Pep Band Will Return To The Stands For The 2022 Winter Sports Season

Lily Kamrath, Deputy Editor, Arts & Entertainment

After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnetonka High School Pep Band will be returning to the bleachers this winter to support MHS athletes during their games. Pep Band is directed by Mr. Paul Rosen, who teaches ninth grade Varsity Band at MHS. It is one of the various band extracurriculars available to students: Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. All of these groups are supported by the Minnetonka Band Boosters. Meetings take place in the MHS Band Room, room 1009. Membership is open to all grades and instruments, regardless of which band students are in. 

Pep Band also plays to support MHS athletes at state tournaments. Amy Foster, ‘22, has been in Pep Band since her freshman year and plays the flute. 

When asked to describe Pep Band to an interested friend, Foster said, “We go to home games for boys and girls basketball and hockey and play during their warmups and breaks.” 

Pep Band plays mostly easy repertoire that audiences will recognize and get excited about. Some of the students’ favorites from past years include “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga, “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and, a quintessential hype-up piece, “The Final Countdown” by Europe.

“We have the same amount of energy as the fans watching the games, but we channel it all into our music,” said Abra Arora, ‘22, who plays percussion in Pep Band. She mentioned that her favorite songs are those that have “more involved” cymbal parts. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” Arora continued. “[Sometimes] our percussion section has met percussionists from opposing schools’ pep bands and hung out with them when we weren’t playing music. Even though we’re there to cheer on our own school, we also have a unique opportunity to connect with people with whom we share common interests.”

Parker Griswold, ‘22, has also been in the group since his freshman year. Though he plays the bassoon in Wind Ensemble during the school day, Griswold alternates between playing clarinet, alto saxophone and baritone saxophone in Pep Band. 

When asked his favorite part about participating in Pep Band, Griswold said, “I like getting to spend time with my friends and getting excused from school sometimes to go to state tournaments.”

Griswold also revealed that Pep Band members gain free admission to the games they perform at. 

Members of Pep Band generally agree that it is a low-pressure and fun extracurricular. 

Axel Martin, ‘23, plays percussion and enjoys playing “easy music [we] can have fun with.” Martin’s favorite piece thus far is “Any Way You Want It” by Journey, because “it has a fun and challenging drum break.” 

Tyler Wasielewski, ‘22, a saxophonist, appreciates “explor[ing] different instruments without the pressure of needing to sound the best.” 

Wasielewski plays alto saxophone in Pep Band, as well as soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone and percussion. One of the main takeaways from Pep Band for Wasielewski is “[learning] that I don’t have to take music so seriously all the time.”

When asked to describe the community in Pep Band, Foster said, “It’s very much like a family…everybody knows [each other] and they all care for you and are excited to see you.” 

Griswold added, “It’s a really relaxed, laid back environment and people just come to have a good time.” 

Whether students are performing in Pep Band, playing in their winter sports games, or cheering on their peers from the stands, Pep Band supports winter athletes by promoting school spirit and excitement for all. If readers are interested in participating in Pep Band for their 2022 season, contact Rosen at [email protected].