Jack Downey ’23
The past weekend was an absolutely wild time at Providence College. From the festivities held for the class of 2020 to the arrival of many parents for the weekend, the last few days were vibrant and exciting. One major event that had many people in good spirits was the first men’s hockey game of the season. Facing off against Army in Schneider Arena, the line to get in stretched as far as the eye could see. Light up cups were handed out for a lightshow between periods. And, of course, the pep band returned.
This was particularly exciting because of the lack of action the pep band experienced last year. Thanks to the pandemic, there were few publicly attended sports games, meaning that the pep band did not get many chances to shine, only playing once or twice during the spring semester. However, with Schneider being open to spectators once again, the pep band took their spots in the stands as people began filing in.
Helmed by long-standing leader Jeff Hoyer and newly-minted student conductor Joe Genest ’22, the band played a few tunes as people took their seats, and a sense of anticipation grew. After a while, the pregame practice concluded. The pep band proceeded to blast a lively take of the classic “When The Saints Go Marching In.” No other tune could have felt like such a fitting beginning to the hockey season. The atmosphere in the arena was full of joy.
Soon the game started and within a minute the Friars scored, taking an early lead. In response, the pep band played some upbeat anthems, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” Genest dutifully conducted the band, occasionally also playing guitar. Hoyer also played along with the band, alternating between trombone and keys. Throughout the rest of the game, the band continued to provide an excellent backing track to the proceedings as the men’s hockey team won, destroying Army 7-0.
While this game was certainly a memorable one for PC’s men’s ice hockey team, it perhaps had even more significance for many of the musicians in the pep band. Current sophomores were able to truly experience the electric atmosphere that permeates Schneider Arena, something that they had missed last year. Learning so many songs only to not showcase them to anyone was undoubtedly a frustrating experience, so it must have been exhilarating to finally get the chance to play them at last weekend’s game. This game also reminded people why the pep band is such an important part of PC’s campus. Without them, so much of the excitement that comes with attending PC athletic contests would be lost.
There are many more games to come this season, and it will be great to hear the sounds of the pep band at them. Perhaps even more exciting is the prospect of returning to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for basketball games, especially for the younger members of the pep band who have not experienced this yet.