Lipscomb’s pep band looks to bring musical harmony to basketball games

Lipscomb’s pep band looks to bring musical ...

Lipscomb’s pep band looks to bring musical harmony to basketball games

This week’s basketball exhibition games filled Allen Arena with the sounds of cheering fans, slick sneakers on the hardwood and plenty of booming buzzers. 

Through all the noise and confusion that accompanies live sports, the pep band is usually the one providing the structured soundtrack to the evening.

“Emphasis on musicality,” said Elliot Bowman, Lipscomb’s pep band director for the year. “Instead of being a really loud band, we want to be able to hear all the parts, all the instruments. Each instrument does have an important role in each song we play and we want that to be showcased.”

The conglomeration of trumpets, drums, flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trombones, a piccolo and a bass guitar bring together the best of wind and jazz instruments.

“We don’t have any tuba players this semester but I’d love to have anybody that wants to play one,” Bowman said.

Coming off the Bisons and Lady Bisons exhibition games, the pep band is ready to begin a new season. Bowman said the band isn’t just a way to showcase students’ musical talent, but a way to be more involved in the games and support Lipscomb athletics.

“In the past, while [band members have] shown moderate interest, they’ve not been shouting with the cheerleaders and trying to help out like a normal student would,” Bowman said. “We’ll put a little bit of emphasis on that.”

Jennifer Green, Bowman’s co-assistant, is looking forward to making the pep band a vital part of the game’s atmosphere.

“We used to be a really small group that didn’t have much school spirit,” Green said. “Now, we have grown exponentially and feel like a part of the excitement at games.

“At our first game on Monday, the cheerleaders continuously thanked us, saying how the music really helped them out. It is nice to know that the pep band can have such an effect on the cheerleaders, crowd and basketball players.”

The pep band that students see at home games is only half of the full band. Bowman said there are 51 students who participate in pep band at some time or another, but only about 35 of those come to practice and only 25 play at games. The end of the semester is a difficult time for music students to commit to another activity, but the interest is still there.

The band meets to practice an hour before each game, rehearsing through older music and sometimes learning something new.

A music education major and Yellow Ribbon student, Bowman credits his love of  directing to his high school band director.

“I had a great band director in high school,” Bowman said. “Because of him, that’s what I want to do. He was a great influence and really great educator. That’s why I stuck with it all this time.”

Bowman has played the trumpet since he was in sixth grade. Although he doesn’t foresee himself playing in very many games, if any, he is grateful for the opportunity to share his passion with other students.

“I think the relationships I get to build with all the members of the pep band is really worth it,” Bowman said. “It’s a really fun group.”

Green, who has been a pep band member for the past three years, is excited to begin the new season under Bowman’s leadership.

“Elliot has been great about getting things going this year,” said Green, a junior from Winchester, Ind. “He is organized, prompt and so encouraging, which makes the pep band play better and draws us closer together as well.”

Abby Poff, a sophomore flutist from Franklin, Tenn., said the band has provided her with the opportunity to bond with other students while cheering on Bisons sports teams.

“Although I enjoy participating in Lipscomb’s wind ensemble, pep band offers something more – the social, community-oriented experience of actively supporting our athletics,” Poff said. “We’re committed to making good music, to cheering our basketball teams to victory and to having a good time in the process.”

A molecular biology major, Poff has been an active member in the pep band for two years now and appreciates its welcoming atmosphere.

“Pep band has allowed me to forge friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise found. Members come from all majors, all backgrounds and are not all involved in the university’s music program.”

In the past, the pep band has only accepted wind ensemble or jazz band members, but that all changed this year.

“If anybody can play an instrument and play it to a fairly proficient level,” Bowman said.” We’ll take anybody that wants to join.”

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