job getting the crowd involved in cheers.

“The crowd can feel like they can be loud because of the band. They’re all really involved in the game,” first-year Alex Alcantar said.

Paul Toloumu, a fan and family member of a player, said that—aside from creating energy—the band even provided help by distracting the opposing team. Several of the band members, Toloumu said, were like “clowns, the entertaining kind.”

Lecturer of Kinesiology Susan Westering said the energy the Pep Band exuded this football season was at a new level. She has attended PLU football games for over 30 years and said she has not seen the amount of enthusiasm this Pep Band brings in past years.

“Over the years we’ve had pep bands, and have loved them all… but this year, it’s just gone up a notch because there’s just so [many] more participants,” Westering said. “It’s electricity, you sort of start things, the kick off and the drums. This is a really big stadium, so when we’re far away, the Pep Band just helps bridge that gap.”

Junior and Pep Band trumpet player Donovan Klega agreed. “Last year when the Pep Band wasn’t very big, it was definitely like a different environment,” Klega said.

Klega also said that this year’s Pep Band has been much better organized thanks to the new leader Mark Burch.

Burch stated that he aimed early on to build a strong sense of community, getting music majors involved with the group and promoting it starting early in the summer, especially through social media. His other strategies for a successful season included bringing a high level of energy and spirit for other members to work off of, emphasizing leadership within the group and working closely with the sports department throughout the season.

Burch said he’s even planning on extending the pep band involvement later into the year, by having the band perform during at least one basketball game in January. So, there’s plenty of opportunity  to sing along with fan favorite, “Sweet Caroline,” when J-term comes around. ◼︎

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