Pep Band: On the Road Again?

By Joseph Bailey ’15
Intern, Univ. Communications

After three years cheering and encouraging the men’s and women’s basketball teams on to victory at home, the UR Pep Band may find itself going on the road once again. This particular group of peppy individuals, under the capable direction of Greg Savich, is made up of freshman through seniors, flute players down to tuba players, and everyone in between. The band can normally be seen rocking the crowds during home basketball games in the Palestra and during home football games in Fauver Stadium. However, once in a while, the Pep Band has the unique privilege of playing for the ‘Jackets at a Division III final four game. And, with the top ranked Yellowjackets dominating their opponents this season, they have high hopes of joining in on the fun of March Madness.

The band has been founded three times in its history. The present director, Greg Savich, founded the current band when he was a sophomore, in the fall 2003. The late, great Frederick Fennell directed the original band, founded in the 1930s. Eastman students will be familiar with Fennell because of his instrumental role in founding the Eastman Wind Ensemble. There was also another, second band, which lasted into the mid-nineties. Today, the Yellowjacket Pep Band wears their distinctive blue and yellow striped Rugby shirts, and favors upbeat music and outlandish antics at games to pep up the fans and team alike.

When the team is winning, and spirits are running high in the Palestra, director Savich tends to go with Pep Band standards, including “The Impression That I Get,” and “Take on Me.” Towards the end of such games, when the team is beginning to settle into its groove, the director often opts for the old favorite “Let’s Groove.” When the team seems to be getting off track, a simple “Let’s Go Band” or even “Long Train Runnin’” can help them to refocus their energies. Finally, whenever John DiBartolomeo scores, and there is a timeout shortly after, the band makes every effort to play “Johnny B. Goode.”

According Hilary Dietz ’13, past pep band co-president, the last time the band traveled for basketball was the spring of her freshman year, in March 2010. That year, the band had the honor of going—all-expenses-paid—to Illinois-Weslyan University in Bloomington, Ill. Dietz says that whenever the band is away for the final four, “Everyone gives 200 percent.” The last trip to Illinois was particularly special for Dietz, because as a native of the state, her parents were able to attend the game. This year, she has high hopes that the men and women’s teams can advance far enough through March Madness to secure a road trip for the band.

Pep BandWhen asked how the band and games are different at the final four when compared to the Palestra, Savich replied, “The band plays very loudly, is very energetic and focused, and cheers a lot.” With regards to the fans, he described it as a weird experience, because the school who is located closest to the tournament play can easily bring the most fans to cheer.

Savich said that he tends to choose pieces that compliment the feel of the game. For example, if the game is close and nearing the end, he will choose music that is fast-paced, or a piece like “Final Countdown.” To motivate band members, Savich looks to the words of Duke Ellington: “You play with the intent to commit something.” Hopefully, that something will lead the men and women to victory as the regular season draws to a close, and the teams head for the playoffs.

Catch the Pep Band in action for the last regular season home basketball games on Sunday, Feb. 17 at noon (men) and 2 p.m. (women).

Pep band members for 2012-2013 include: Clarinets: Christine Ziegler ’16, Kathryn Strelevitz ’16, Joe Bailey ’15, Flutes: Hilary Dietz ’13, Keira Crist ’15, Ryan Challener ’14, Aurora Dopp’13, Aubrie Sauer’16, Saxophones: Taryn Mockus ’13, Ethan Senator ’15, Patrick Callanan ’14, Danika Teverovsky16, Kelsey Tuttle ’16, Amanda Baker ’13, Shyah Miller’16, Kaitlin Pellicano ’13, Trombones: Bennet Niedenburg ’16, Alexander Venuti ’14, Mellophones: Emily Danchik ’13, Nicholas Van Swol ’15, Trumpets: JamesWojakowski’15, Jonathan Strumpf ’15, Brandon Daehn ’13, Jeff Vankerhove ’13, Michael Myers ’16, Crystal Hans ’15, NathanBook’14, Zeke Starling ’16, Tubas: Daniel Macguigan ’14, JuliaMorris’15, Percussion: Marz Saffore ’15, Chelsea Hans ’14, Mike Tamburrino ’16, Director: Gregory Savich ’06.

UR Women Rally for 7th Straight Wendy’s Title

Rochester Athletics – Loren Wagner and Danielle McNabb scored four points each in a game-ending 14-2 run as Rochester defeated Roberts Wesleyan, 56-44, in the Wendy’s Classic Championship Game.

The Yellowjackets needed that run because Roberts battled back from a 17-point halftime deficit and finally tied the score at 42-all with 7:18 to play.

Jodie Luther started the winning rally with a layup. Laney Ming scored in the lane, McNabb made two free throws, Wagner hit a hook shot and a layup, and McNabb made a layup. That put Rochester up, 54-42. Lindsay Kendall made two free throws for Roberts before Jackie Walker closed the scoring with two free throws.

This is Rochester’s seventh straight Wendy’s Classic Championship and its ninth title in the last 10 years. The Yellowjackets have beaten Roberts Wesleyan in each of the last three title games. Rochester is 7-0. Roberts Wesleyan is 6-3.

McNabb was selected as the Classic’s Most Valuable Player. She scored a career high 15 points, hitting 6 of 10 from the floor, 1 of 2 outside the arc, and both free throws.

She was joined on the All-Tournament First Team by Ming (six points, five assists, one turnover, one steal) and Walker ( 13 points, career high 11 rebounds). Marissa Bunce and Kendall represented Roberts Wesleyan.

In the first half, Walker gave the Yellowjackets a great boost, scoring 11 points and collecting eight rebounds in 11 minutes. McNabb scored nine points. Luther had six.

McNabb scored five points – including a trey – and Walker added four more in a 12-2 run over five minutes that put Rochester ahead, 19-11, with 10:37 left in the half.

Roberts answered, getting four points from Lindsay Kendall, and drew within five, 21-16, with 6:51 left. Rochester closed the half with a 16-4 run. Walker and Luther scored six points apiece in the run with all six of Luther’s points coming in under a minute. She hit a jumper in the circle, made a fast break layup on a long pass from Ming, then added a layup. The burst gave Rochester a 37-20 lead at the half.

Read more about the Lady Yellowjacket’s rise to the top at

Article and photo courtesy of Rochester Athletics