Power of Pep

Santa Clara Pep Band brings the beat to game day.

SCU Pep Band performs their instrumental arrangement of Santa Clara University’s “Fight Song” at President Julie Sullivan’s Inauguration celebration.

Imagine a basketball game without any music. Halftime is silent except for the mumbles of bored fans. The only sounds during gameplay are the thud, thud, thud of a dribbling ball, the screech of sliding shoes, and the shouts of coaches. Not ideal, right?

Enter: the pep band.

Re-established in 2005, the Santa Clara Pep Band is a volunteer student music group under the umbrella of SCU Athletics that features traditional instruments including flute, clarinet, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, baritone, tuba, and drum line with cowbells and cymbals.

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Santa Clara Pep Band preparing their setlist for their performance at a basketball game in the Leavey Center.

Pep Band is open to all students with instrumental experience and primarily recruits during the summer. Musicians practice for two to three hours a week to perfect their pop music covers. This year, the pep band has collaborated in routines with the dance team and spirit squad.

The band performs high-intensity instrumental music at all men’s and women’s basketball games, select soccer and volleyball games, as well as other SCU occasions like Preview Day and Alumni Grand Reunion. “We’re extremely well-rounded and know how to hype up a crowd. We can play anything from SCU’s fight song to Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic,’” says pep band captain Johnny Hsieh ‘23. “Our director Tony [Rivera] even arranged a new instrumental version of the SCU fight song himself.”

After two years of virtual performances, the band is back in person and excited to debut some new performances to liven up University events. “I am extremely proud of how far the band has come,” says Rivera. “Pep band went from four members after the pandemic to our present group of 32 talented musicians. We are excited to keep uniting the SCU community through live music this new academic year.”

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Santa Clara Pep Band gathers for practice to perfect their instrumental covers for game day. Photos and video provided by Kaya Chun.
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