William & Mary Pep Band
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The William & Mary Pep Band is the scramble band of the College of William and Mary. It is a student-run ensemble that performs at home football games in the fall sports season and basketball games in the winter sports season. Membership is open to anyone currently enrolled at the college.
The early history of the William and Mary Marching Band is lost in time and space. Throughout the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, there were various efforts to organize a marching band, each of which lasted for a few years at the most, and then collapsed. It wasn't until the early 1950s, with the coming of Charles R. Varner, that a marching band at William and Mary came to be.
Mr. Varner came to the College in the fall of 1953, as the new director of bands, and immediately started a reorganization of the way that the marching band was conceived. Now that it had a stable leader, the band began to flourish. In the '50s, '60s, and '70s, the Summer Band program provided an opportunity for high schoolers around the state an opportunity to get better at their instruments and better at marching. The fact that it was staffed by members of the William and Mary Marching band shows their dedication.
However, when Chuck Varner left the College, the marching band began to hit troubled times. Diagnosed with cancer in the early 1980s, Varner was forced to retire after 33 years of service. A scholarship in his name was established by the Alumni Band Organization at William and Mary in 1989 and is awarded to an outstanding band student from any band ensembles. Varner eventually died in January 2002, after suffering from Alzheimer's.
After Varner retired, the Marching Band was re-created as a free-form "explosion style" band. This proved to be unsatisfactory to the College administration, who hired a new director of bands, Laura Rexroth. In addition to conducting the College's Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble, Rexroth was instructed to start up a traditional marching band once more. Membership rose from 17 the first year to 50 in the following years. Rexroth was able to acquire College support to purchase new marching percussion in 1990, and new marching band uniforms for the 1993 Tercentenary celebration of the founding of the College. Although many at the College were in favor of the idea of a marching band, financial support for the ensemble was continually reduced from 1990 to 1998. Eventually, the administration agreed that a Pep Band would require less financial support and decided to officially change the Marching Band to a non-marching Pep Band that performed from the stands.
In the fall of 1996, the history of the William and Mary Pep Band began. It began as a similar institution to the Marching Band, in that it was a one credit class run by the Department of Music. Then, in the fall of 1998, the Athletic Department took over the management of the Pep Band.
As was to be expected, however, the reign that the Athletics Department had over the Pep Band was tulmultuous at best. The Athletic Department hired their own director, and practices were held in William and Mary Hall. There was also a misunderstanding amidst the Athletic Department of the reasons people joined the Pep Band. The situation became so dire that, during the basketball season, only 8 Pep Band members would show up for games.
However, there was planning afoot. Under the leadership of Jason Maga, the Pep Band sat down with Athletics, the Student Government, and the Administration to work out a new direction for the Pep Band. With the full support of Athletics, the Administration, and the Student Government, the Pep Band started a flyering and mailing drive across Campus and to all incoming freshmen. In the Fall of 1999, the Pep Band was reformed as totally student-run organization, under the Directorship of Jason Maga. From there, we have soared into the bright sky of freedom, justice, and the peptastic way.
However, the Pep Band had bigger things in store for itself. No longer content with playing in the stands alone, but not desiring the complications and stereotypes of a normal marching band, the William and Mary Pep Band sought to join a sacred brotherhood: The Brotherhood of the Scramble Band. So in the Spring of 2006 (really, the winter, but that's what the semester is called), a core group of individuals started planning this new chapter of history. It came to fruition in the Fall of 2006, November 18 to be precise, with the first field show by a William and Mary band in 11 years.
|1999||Jason Maga||2000||Doug Bunch|
|2001||Doug Bunch||2002||Carrilynn Greenwood|
|2003||Diana West||2004||Rebecca Nelson|
|2005||Andy Kramer||2006||Alex Mills|
|2007||Kenny Barry||2008||Dustin Glasner|
|2009||Christina Millson||2010||Christina Millson|
|2011||Kevin Deisz||2012||Kevin Deisz|
|2013||Carrie Sheeler||2014||Megan Flansburg|
- Swem Library, Past Exhibits 2009.
- Rexroth,Laura: Interview. 8 Jan 2012.
- W&M Digital Archive, information about and pictures of the pep band.
- Swem Library Wiki Page, some others links about the pep band.
- The Flat Hat, reports on the pep band.
- William and Mary Pep Band
- 19 February 2011 Tribe basketball game against Radford University
- 29 September 2007 Tribe football game against Towson University
- 18 November 2006 Tribe football game against University of Richmond
- Flat Hat Article on the pep band, August 2005