University band creates good music, stronger relationships



Eric Bellomo

As the University’s men’s basketball team beat the University of Kansas in the Elite Eight and moved on to the Final Four in what might be considered one of the best games in recent Villanova basketball history, the University band blared the fight song, an unmistakable sign of victory.

With over 100 members, the University band is one of the largest and most recognizable student run organizations on campus. Closely associated with sports and highly visible because of the band’s presence at sporting events, the band is more than a side act or entertainment at another organization’s attraction.  

“Our goal is to make music on campus” George Pinchock, the Assistant Music Activities Director, said. “We seek to foster a spirit of inclusion and encourage students of all musical backgrounds to participate.” 

Although most famous for their performances at various sporting events, the “you suck” chant after a foul or “piccolo girl,” the band performs at approximately 70 events each year and only half of these are related to athletics.  Its other performances take place at everything from ROTC events and graduation to Special Olympics and admissions events. 

Additionally, each semester’s work culminates at their biannual concerts, one at the end of each semester. 

“We do more than just perform for other people or support other organizations” Yena Lee, Publicity Committee chairperson and French horn player in the band, said. “We create a spirited atmosphere here. We’re close friends, roommates, and we highlight the importance of musical activities at the University.” 

For Lee, though playing an instrument in college wasn’t one of her selection criteria, the opportunity to advance and continue her musical experience was a bonus in a college.

“I have great memories with the band,” Lee said. “We’ve traveled to NCAA tournament games, gone on service trips and interacted with many different communities.”

The night the women’s basketball team played Liberty in their opening round of the National Invitational Tournament, the band’s performance highlighted the unique characteristics and personalities of the band. 

On the back of each shirt that band members wear is a nickname for each member. Some of the highlights on this night were “Free Willy,” “Chris Alert,” “Sandwich” and “Dunphy Out.” 

The band is upbeat and jovial. One band member was dressed in a onesie of Stitch from the animated Disney film, “Lilo & Stitch.” Their performances ranged from a rendition of “All the Small Things,” the Blink 182 classic, to a spoken word reading of a popular Justin Bieber song. 

Less prominent than the band’s presence at sporting events is their presence in the greater community. Each fall, band members forgo their break and participate in a service break trip bringing music to different communities. 

“Recently, we’ve been to Charleston, Quebec and Miami,” Lee said. “We visit primary schools and interact with kids who might or might not otherwise have access to musical instruments or classes. We also visit and perform at nursing homes.”

Each year band members are amongst the first to arrive at school to spend one week together before school starts. Known as “band camp,” returning members have the opportunity to catch up and interact with their peers and to get to know their incoming members as well. 

“It’s one of my favorite experiences because it represents the anticipation of what is to come,”Lee said. 

For those who lack musical experience, what may seem to be natural talent is actually the product of hours of practice and repetition that can often be difficult to fit into a student’s schedule. Though it may seem as if a trumpeters fingers flutter effortlessly over the pistons, the sounds produced come only from dedicated practice. 

On Mondays and Tuesdays, in a room tucked off to the side of the main entrance of St. Mary’s, the band practices and produces sounds that echo throughout the entire building. 

Prior to the start of this practice, chatter bounces off the walls as Mr. Pinchock walks to the front of the room. As people take their seats in their respective sections, random sounds burst out from different instruments. A drummer hits a kettle drum, a trombonist runs through the pistons and the red chairs arranged in a semi-circle begin to fill up in the convivial room. 

The first song played would be immediately recognized if it was played on the radio, but it takes a moment to register this hit when played as an instrumental. The band begins to warm up with their rendition of “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift. 

“29—here we go!” the song takes off from the beginning. 

“Articulate! Listen to each other!” The music slowly reaches a stop and starts again from the beginning. 

“Long notes! Long notes” Pinchock hollars over the crescendo of sound. 

Regardless of a practice or concert, NCAA final or nursing home, classical song or anything off Taylor Swift’s “1989,” the band continues to produce high quality music and higher quality relationships.