The Boston University Men’s Hockey team will head to Worcester, Mass. to face off in the first round of the NCAA tournament this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Terriers earned their ninth Hockey East Championship title in university history last weekend and look to carry the momentum forward to topple the top-seeded Cornell University. In such a high-stakes game, all eyes will be trained on the ice; but all ears will ring with the sound of the Boston University Pep Band.
Dubbed the “hardest working pep band in college athletics,” the Pep Band is comprised of more than 130 students from different colleges and majors throughout the university. From students who have been playing their instrument since elementary school to students who picked up an instrument for the first time this semester, the Pep Band is an inclusive environment open to anyone with a desire to make music. Performing at more than 150 events each year, the Pep Band plays at all hockey and basketball home games for both the men’s and women’s teams, along with occasional ventures to other sporting events or performances around the university. However, at this point in the season, all attention is turned to Men’s Hockey.
Finding their home in Section 118 of Agganis Arena, just above the Dog Pound—BU’s raucous student section—the Band provides a lively soundtrack for Agganis’ crowd at each game stoppage. In a playlist comprised of more than 100 songs, tunes range from modern hits, such as DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” to traditional Boston favorites, like Dropkick Murphys’ “Shipping Up to Boston.” At the end of each period and following each goal, BU’s fight song rings through the Arena.
With a carefully curated playlist and a tremendously vocal presence, the Pep Band commands attention at each game. However, once a year, the Pep Band takes center stage (literally) with a performance on the ice during intermission. Each year promises a unique show with a new song memorized specifically for the event and a marching performance sending members around the rink.
On Feb. 24, during a game against the University of Vermont, the Pep Band presented a rendition of “Sweet Victory,” a song originally by David Glen Eisley but popularized in the “Band Geeks” episode of the hit TV show “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
For Lauren Yee (CAS ’19), BU Hockey games aren’t often a large part of her college experience; however, the opportunity to watch the Pep Band perform on ice was enticing enough to justify a trip to Agganis.
“The energy of the crowd once [the band] played the first few notes— and everyone realized it was the song from SpongeBob—was amazing,” Yee said. “At first, it was like ‘Aw, the band is playing on the ice, that’s so cute,’ and then [the song] started and everyone was like ‘NO WAY!’”
Christina Fontana (ENG ’18) recognizes the importance of this energy and connection with the crowd and views the Pep Band as an integral component of the BU hockey experience.
“Without the band, it’s not a hockey game, in my opinion,” Fontana said. “We play awesome songs with an awesome beat, and everyone always enjoys it. We coordinate so much with the Dog Pound, and it gets everyone excited. Away games are fun, but without the band at home, hockey would be different.”
A common sentiment among members is that the Pep Band emerges as nothing short of a family—a way to make the sprawling student body of BU feel a little smaller. The Pep Band offers the opportunity to become more deeply embedded in the BU community, providing not just a reason to attend games but a group of best friends to enjoy every experience with. And the joy of the Band isn’t just contained to the members themselves.
One of the Band’s 23 seniors, Courtney Singer-Coseglia (CAS ’18), has been a member of the BU Band family for the entirety of her BU career. She has been a member of both the Pep Band and the Marching Band, along as a sister of Tau Beta Sigma, a National Honorary Band Sorority.
Looking back at her time as a member of the music ensembles, Singer-Coseglia said, “I think BU Bands doesn’t have a single favorite moment for me. There’s no way to pick a favorite inside joke with your section, a favorite game, or a favorite moment. BU Bands just brings joy and excitement…It doesn’t matter who is the ultimate receiver of the joy—it could the the Women’s Hockey team, a group of kids or even just some rowdy college students at a hockey game—but when you’re in BU Bands, you’re part of something bigger than yourself, and that’s my favorite part of BU Bands.”