Pep Band Builds Hype at Men’s Basketball Home Game


Photo Courtesy of Suada Duvette

Avery Ghose, Arman Krakirian, Harrison Fink, Henry Newquist, and Oliver Smith perform as members of the Oberlin Jazz Band

The men’s basketball team started its season swingin’, making a notable first impression at its home game last Tuesday against Ohio Northern University with the support of a pep band, consisting of eight musicians from the Conservatory Jazz department who played popular tunes throughout the game.

The idea began with Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Nate Smith, who wanted to unite athletics and the Conservatory, with the added benefit of improving the in-game atmosphere. However, the undertaking was more challenging than expected. After unsuccessful attempts to reach out to Conservatory professors, Smith tasked third-year guard Henry Lieber with pitching the idea to his Conservatory classmates. Luckily, second-year jazz saxophonist Harrison Fink was enthusiastic and assembled a band.
Instead of going for a more traditional pep band setlist, the band decided to play popular songs like Meek Mill’s “Ima Boss,” which is the men’s basketball team’s unofficial anthem and has a melody that makes for a great horn section solo.

Reflecting on the experience, Fink recognized the perks of playing for the team.

“It’s a lot of fun to engage with the team and have a part in the energy that the audience has,” Fink said. “On top of that, we get to watch the games, which is always fun. So it’s just a fun experience.”

The basketball players also enjoyed having a pep band. While the team lost to Ohio Northern University 62–58, players had positive things to say about the presence of the pep band. Third-year basketball player Anastasis Spyroglou commented on the spirit they created in the gym.

“I really like our band,” Spyroglou said. “I like the positive energy they send to the crowd and players as well.”

Smith also expressed gratitude and appreciation for the pep band.
“Our players have really loved it so far,” Smith said. “All the feedback that I’ve gotten, that I’ve received from the players, has been super positive. I think they really enjoy the little riffs and just the music in the gym. … There’s an element of getting the crowd involved through music, so we’re very fortunate to have ’em. They’re a bunch of really talented individuals, and we’re fired up.”

The band will make their next appearance Saturday, Dec. 10 at a game against Hiram College.