Pepping Things Up

UNC pep band members

Pep band members (from left) Jessica Rice (flute), Cody Williams (tuba), Kyle Sneden (saxophone), Brit Barrett (drums), Melissa Stringer (flute) and Nichole Creger (flute) take a break during a recent practice session to pose for a photograph.

The University of Northern Colorado's basketball and volleyball teams are enjoying larger and louder crowds in the stands of Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion this year. The recently formed UNC Bear Necessities pep band has played its way onto the sports scene to fill a void at basketball and volleyball games.

According to Student Activities Director Evan Welch, the advisor to Bear Necessities, the group's main goals are to boost Bear Pride at sporting events and gain more members in the next year. Currently there are about eight to 15 active members in the pep band.

The band practices two or three time a week. Practices are held in the Bishop-Lehr gym.

According to Welch, the band has collaborated with the cheerleaders to play live music for their performances, as opposed to playing music over the sound system.

The band played at its first home games at the men's and women's basketball exhibition games Nov. 4 and 6. Its presence has already been noticed.

"The coaches have been tremendously supportive because they understand the correlation between an excited crowd and the cheer team's performance,"Welch said.

Band member Nichole Creger agreed.

"Since we've been going to the games I can see a significant impact on the students attending the games and even the players themselves," said Creger, a senior business accounting major. "It seems that there's more school spirit and more students want to come to the games to support our teams, and the players can feel their excitement."

How to Get Involved with Bear Necessities
The band is open to any student of any major who has his or her own instrument. Students who are interested in joining the band can go to Facebook and search for "UNC Bear Necessities" for more information and to send a message and join the group. The Facebook group is used for announcing practices and other news.

- Christina Romero