State High Pep Band


The State High Pep Band before their first performance.

Noah Radio, Staff Writer

Every fall, the State High Marching Band can be heard practicing from over a mile away. They perform many times at football games and parades. Its members practice for countless hours and garner a fair amount of recognition for their work. Once the fall sports season concludes, the musicians break apart and go back to their grade-level bands. However, later in the year a smaller group of mainly marching band members come back together and make up the State High Pep Band.

The pep band is in its second year and encompasses three music groups: Woodwinds, brass, and percussion are the main groups played, but there is also an electric bass guitar played by senior Lucas Rittenhouse-Press. Though choir director Mr. Clayton is the official advisor, the band is student led. State High students Evan Baxter and Zach Aneckstein take the lead in nearly every way. They conduct the band, communicate with the administration, and make all of the decisions regarding the band.

The pep band had their first performance at the girls’ basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Aneckstein thought it went very well and was happy to play for some younger kids in the stands. The freshman class came out in abundance for that performance and for the pep band in general. Last year there was a fairly even spread of students across the grade levels, but this year the freshman class has far exceeded the participation of any other grade.

One of the many freshmen, trombonist Henry Mathews, gave one of his reasons for joining the pep band. “I was in marching band and I really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to playing at more sporting events,” Mathews said. Students who participated in marching band missed playing alongside their peers and thought of the pep band as a venue for that.

One thing that sets the pep band apart is that it is led by students, which leads to a much more relaxed and democratic atmosphere. Band leaders poll the group each week to find out what practice times would work best. Their new idea is to only hold practice before their events. In addition, there is no set-in-stone list of songs that have to be played. This year the song list includes the State High Alma Mater, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder, and many of the songs that were played by the marching band.

The fun and exciting atmosphere is just one of the many reasons why students enjoy the pep band. Leaders Zach Aneckstein and Evan Baxter have new concepts in the works and hope to show off those plans this Spring.