Pep is likely speaking to himself here, doubting anyone reads about pep bands on these boards, but Pep just needs to get something off his chest. And it's this: live performance should ALWAYS TRUMP canned music at D3 football games. Pep will explain.
Pep attended the Alfred-Salisbury football game at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury, MD. There was a good sized Family Weekend crowd. There was a good little pep band ready to play some tunes. But when it came to the National Anthem, they played a recording from the press box. Yuck. Would rather listen to someone sing it or someone play it LIVE. A live performance gives it LIFE. Then whenever there was a timeout or between quarters, they pumped canned "music" (more like noise) into the stadium. There was more at halftime with a dance team/cheerleading outfit. That little pep band, which was there to play music, wasn't given a chance to even play. So, the only time they figured they could play any music was when the other team had the ball...no matter that the QB was calling signals, etc. (Pep is no way suggesting that it was a distraction to AU's players. Don't know that it was, haven't spoken with any yet.) Fact is, they sounded very good! And Pep wanted to hear them, but not when the Saxons were in the middle of a play.
Now Pep knows that there are strict guidelines regarding bands at NCAA playoff games. AU Pep Band, to the best of its ability, has adhered to those strict guidelines during the regular season as well as post-season play. Bands are NOT allowed to play during a opposing team quarterback's cadence. Early in Pep's involvement with the pep band, a visiting team's coach had words with the game officials about our pep band. One of the officials spoke with Pep before the game and indicated that the officials would penalize AU 5 yards were the band playing during the opposing team's cadence. Pep is unclear whether any sort of penalty exists in the rule book. But the AU Pep Band has operated in accordance to that dictate ever since. It's the right thing to do.
Suggestion to D3 pep bands: If you wish to be a positive influence for your team, learn some "shorties" to play when your team gets a first down, gets a sack, an interception, a fumble. As soon as it's clear your team has earned a first down, CELEBRATE it with a cheer or a short peppy piece. Stop playing when the QB is under center or calling signals. Play in response to what is happening on the field. Focus your attention on the action on the field and as you respond to plays on the field with appropriate tunes, it also helps get the crowd (some who may be there for social reasons) focus on the game.
Pep has always told his band members that our playing music is NOT about US. Behind the scenes, Pep tells the (jealous) AU director of bands that the pep band attracts thousands of listeners to their gigs, whereas a few hundred is a big audience for his groups. We are not performing for us to be acknowledged for our fine musical talents. Heck, some of us don't have musical talents! Our playing should always focus the crowd's attention on our players on the field, celebrate their achievements, and encourage our warriors to press on. It's a battle out there. They need all the support that can be mustered. Yet timing is everything and music should be played in deference to what is happening on "stage" (the field.) For example, Pep has always instructed the AU band to sit in silence in the event of an injury on the field.
Pep wonders, aside from its championships, whether the NCAA has "regulations" governing participation of pep bands at regular season games. Pep is thinking not. Perhaps it's something that individual conferences could/would address.
Another of Pep's pet peeves is "cheerleader announcers" at D3 football games. That could be another Pep tirade....for another day.
On Saxon Warriors!