Pep in a Tiger’s step

Tyler Roberts and Bobby Grady, Journalists

Thanks to the success of the local football team, the stands have been starting to really fill up.  People from all over town come to see the Tigers take on some of the best teams in the state. After paying the five dollar admission, spectators are able to enjoy everything from high-level football to the well-run snack bar.  But one thing that is unique to Ipswich is our pep band. The band is there to play energetic pop songs that keep the crowd entertained during half time and in between the quarters.  

One of the most important members of the pep band is our beloved drummer Scott Miller.  During the games, you can find Scott either keeping the band in time on the drum set or providing some additional sound on the snare drum.  But being the leader of his section comes with a few extra responsibilities. For example, Scott remarked that he is in charge of setting “up the drumkit and the snare drums.”  This may not sound like all that much work but with three individual snare drums and the eight-piece drum set, this procedure takes more time than setting up any other instrument.  Secondly, Scott mentioned that the process of setting everything up forces him to arrive close to 45 minutes before the band plays a note. This setup time also includes the fact that he has to haul the equipment from the band room to the stands.  Furthermore, during the game, Scott is called upon to play something very suddenly. This means he must be alert at all times. When asked how often this occurs he stated: “I need to play suddenly a lot when the team scores a touchdown or when Mr. Lee sees fit.”  Moreover, the weather at football games can get pretty cold.

Scott said, “My hands get numb if it’s cold enough. Condensation and rain can warp the drumheads and make them sound worse if not dried off.” Clearly the cold can cause some pretty serious problems for Scott and his drums.  Lastly, the band plays about 16 different pieces of music. These range from the classic tunes like “Shut Up And Dance With Me” and “Love on Top” to the small cheers they play during timeouts and other stoppages of play.  Scott said that it takes roughly “three to four hours” each week in order to prepare for the games.  

Another very important member of the pep band is the one and only Mr. Lee.  Mr. Lee is the band director, so he oversees everything that goes on. Before each game, he is there to help Scott and the other percussionists set up.  He is the first to arrive “a little over an hour before the game starts.” Furthermore, he helps to set up the drum-set and the “electronics.” These include amps, keyboards, and necessary cables.  He is busy before the game even begins.   Moreover, during the game, Mr. Lee has three main goals for the band. These are to sound good, have fun, and be “ a huge cheer section for the team.” One of Mr.Lee’s responsibilities as a director is to choose what songs we play.  When asked about the song choosing process, he stated he will pick “the song of the summer.” Of course, the band has its classics like Mr. Lee’s personal favorite: “Love on Top”; however, he tries to add a new one each year.  After each game, Mr.Lee is right there with Scott trying to clean everything up.  This process usually takes him about 45 minutes and includes getting all the percussion equipment back into the band room and putting away all of the cables.

Clearly putting on the pep band is more work than it seems.  The band takes about 2 weeks to prepare 16 different pieces of music and some songs are done solely from memory.  Furthermore, the setup and clean up done by the band’s leaders also prove just how much work and preparation the pep band does.