Pep band membership is on the rise


Well known for their performances of “Go Cats Go” and “Vermont Victorious,” the UVM Fighting Catamounts Pep Band is recognized by many for its fun and inclusive spirit.

“All comers are welcome. If you can come, and you can read music, you can join the band,” band director Jack Curtis said.

Curtis and his co-director Neil Wacek, have been leading the pep band for six years and said they have watched it grow significantly.

“Our first year in the America East tournament down in Hartford, we took 11 people. Now, we do the max. We take 31 every year,” Curtis said.

The pep band currently has about 80 members, but between 30 and 35 show up at any given game. They support both men’s and women’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball.

The band’s high enrollment allows it to perform at many games, Curtis said. A lot of this growth, Curtis said can be attributed to the high spirits of the pep band.

“We’re here to make noise and have a good time,” he said.

Senior percussionist Clare Devlin shares her coach’s inclusive attitude.

“A lot of people in the band have a lot of musical experience, but you don’t have to to be part of the pep band,” she said.

“You just have to show up, and we’ll teach you how to do it.”

Devlin, who has been a member of the band for all four years of her UVM career, appreciated the openness of the band’s schedule.

With practice just once a week, “it’s not as intense as one of the music department ensembles, but [the] commitment is about the same,” Devlin said.

Members also acknowledged the academically diverse composition of the pep band. A theater major, Devlin confirmed the wide range of academic majors within the band.

It is not uncommon for the band to travel with the team for post-season games, Devlin said.

During Devlin’s first year, the band traveled down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the first round of the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament.

“[UNC] has a huge stadium. There were so many people wearing blue, but there was a little Vermont section. Vermont fans travel really well,” she said.

The positive spirit of the band seems to echo outside of the walls of Patrick Gymnasium and Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Various members of the UVM community enjoy the pep band and its role at UVM.

“We really like to add an exciting environment to basketball  games and pump up the crowd for the team,”  Devlin said.

Jerry Ulichny, a first-year music education major and lifelong musician, said the pep band is “without a doubt” a great ensemble.

“What’s cool about the pep band is that they have to memorize a lot of their music beforehand and then play it on demand,” Ulichny said.

The first-year would consider joining the band “if a guitar spot ever opens up.”

The pep band practices once a week on Wednesdays from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at the Gutterson Fieldhouse.