Pep band debuts during homecoming weekend

Mercyhurst University has not had a pep band since 2009, but now the band has returned.

John Marszalek, Marching Band Director at General McLane High School, changed this. He was hired to put together a pep band at Mercyhurst University to raise school spirit.

Currently the band itself is comprised of 25 students, though the band is in a continual state of recruitment. Various disciplines make up this number such as music majors, non-music majors, freshmen and seniors.

The band is currently in rehearsal, putting songs together and recruiting members. They are set to debut at homecoming on Saturday, Sept. 22, where they will play from the home stands on the football field.

Mercyhurst Director of Athletics Joe Kimball doesn’t think the band is ready yet to play at half time because they do not have enough members or enough practice. Nevertheless, the pep band will play the national anthem at homecoming and will also play songs throughout the opening game.

Following homecoming, as long as weather permits, the pep band will play the rest of the football season and at some baseball games.

“There’s a good cross-section of students in the pep band,” said Marszalek. “It’s very promising and I’m very excited about the band’s future.”

What happened to the school’s previous pep band, though? Mercyhurst University had a pep band up until the band’s director could no longer officiate as director in 2009. However, now that increased student interest has brought the band back, they hope to expand.

“We hope to double the pep band to 50 members by this time next year,” Kimball said.

The band’s ultimate ambition is to form a full marching band. Such an event would increase the size of the pep band to between 75 and 110 members.

It is expected to take four to five years to see a full marching band come to Mercyhurst.

“The pep band is great for the school,” said Kimball, “the school could really use a boost in school spirit.”

Junior Nicole Popielarz agrees.

“Having a pep band is a good idea because it will help raise school spirit at Mercyhurst,” Popielarz said.

Freshman Alicia Eisenhardt also thinks the pep band is a good addition to the school.

“Having a pep band is a good thing because it gives students a more diverse range of activities in which to get involved,” she said.

In the future, band members plan to create a Facebook page for the pep band with contact information and other details.

For more information about joining the pep band, call Kimball at (814)-824-2559.