Boom! Crash! What’s that sound?! The Fairfield University pep band! I interviewed Katherine Kelley ‘22, one of our pep band’s esteemed trombonists, to ask her about her experience as a member of Fairfield’s favorite musical group, and where her passion for tromboning began.
Kelley first became interested in playing the trombone when she joined her fifth grade band at the age of ten. She continued her musicianship into high school, where she was involved in concert band, jazz band and advanced jazz band. Prior to playing the trombone, Kelley also played the piano and the recorder, beginning both of these instruments around the formative age of five. Lucky for us pep band fans, she decided to continue her musical career in college, where she provides entertainment at sporting events, boosting our school spirit.
Kelley gave us an inside look at the workings of the pep band. According to Kelley, some of the most popular instruments to play in the band are the clarinet, saxophone and drums, while some of the least popular instruments to play are the trombone, flute and keyboard. Fortunately, the school has people like Kelley who are willing to balance out the sounds of the band by choosing to play one of those underrated instruments.
Kelley, being an seasoned trombonist and dedicated pep band member, has played many songs over the years. Some of her favorites include “Buck Jump,” “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Sweet Caroline,”a song for which her love is rooted in her deep admiration for the Boston Red Sox. In the future, Kelley strongly suggests that the band members play the song “Tequila” by The Champs during one of their performances. As an ex-band geek myself, who performed in my high school pep band, I have played many of these songs in the past, and was able to bond with Kelley over our shared musical experiences.
Unfortunately, the pep band has not been able to perform for the student body recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Band members are not able to meet in person at all, even to practice. This is partly due to the fact that musical instruments can increase the spread of the virus. Many instruments need to be blown into, which would require band members to be breathing around each other without wearing masks. Musicians also often need to touch the mouth pieces of their instruments, which can increase the spread of germs. Unfortunately for Kelley, the trombone is one of the worst culprits. Blowing into a trombone can spread the virus further than breathing normally, and the trombone also has a spit valve, which poses a potential health hazard.
To try to cope with these challenges, the pep band has turned to digital meetings via Zoom, where they discuss future plans and any upcoming changes. Members also submit recordings online of themselves playing songs to ensure that they get in the proper amount of practice to continue to perform to the best of their abilities.
Like the rest of the organizations and clubs at Fairfield, the pep band is trying their best to remain afloat amid our current health crisis. We can only hope that one day the pep band will once again be able to get together and show off their musical talent.