by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2019
by Grace Whitman ’22 A&E Staff
There is something electric about the environment of a college basketball or hockey game. Long before the opening tip-off or the first puck drop, the pep band begins to fill the building with energy and excitement in anticipation for the action to come.
The Providence College Pep Band is part of Friartown’s heart and soul, and they are excited to get back to cheering on the Friar athletes for the 2019-2020 academic year.
This year’s group is led by President Julia Balukonis ’20, Vice President Shay Toohey ’21, Secretary Maria Gentile ’22, and Treasurer Dylan Black ’20, along with two student conductors, Loretta Norton ’20 and Jenna Kornicki ’20.
Pep Band is a unique group that fills an important role on campus. When asked about the mission of the PC Pep Band, Balukonis enthusiastically responded, “In my eyes, Pep Band’s goal is to get the crowd excited at games and to support the teams while providing live music for the crowd to get pumped up. As a group, we are very focused on being an outlet for students to keep their musical interests alive and to create an environment where people can be their own creative and amazing selves. At the games, we want to entertain and be the leaders to keep the crowd engaged throughout the events. We bring spirit, energy, and heart to every game, and we hope to spread that excitement and love to the crowds!”
The PC Pep Band is an instrumental group that features full brass, saxophone, and rhythm sections. The Pep Band’s renditions of “Hey! Baby” and the “Land of 1000 Dances” are especially popular.
Along with playing at the majority of the home games, each year, the band travels with the men’s and women’s basketball teams over spring break to Madison Square Garden in New York City and Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. Additionally, in 2019, the Pep Band traveled to KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY for the Frozen Four.
When reflecting back to the 2019 Men’s Big East Tournament, Black said, “MSG was a highlight of my life. Living an hour north of NYC and being a lifelong Knicks fan, I have always wanted to go to the Garden. Playing in MSG for the Big East tournament was thus special because it was only the second time I had been there, and the band essentially got VIP entry and seating. The games were thrilling, and the band had an amazing time dressing up in capes, skirts, glitter, face paint, and whatever other crazy Friar-inspired outfits we could come up with. Being able to roam NYC in between games with the band was a memory I will never forget.” Additionally, Black mentioned that during the 2019 Frozen Four, the band “made it on TV multiple times as the game was hosted on ESPN, which was amazing because we got to represent PC on a national stage!”
For Gentile, her bandmates are much more than just that to her. She stated, “The people in pep band have quickly become my closest friends and they are some of the funniest, nicest, most accepting and welcoming people I have ever met, and I am so blessed to have met them all.” Pep Band provides the opportunity for students to continue their love of music. As Gentile explained, “Music and sports have always been some of the biggest things in my life, and Pep Band provides the opportunity to both play music and watch sports with people who love music and sports”.
If you want to catch Pep Band in action, make sure to come to the PC hockey and basketball games this year to support them, along with the varsity athletes. Students interested in the Providence College Pep Band can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.