‘The Newest Band in the Land’
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Nov. 13, 2010) - No one will confuse the William P. Hytche Athletic Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with the nearby Frederick Douglass Library during the 2010-11 basketball season.
That’s because UMES has a brand new band – with lots of pep.
“I’m excited we had the courage to do this,” sophomore La’Kejina Allen of Baltimore said. “This is one of the extracurricular activities I wanted to get involved in when I came here.”
The new pep band made its debut Oct. 15 - the first day the NCAA allows basketball teams to start practicing. It will perform at men’s and women’s games throughout the season.
As the band marched into the gym that night, Board of Visitor Chairman Jesse Williams and fellow alumni applauded wildly. Williams and Delphine Lee lead the fund-raising to revive the band.
Williams, a former UMES basketball player, said the atmosphere that night reminded him of his undergraduate days.
So far, the grassroots effort to raise $110,000 has produced $75,000 in donations.
Students believe once the community hears the band’s talent and sees its energy, more donations will flow in.
For now, the student-musicians are happy to entertain appreciative crowds.
Morgan Jenkins, a junior from Frederick, started playing drums before enrolling in elementary school and continued through middle and high school.
A transfer student from Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., Jenkins said, “I had to get involved when I heard there was going to be a pep band here.”
Freshman Sean Woods of Clinton, Md., thought his student-musician days might be over when he headed off to college. But when Woods showed up in August to enroll, he heard a pep band was being formed and signed up.
“I saw this as a way of continuing my music (playing) career,” said Woods, who plays one of the three shiny, new sousaphones.
Woods’ Oxon Hill High classmate, Kwame Appiah, said playing saxophone in the pep band is “a way of getting involved in college life. I wanted to do more than just going to class.”
Players and coaches took notice of change in the atmosphere.
Frankie Allen, the men’s head basketball coach, said reviving the pep band "is one of the best things the university could have committed to. It gives us a much-needed boost for our home games. They truly can be our sixth man."
Senior guard Josh Bright called it "a good look for the school and … great for support. It gets the crowd livened up and creates a great atmosphere.”
Both remember the feeling of being on the lone team at the 2010 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament without a pep band.
"It is the foundation of a great atmosphere, not just for the players, but for everyone in attendance,” women's head basketball coach Fred Batchelor said. “It will add to not only excitement, but also to the advantage of home-court.”
"They’ll bring more fans that want to see the band, and they will get me pumped up for the game," senior Casey Morton said.
When the pep band entered the Hytche center Oct. 15 marching in sync but suddenly burst into spontaneous dance seen in Mardi Gras parades. The crowded loved it.
“It’s something that’s been missing around here,” head bowling Coach Sharon Brummell said. “The band brings back a different flavor to the game.”
“I absolutely love it,” Brummell said.
To learn more about the UMES Pep Band, contact Kim Dumpson, director of alumni affairs and planned giving, at 410-651-7686
Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, firstname.lastname@example.org.