Hit the (Pep) Band! – The Pacific Index

Boxer’s Pep Band gears up for reunion weekend with traditions continuing

A college football game without a cheering band is like watching a Marvel movie without the sound – and in every house, right behind the student section, at the very top of the bleachers, is the very energetic Boxer Pep of 20 students. Bandaged. It’s the perfect perch: with a great line of sight across the pitch, clear lines of sight to take cues from: when to play, when to stop, when to rally the troops, when to celebrate a touchdown. And, they make sure to always hit their mark.

When Pacific decided to revive football in 2010, after a 19-year hiatus, the Pep Band also returned to action – and, at their helm then and now, is Michael Burch-Pesses, teacher and director of groups and master of French klaxon. He has been leading and directing music programs for 28 years at Pacific University.

With previous experience as a bandleader at the US Naval Academy, Burch-Pesses is no stranger to hometown pride, as he staged home football games there with 30,000 roaring fans. . He speaks passionately about the Pacific and shows how much he cares about creating an atmosphere where everyone feels uplifted by his music.

“The main role is to add to the spirit of the boxers, and if you attended the match last Saturday, we are making a lot of noise,” exclaimed Burch-Pesses, referring to the overtime victory on 17 September against Pomona. “We feel like we’re really part of what happens at home football games,” he added.

The Pep Band is entirely volunteer-based; at any one time, there are about 20 students, many of whom played in their high school’s cheer groups and wanted to continue that experience. Boxer’s Pep Band is a huge selection of wind instruments – flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones – and, of course, the boom-boom of percussion.

“This year, we have excellent instrumentation,” assured Burch-Pesses. “We have a big full sound, our percussion section is small but mighty.”

A football team isn’t the only one with a game plan. The cheer group has home matches down to a science to help motivate the boxer on the field at every possible moment. The cheering band and their book full of melodies make the noise and the echo resonate in the stands. A solidified tradition includes the boxers’ fight song whenever the boxers score on the board at Hanson Stadium.

“We also play between games to encourage the team,” added Burch Pesses. “Usually when we have the ball and are in attack because we don’t want to cheer the other team on. The group likes to play and make their presence known, but we don’t want to be intrusive so we don’t play when the ball moves.

Reunion weekend is a special weekend, Burch-Pesses said, and alumni often stop by the band to say hello and reminisce about their days of sitting on the metal bleachers playing the song. of fight.

“They [alumni] always stop by the group and say hello,” he said. “It’s always great to see them; it’s kind of hard for me to believe how fast time has passed. He continued: “Some of these students that I first taught when I came here 28 years ago, so to see them after so long and see how they have matured and succeeded in the world, it’s is a great feeling.” -Emily Rutkowski


Emily Rutkowski is a sophomore from Mesa, Arizona. She enjoys playing soccer for the women’s soccer team here at the University of the Pacific. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors and socializing with her friends and family.

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