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Matthew Grassi

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Sports

New student pep band ready for inaugural season

Band members will receive one credit hour, plus $20 for each game

By Matthew Grassi

In a joint venture between the Department of Music and the Athletic Department, Cleveland State, similar to virtually every other Division I basketball program in existence, will field its first ever all-student pep band this season at men’s and women’s home basketball games. The band previously was composed entirely of voluntary alumni and faculty members.

Participation in the band will be offered as a non-required one credit hour course in the Department of Music. Participants will also be paid a stipend of $20 per game.

The band will consist of approximately 40 members, with 25-30 active members performing at each event, leaving a remaining ten members as substitutes in case of member absences or other extenuating circumstances.

Benjamin D. Ammon has been hired as the band’s faculty director. Ammon received his undergraduate degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music and his graduate degree from Youngstown State University, along with a post-graduate degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Ammon previously taught at Horizon League rival Youngstown State.

The band will play mostly traditional sports tunes, along with the Alma Mater, the Fight Song, and “Cleveland Rocks,” the theme song from the “Drew Carey Show,” a staple of Cleveland sporting events. Ammon will also begin composing some of his own scores of Top-40 hits and classic rock tunes for the band as soon as rehearsals get underway.

Ammon has been pleasantly surprised by the Athletic Department”s unwavering support of the group.

“The atmosphere here is so positive and really supportive, and that’s something that I am really happy about. It makes this job enjoyable,” Ammon said.

As for the pep band’s overall contribution to the atmosphere at the Wolstein Center, Ammon envisions an intense atmosphere enhanced by the music of the band.

“I think having a pep band definitely enhances the atmosphere of a game,” Ammon explained. “One of the traditional values of music is that it enhances life. If there is a positive momentum, ideally the potential of the pep band is to propel that momentum even further.”

Another benefit of pep band membership is the possibility of paid travel. Last year, the men’s basketball team played their NCAA Tournament opening round game against Wake Forest in Miami, Florida and have also traveled to California. This year’s team is set to travel to Cancun, Mexico to play in the Cancun Challenge as well, so travel is definitely a recruiting tool for the pep band.

The band began rehearsals Oct. 5. Practices are being held every Monday and Wednesday from 6 -7:30 p.m. until the season begins, as where rehearsals will be scheduled intermittently.

For more information on the pep band, or to schedule an audition, contact Benjamin Ammon at b.ammon@csuohio.edu, or call (216) 687-2031.

 

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