The University of La Verne pep band welcomes all students, regardless of major or musical experience. A student-run group, its members say it is an opportunity to keep their love for music alive without a high-stress commitment.
The pep band plays at on-campus events like sports games and the club fair but also showcases their talent at other public events.
In the past, they have been hired by the city of La Verne to perform at the annual car show, Tree Lighting Ceremony and more.
President of the pep band Jennifer Ascencion, senior psychology and educational studies major, said the band feels like a support system rather than a stressful addition to her busy schedule.
“Pep band is very inclusive,” Ascencion. “I feel we’re very welcoming regardless of your musical background so nobody should be afraid. We’re not like other bands that require auditions or for you to be at a certain level. We really accept anybody.”
Ascencion said the band happily teaches new members how to play their desired instruments and provides them with an instrument if needed.
The pep band mainly rehearses on Saturdays and before performances, with no pressure if a member cannot make it on some weeks due to other commitments.
“You have a lot of current students, you have alumni, you have community members that all play in the band together,” Kylee Mock, mellophone player, said. “People have jobs and kids, classes, stuff like that but everybody’s very understanding of each other.”
Mock graduated in fall 2021 but remains an active performer alongside the pep band.
She joined during her last year at La Verne after a long break from playing music since graduating high school.
“When you’re a musician, you spend a lot of time playing and then you go on a big break and when you go back to it, you realize how much you know that part of your life you’ve really been missing,” Mock said.
Mock emphasizes that being a part of the pep band applies no pressure to attending every single event and rehearsal, making it easier to focus on sharing a love for music.
Jacob Ayala, sophomore educational studies major, plays snare drum for the pep band but that is not his only musical commitment. He also plays guitar and writes music for his indie pop band Lavender Avenue.
With work, school, his band and being vice president of the pep band, Ayala said it is all very manageable.
“It’s a way for me to be creative and just have fun, really, and appreciate music,” Ayala said.
Though the band often plays classic pep tunes, they have the freedom to write their own music, improvise and explore other instruments.
Jecsan Solis, sophomore criminology major, joined last semester and plays tenor drums for the band.
Like Ayala, the pep band is an addition to Solis’ musical life. Solis is also a member of an independent percussion ensemble called Meraki as a rack player.
Being an introvert himself, Solis said he understands the hesitations of joining a club or organization but said pep band welcomes everyone with open arms.
“It’s something I really enjoy doing so why not?” Solis said. “For those who are being stopped by intimidation, I would say just give it a shot.”
Eric Cruz, sophomore anthropology major, plays saxophone for the pep band. He switches between tenor, alto and baritone saxophone as needed.
Regardless of having a small team at times, the pep band maintains a strong sound. However, new members are always welcome.
“It would always be nice if we could fill out more,” Cruz said. “It’d be nice to get a couple more saxophones, some altos or some trumpets. Maybe even some clarinets or flutes just to play those higher pieces.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit @ulvpepband on Instagram.
Anabel Martinez can be reached at email@example.com.