They attend almost every game, are consistently the most spirited fans in the arena and always know how to liven up a crowd. They are the members of the Dartmouth College Marching Band.
The pep band is a division of the marching band that is comprised of the marching band members. “Pep band” is merely the name the band calls itself when it primarily remains in the stand with fans for games. A marching band, in contrast, performs in formations on the field at halftime. The switch in names occurs between the end of football season and the beginning of hockey and basketball seasons.
Ask any of the 40 or so students in the band what they love most and they will say it’s all about the people. Amidst exams, essays and labs, pep band gives its members a chance to relax and enjoy time with friends.
“They’re like a family to me,” Kimberly Hassel ’16, who plays saxophone and acts as the social and publicity chair for the band, said. “They’re always willing to take people in, and when they do they treat them just like family.”
As one can imagine, this can make practices — held Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. in Hartman Hall — slightly unruly.
“We all show up 20 minutes late, run around, talk, get out our instruments, set up chairs and eventually someone yells at us that we should start playing,” Blaine Ponto ’14, who plays trombone and is the band’s Class of 2014 representative, said. “Then we sit down, warm up, play some songs, play them faster and slower, talk a lot and then go to dinner afterwards.”
However, the members of the band know how to do more than just have a good time while playing instruments. They also have their own intramural hockey team.
“I would say getting to play hockey is my favorite part,” Kathryn Waychoff ’16, who plays trumpet and is the band’s Class of 2016 representative, said. “We haven’t practiced or anything and we have our first game on Sunday, but I’m sure we’ll pull something together.”
The IM hockey team is just one of many traditions the marching band has acquired over the years. Others include the band’s basketball chants, playing “Louie Louie” at hockey games and having homemade whoopie pies at each game. With such fun (and delicious) traditions, the memorymaking comes easy to this group of talented students.
“We were on the bus ride back from our trip to New York visiting Columbia [University], and at one point the whole band started singing,” Waychoff said of her favorite memory from Fall term. “It was still early in the term so I hadn’t met very many people, and to have all these people singing together made me feel very welcome at Dartmouth.”
The band is always open to newcomers — especially people with superior hockey skills — looking for a fun-loving group of people on campus, regardless of whether you have innate musical prowess or haven’t picked up an instrument since a recorder in elementary school.
“I really encourage Dartmouth students — ’16s, upperclassmen and prospies — to consider joining the marching band,” Hassel said. “You don’t really have to worry about your experience with music, we’ll find a place for you. If anyone’s still looking for a niche or a family at Dartmouth, the DCMB is the way to go.”
The band members had their first Winter term appearance this past weekend at the women’s hockey games. They will continue to make appearances at men’s and women’s hockey and basketball games throughout the term. For more details on when and where they will be playing, check the band’s schedule on its website.