Whispers in the air, Light?More Light?
Blinking while seeing in the distance, the beacon is lit. The solitary point is dim, a spark.
In the time of yore, when great warriors gathered in the fields and courts, one man realized the struggles. Too many times, the warriors fought alone. Their spirits would rise and fall like the tides that guided the great ships. Something is wrong, he knew something more was needed.
Then, the visions began to haunt the man?s slumber. Drums would rumble and horns would blast a call to arms, rallying onlooker and warrior alike. With each passing vision, the next would become stronger and stronger? With each day, the visions would encroach on his waking moments, demanding more and more of his concentration, begging to be set free.
But these visions were not in his power to create in the world of men. These powerful illusions in his mind were too vast to simply create on his own. He could not begin to carry this burden without aid. Like King Arthur and others before him, the man sought a woman of great power, one who could grant him the resources he required to undertake the magnificent quest.
The great woman bequeathed her assistance and wisdom, and the man left her presence. He found a beacon, like the one his visions had described. Bringing his axe and raising his beacon high, he traveled across the land, gathering the greatest among them whose drums, flutes, and horns were brazen and loudest. These bold souls gathered and began to train together, discuss strategy, and prepare the call.
Then, the day of delivery was upon them. Both the sky and trees cried their unique tears of joy as they took a corner of the field, waiting for the warriors to arrive. Standing with the daring man who brought them forth, they each bowed their heads as they repeated his words:
May our amps be loud.
May our horns be proud.
May our kazoos sizzle and swagger.
In your name we play.
With these noble words, they began their assault. The horns blared fiercely and the drums made a joyous rumble that could be heard from the tallest peaks and the deepest valleys. Some say that even the waters rippled from the shear force of spirit by these valiant men and women. Together, they aided the warriors in battle, and the warriors gained their victory.
When they left the field, they quieted the drums, stowed the horns, and the man bent to recover his beacon. Each man and woman took a flame from it, but the beacon shone brighter and fiercer than before. Now the sparks were not just in his visions, they would be sent to the four corners of the land, along with word of their shared victory.
As he left, he glanced at the field of battle once more. It was glorious, and it would continue to be glorious. Hefting his great axe, he knew that it was the stuff of legend, and he smiled.
This is the story of the Pep Band?s performance at Fall Festival 2005.
This story has many starting points, but I will shorten the back-story. I always enjoyed pep band in high school, which is the only thing that got me to the games. When I went to UW Fox Valley, I did not find a pep band there. This made me assume that some colleges did not take time with pep bands. As I confirmed my transfer to Lawrence, I thought that a university with a conservatory would have a pep band.
Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to hang on to ideas, dreams, and other things that I think can be changed. So, I stewed on the idea of starting a pep band at Lawrence, trying to decide the best courses of action and who to talk to about such a venture. To set the date, this was the time that President Warch was leaving and President Beck became the new President of the University.
This is the part of the story where I admit that the pep band is a product of a right place-right time situation. First, my friends and I picked the right time to eat lunch in Downer, room C. Second, the 2004-2005 residents of Hiett Hall are in my gratitude for not showing up to the luncheon with Pres. Beck. With their absence, President Beck sat with my friends and I, and David Macauley joined us soon after.
After some discussion, the contents of which have escaped me now, the subject had turned to the absence of particular aspects of school spirit, including a pep band. I started by mentioning that finding musicians should not be that difficult at a university with so many musicians. President Beck then suggested that the fans in the stands (I love it when I rhyme inadvertently) should play along with the band. David Macauley said that since anyone can play a kazoo (which turned out not to be true when I got my hands on one, but I?m blaming my trumpet playing background), kazoos for the fans would be a great choice. With this informal agreement to check into each of our particular areas, I left that lunch thinking, ?This could work? this could definitely work.?
Dave found a place on the web that could get us our Lawrence University Kazoos, President Beck found our funding, and I tracked down some musicians and ways of getting some song arrangements, equipment, and other stuff. Once I came back to campus this year, I realized that we were moving much more quickly than even I thought was possible. We quickly reserved a table at the activities fair, from which we received a large portion of our inaugural group.
Once we had the people, the equipment, the music, and the drive, we practiced and it started to rain on game day. We were not about to let a little rain stop us from playing, and, of course, the first game was great.
As they say, the rest is history.
Special thanks are due to Robert Strelow for his great renditions of the Pep Band and all of his work.