Bronco Pep Band drums up school spirit from home

The Bronco Pep Band continues to unite the campus community by hosting virtual musical performances, hoping to raise school spirit during a difficult time where students are forced to stay physically apart. Working through the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, the band is staying ambitious by releasing monthly performance videos.

Every month, the Bronco Pep Band hopes to post a virtual performance on its YouTube channel, according to band president Melody Neu, a fourth-year aerospace engineering student.

When preparing for virtual performances, the band members first plan out which songs they want to participate in. After finalizing a song, each member is instructed on how they should record themselves. The band’s video editors then assemble the clips to create a synchronous performance.

Their most recent performance was a medley featuring popularized work from Black composers and musicians — in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the video, performers triumphantly played their instruments as the pace picked up steadily. The band’s set was not only brilliant, but showed off the member’s range as a unit, with their rendition of “Twist and Shout” by The Isley Brothers presenting a standout performance.

To abide by social distancing regulations, all practices are held over Zoom every Wednesday for two hours.

The organization also anticipates collaborating with Cal Poly Pomona’s music department to perform the university’s alma mater song this winter. Band director Omar Arellano, a fourth-year chemical engineering student, is in discussion with music professor Rickey Badua, who serves as the university’s director of bands, to finalize a plan for the collaboration between the Bronco Pep Band and students in the music department.

“We’re hoping to organize it sometime this winter so there’s time to prepare and students don’t stress about it,” Arellano said.

Although the transition has been difficult, Neu hopes to create a welcoming environment for the bandmates to stay virtually connected as best they can.

The Bronco Pep Band performed at the Los Angeles County Fair in 2019. (Courtesy of Bronco Pep Band)

According to Neu, usually during in-person meetings, there was time for members to disperse and talk among themselves but going online has limited time for such conversations to occur — breakout rooms just don’t feel as personal. The band now tries to keep its meetings brief so members remain engaged. Even with these adjustments, they still try to make time for fun ice-breaker games toward the end of each meeting.

“The thing I miss most about being able to meet in person is getting to spend time with the friends I have made over the last couple of years,” said band member Trevor Campbell, a third-year food science and technology student. “I look forward to when we can finally have an in-person meeting and I’m able to meet all the new members that have joined us this year.”

According to Neu, who joined the band during her first year at CPP, the club is a thrilling opportunity for students to work with various instruments. “I instantly fell in love within a couple days of joining the band. I never knew there was a group like this, and I finally felt like I belonged,” Neu said.

The Bronco Pep Band welcomes any students interested in playing their old instruments again. Students interested in joining do not have to participate in an audition or major in music to join. For more information on the Bronco Pep Band, contact the club at broncopepband@gmail.com or visit its Instagram @broncopepband.

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