The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Pep Band: Showing spirit

St. John’s sporting events are host to a large group of devoted athletes, coaches, and of course, fans. Whether it is the roaring crowd at a soccer game or the united chanting group at basketball games, the fans are an essential part of what makes St. John’s sports an integral part of the University’s experience.

Among those enthusiastic spectators are an especially devoted group of people. The St. John’s University Pep Band under the direction of Kevin Vail,it is comprised of some of the most talented musicians at St. John’s. They attend over 50 sporting events every year, including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, baseball, an d lacrosse.

At each event, they arrive with a tireless spirit and an impressive array of songs. The song selection, ranging from oldies like “Louie Louie” and “Vehicle” to recent hits such as the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get Started,” keeps fans excited throughout the game.

“The pep band creates a great atmosphere. It helps rev up the fans, and I’m sure the athletes appreciate it,” said avid college basketball fan Justyna Kret, “It really adds to the life of the game.”

Being in the Pep Band is hard work;.With the countless rehearsals and events, each member puts in upwards of 20 hours a week, making it a major commitment added to already busy schedules. Most Pep Band members are involved in several different campus organizations, and various professional activities as well. Each member takes it in stride, however, with a positive attitude an excellent work ethic.

The Pep Band does more than just play at sporting events. This year, they have also participated in several dedications on campus and various admissions activities.

The Pep Band also got the chance to perform on a popular ESPN show, giving them another opportunity to be heard nationwide. They have also given back to the community. In the fall, they played at the start of the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk.

All of the time spent together makes for more than just exciting music, it makes for a strong bond among its members. Tom LaSalvia, a sophomore and first year Pep Band member, attests to that.

“Pep Band is more than a club,” LaSalvia said, “It’s a family. It’s a place where people can connect through music and support our school at the same time.”

Unfortunately, this year, tragedy tested that bond. The St. John’s Pep Band suffered a great loss. On October 31st, 2005, former Pep Band director John Holohan was killed in a tragic car accident while on tour with his band, Bayside. Shocked and devastated, new Pep Band members joined veterans in a desperate attempt to comfort each other.

“John’s love and commitment to this organization was indescribable,” said Kevin Vail, longtime friend and current Pep Band director. “His legacy will always continue to speak through our music.”

And so it does. Adorned in black wristbands commemorating their former director, the St. John’s Pep Band continues to play their hardest at every single event they attend.

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