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Pep Society inspires campus through music

November 15, 2007

It’s not enough for these students to sit in a classroom and learn concert music; they need the thrill of the crowd, the rush of the game, the energy-pumped music of a pep band.

“If you were at a game and you saw us, whether it’s cold, raining, snowing, we have fun, we put smiles on our faces and show the crowd that [UW-River Falls] isn’t just about learning,” Pep Society President Amanda Gunn said.

The Pep Society is a student led organization which grew out of the Concert/Pep Band led by Craig Hara into its own entity, and allows for anyone to play music with them without having to be enrolled in the class.

“I helped found the Pep Society last year with a few other members of the Pep Band/Concert Band class as well as our director and advisor, Dr. Barnett,” Vice President Cheyenne Mallo said. “I got involved because I thought we would be providing a good opportunity for students who couldn’t take the class to still be able to play pep band for the University.”

The student-led organization boasts majors from all over campus. Agriculture Engineering major and Pep Society treasurer, Jacob Kappelman is a testament to that fact. He said he joined Pep Society so he could play the music without having to take the class.

Gunn said people join the Pep Society for all kinds of reasons – to keep up on the music they played in high school, to maintain their interest in the art even if they’re unable to attend the class or simply for the love of pep band music.

“It also is a lot of fun to sit down and play music,” Kappelman said. “It’s a good break from all the science and engineering classes. It is a chance to be a little creative and have some fun.”

To play with Pep Society, students don’t need to take lessons, classes or declare a major or a minor – they need only to play in instrument, read music and show up with a smile.

“Some people can’t be in the class; some just want to do pep band tunes and not concert music and some want to participate in Homecoming, Winter Carnival and try to travel to away games,” Gunn said.

The society works symbiotically with the class when they play together and follow the programs laid out by the Concert/pep band director.

They will typically perform with the class, but will play in the class’s stead for home games that the class is unable to attend.

Gunn said they are working on being able to attend away games as well.

“We’re letting our energy out through music,” Gunn said. “Both the class and the society are dedicated to show up, keep up the school spirit and create a positive experience for the crowd.”

Gunn’s favorite Pep Society experience is based on her interactions with crowd, she said.

“Homecoming is the biggest game for me,” Gunn said. “The number of students, the number of parents and alumni, blasting out the tunes – it’s really intense and really fun, especially when the crowd gets into it.”

Kappelman said his favorite part of the organization was playing the music, “and the people, of course.”

“We take it seriously and we try to have fun at the same time,” Gunn said. “We want to show that River Falls is a really fun community.”

Mallo said she enjoys Pep Society because it’s different than your average music class.

“I love just being able to go to the sporting events and play Pep band,” Mallo said. “I would rather be playing my instrument outside for a football game with the crowd and fans cheering than stuck in a concert hall somewhere