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New band pumps up the pep at Cal State East Bay sports events


Pep band director Ken Yee, on trombone, has played with CSUEB's Jazz Ensembles at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland.

  • October 19, 2009

Cal State East Bay's move up in athletic status this year to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II level is bringing new teams and higher caliber competition to campus with each game. In addition, the university community can look forward to another new feature for campus life, a CSUEB pep band.

"As we make the exciting move to NCAA Division II, having a pep band that is uniquely our own is a very important part of our promotion of our game day environment,” said Debby De Angelis, director of athletics.

The band, which will include 15 to 20 students playing traditional wind, brass and percussion instruments, is expected to perform at games. The band also may play at future events like al Fresco, with the CSUEB Eclectic Pulse Dance Team and in the quad at lunch. Music will include a mix of fight songs and popular tunes such as  "Respect," "Come Out and Play," "Pretty Fly," "Seven Nation Army" and "I Want Candy."

“I don’t want it to be the typical ‘rah-rah’ pep band,” says Bob Williams, ASI executive director and pep band organizer. “It should be modern, hip, well performed, and express our diversity.”

Williams, a professional violinist and conductor, has played with orchestras across the Bay Area for approximately 40 years.

Drawing on his professional music experience, he advertised the pep band by posting flyers and posters around the Hayward Campus to alert interested students. The first rehearsal was scheduled for Oct. 20.

Participation in the organization is open to students of all majors. The only requirement, Williams said, is an ability to play an instrument at an elementary to intermediate level.

Williams said the band’s budget of approximately $500 to $1,000 will pay for sheet music and possibly some instrument rentals. Students, however, are expected to supply their own instruments.

In keeping with his stance that “it’s the students’ band, not mine,” Williams hired student Ken Yee to direct the band.

“Since this is the first year we're trying to put together a pep band for the school,” Yee said, “I hope to help the band establish an identity with CSUEB that would represent the students’ pride and excitement at games and rallies.”

Yee’s duties include organizing the band, selecting the music, running rehearsals and leading the group during performances.

“The more visibility the university has, the better it is for everyone on the campus, and the band will help that,” Williams said.

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