Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

“Mighty Sound of the Mount” Contributes to Game-Day Experience

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Pep band at basketball game

Photos by Paige Roberts, C'21

Under Armour uniforms, access to top-notch equipment, traveling for games, a trip to the conference championships in Atlantic City, and camaraderie between members. You likely think this describes a sports team at the Mount, but all of these benefits are available to the “Mighty Sound of the Mount,” the university’s Pep Band.

pep-band-2.jpgThe Mount Pep Band, headed by Terrell Smith, is a music ensemble that plays primarily at men’s and women’s basketball games, plus other sporting events when requested. Members play a wide range of instruments, from flutes, clarinets and saxophones to euphoniums, bass guitar and electric drums. They mainly play during halftime at basketball games and focus on popular music over classical. Favorite artists include Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake, plus classic hits from the 1970s and 1980s, and funk and rock and roll.

The students who join Mount Pep Band are just as varied. Many played in bands in school; some were even recruited while in high school. But some had no prior experience playing in a band, or even playing an instrument. “The Pep Band is open to everyone, regardless of their level of experience or their major,” noted Smith.

Despite being a no-tryouts ensemble, and a relatively new one at that, the Mount Pep Band has met with exciting successes, both at home and abroad. Pep Band formed as a distinct group only three years ago. Prior to that, students from the Lab Band or Wind Ensemble would step in to play during basketball games.

Smith, an accomplished music teacher who’s helped instruct well-known ensembles such as the Cadets, the Santa Clara Vanguard, and the Reading Buccaneers, began directing the Mount Pep Band a year ago. He previously worked as a band instructor and coordinator at Stevenson University and the University of Maryland and has helped organize and refocus the group, with an emphasis on team building.

pep-band-fun.jpgThe results have been astounding. “We get a lot of interaction with the crowd,” shared Matthew Shannon, a first-year student and euphonium player. “They cheer us on, clap for us, come up to us after and tell us we did a great job. The teams appreciate our work as well.” The recognition isn’t limited to the Mount: Smith shared that last year, the band was hired by a few other universities in the Northeast Conference to play at their away games in the D.C. area.

Exciting as the successes are, when asked what was the best part of being in the Mount Pep Band, neither Smith nor Shannon missed a beat before responding that the sense of community and the chance to make friendships was the students’ favorite part. Saxophone player Cheyenne McGowan, C’24, agreed. “I have been able to meet many of my best friends and roommates through this organization. As a group, we have grown so much, and I am hoping this group continues to go places,” she exclaimed.

Smith has observed how beneficial this sense of community and group effort has been for the individual members of the band. Older and more experienced musicians naturally act as peer mentors to the newer members. The sense of responsibility each member feels for the group gives them real-world personal and professional development, and best of all, Smith watches students’ confidence blossom as they take ownership of their talents and encourage one another. The band truly “operates like a family,” he shared.

img_0653.jpgShannon confirmed this observation, noting that he is particularly grateful to Danny Lennon, C’25, and Jack Lawler, C’25, for becoming friends and guides when he joined the Mount Pep Band in the fall of 2022.

There are, however, a few other reasons to join the Mount Pep Band. Members are outfitted free of charge by Under Armour and travel to away games. In addition, the university provides (and pays for) high-quality instruments for students’ use. Students who are interested in learning an instrument can join the band and get weekly lessons and access to the instrument of their choice.

Students in the band report that they still have ample time for studies, friends, and other commitments. Besides playing at basketball games, the group practices once a week.

Elijah Disharoon, C’24, captain of the Mount Pep Band, noted that “Pep band has allowed me to pursue my passions for music without sacrificing my college life in any way. I have been able to accomplish all my academic and extracurricular goals while taking on a leadership role within the group; there is no need for compromise.” As a thank-you for their time and efforts, eligible Mount Pep Band members who demonstrate proficiency in their instrument get a scholarship each semester they participate.

Pep Band members form lasting friendships, develop their talents and interests, and put their skills to the service of their community. They become leaders, ready to engage with the world around them after graduation.

To learn more about the Mount Pep Band, visit their webpage and check out their Instagram page.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19