New Pep Band Ready to Drum Up Enthusiasm
15-Member Squad to Back Comets in Campus Athletic Competitions
Sept. 16, 2009
Winston Stone first envisioned a pep band for the University of Texas at Dallas when he was an adjunct professor few years ago. Piquing his interest was the idea of having a pep band at pre-tournament pep rallies that would inspire the UT Dallas Chess Team to victory.
Scheduling conflicts didn’t allow Stone’s idea to come to fruition for a few years. By this past spring, however, everything began falling into place. Students showed an interest, and the topic of having a pep band was broached several times from various quarters. He won approval for a budget from the School of Arts and Humanities as well as full support from the Provost Office and the Student Activities Center.
From there, he had some T-shirts made, bought some quad drums and music and began promoting the idea to music students, then the inaugural edition of the UT Dallas pep band was off and running. Well, not literally.
“We’re not a marching band,” said Stone. “Moving around is a whole different dimension. We’ll mostly be set in the stands. We want to make sure the music doesn’t suffer. No matter what we play, it’ll be quality music that’s played well.”
As if to prove his point, Stone explained that he is working on an adaptation of “Paranoid Android,” a song from English alt-rock band Radiohead’s 1997 release OK Computer. He hopes that song and other unusual pieces containing odd meters will become staples of the band’s repertoire.
In addition to supporting the chess team, Stone is excited about infusing a little musical spirit into the Comets’ intercollegiate athletic events. “Once you get a few drums playing,” he said, “people join into the milieu of the game, and we certainly have some exciting games. These are not scholarship athletes, so they play for fun and the love of the game. They work hard. Because of that, they need all the support they can get. A pep band seemed like a logical way to go.”
Stone anticipates that the 15 charter band members, 11 of whom are freshmen, will help determine the band’s musical direction. Of course, their signature song will be the “Hold That Tiger (Tiger Rag),” the tune of the official UT Dallas fight song. “Other campus musicians who are not officially enrolled will join us for key events,” Stone said. “We want the UT Dallas Pep Band to be inclusive.” Because of that as well as the tuba, trumpet, clarinet and trombone players currently in residence, Dixieland music is likely to play a prominent role.
Since a minor in music can be earned at UT Dallas with a minimum of 18 credit hours, participation in the Pep Band can benefit any student who wants to pursue that academic route. A one-credit class will meet on Wednesday afternoons during the initial semester. The entire UT Dallas community, including staff and faculty members with musical talent is also invited to participate in the pep band.
For those who are interested in watching the debut performance of the UT Dallas Pep Band, a few band members will play for the UT Dallas Volleyball Team at the Student Union on Sept. 22. The band's Twitter page will be frequently updated with more scheduling details.
“No matter what we play, it’ll be quality music that’s played well,” says Winston Stone, shown practicing the clarinet with members of the UT Dallas Pep Band.
The 15 charter members are expected to help determine the band’s musical direction, but the signature song will be the UT Dallas fight song, played to the tune of “Hold That Tiger (Tiger Rag).”