Pep band: band, but peppy

Pep is not a word we use very often these days. Nobody’s ever told you, "Man, I’m so pepped for the game tonight!" or "Dude, Man vs. Wild last night really pepped me up; I just wanted to go build a hut in the forest." In fact, on a list of the five most common uses of the word, the last four would probably look like this: 5. "C’mon broham, you gotta admit Peppy’s way better than Slippy or Falco," 4."Could you pass the pepper?" 3."Hey! Pepto Bismol" (Apparently the people who ask for the pepper so often regret it later) 2. "I am so skipping the pep assembly." But at the top of that list lies a sentence loaded with intrigue and dripping with "Tell me more!" The number one use of the word has to be "Pep up the jam!" Fortunately, for students of Ames High, there is a group that can oblige: the pep band. To a layman, a pep band might seem pretty straightforward: a brassy collection, a drum kit or two, and a cowbell player, all crammed into a tiny space, doing their part to enhance the atmosphere of a basketball game as much as possible. But members of a pep band understand what it really is. "It’s a sport," senior Travis Mason, a member of the Gilbert High School pep band, said. "It’s totally awesome," senior Stella Fritzell, a member of the Ames High School pep band, said. "We have a lot of fun with it. We don’t really watch the games, but we dress up and play the songs, which are good." "We deserve some recognition," junior percussionist Tom Gehring said. Consider the song selection for the AHSPB; junior Nick Scallon said that the number of songs the band plays may be in the neighborhood of 30. And with songs by, among others, Kansas, Alabama and Survivor, it is clear that these are not 30 simple, easy songs. Thanks to a lot of work from a talented group, Ames High has some legitimate pep-up music on hand. Director Chris Ewan said that a lot of schools struggle to even put together a band and that the approximately 70-member group at Ames High is one of the largest in the state. "They do a good job," Ewan said. "They enjoy the music, and they call their own themed nights, whether that be Hawaiian night or tie night or anything. People might be wondering why there’s a bunch of pirates over there, but the group enjoys it. At the same time, though, sound-wise they do a great job as well." With such a quality pep band throwing down the block-rocking beats on Fridays, it looks like it’s time to clean out your Jorge Quintero, Nelly and Fort Minor (wait a second, Jorge Quintero?) and get rid of those old Jock Jams albums and clear some shelf space for a giant motivational poster reminding you to listen to the pep band the next time you find yourself in need of a good pepping. Pep up the jam!