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Evolution of Catawba College's Pep Band Continues

September 21, 2009

Category: Events, Music, Students

When Dr. Stephen Etters joined the Catawba College Music Department back in 2000, his initial efforts to create a pep band on campus were short-lived. However, thanks to growth in the Music Department and some enthusiastic students, Catawba's Pep Band is back!

Now 36 members strong, the pep band which includes 14 drummers and 22 instrumentalists and wind players, gave an inaugural performance in Shuford Stadium during the Catawba vs. Livingstone football game played there on September 12th. 

"In 2000, we started a basketball pep band, but it didn't last long due to lack of student interest and lack of instrumentalists," Etters explained. "But over the past several years, as we have enjoyed growth in the Music Department and a growing interest on behalf of the students to perform at games, we have been able to resurrect the pep band. 

"The Administration saw the students' interest growing several years ago under the [former President Robert] Knott administration and there was some interest among fans in the creation of some type of band to perform at athleticEvents. We implemented the drum line in 2007 and interest from students grew in adding wind instruments to complement the drum line."

During basketball season of 2009, the pep band began to take shape, playing at home games. "It was not officially a pep band at this point," Etters said, "just some enthusiastic instrumentalists supporting their drum line peers.

"The next step seemed to be logical in adding the wind instruments to the drum line for football games this fall, and in addition to performing in the stands, these students are actually performing on the field now. Their goal is to ultimately end up with a marching band."


One of the students involved now in Catawba's Pep Band is Tyler Howe, a junior music education major from Spencer who attended North Rowan High School, and who serves as drum major and the student assistant to Etters. Tyler is son of North Rowan High School Band director Keith Howe and brother to Andrew Howe, a 2005 Catawba alumnus who now serves as band director at North Rowan Middle School.

"Most of our students in the Music Program come from high schools with strong music programs, including marching bands, and that's a void they're hoping to fill here at Catawba."  Etters said. "A marching band would be a natural progression from a drum line and a pep band."

One of the activities which helps fuel this student excitement, Etters noted, is the Lord Salisbury Marching Band Classic, the annual marching band competition that is hosted at Catawba. This event will mark its fourth year on October 10th when the competition begins at 2:30 p.m. in Shuford Stadium. Thus far, 12 bands are registered to perform. These bands will compete for classification awards (marching, general effect, musicality, flag or color guard, drum major and percussion), and then will be narrowed down to the top 50 percent that will compete again for ranking and for the Lord Salisbury Cup Award (grand championship).

The Catawba Pep Band will perform an exhibition before final competition at the Lord Salisbury Marching Band Classic, and all of the pep band students, Etters said, "are basically working different positions during the competition along with various Catawba College student organizations that are also involved with event.

Tickets for the Lord Salisbury Marching Band Classic are $5 for adult, $3 children 8-12, and free for children under age 8. Concessions will be available and the competition will go on, rain or shine, Etters continued, with only lightning canceling it.

"We're billing this as a contest where the top bands get to perform again under the lights at Shuford Stadium," Etters said, "and we're hoping that family and friends of the various band members will come out to see it!"




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