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Behind the backboard: Xavier Pep Band

By Patrick Clark
On January 17, 2012

Oftentimes the music one hears at a Xavier basketball game is not coming from a loudspeaker above the scoreboard. Instead, it is coming to the audience live courtesy of the Xavier University Pep Band. Directed by Dr. Matthew Westgate, assistant professor of instrumental activities, the Pep Band plays at all of the men's and women's home basketball games as well as those on the road during tournament season. "The band's job is to help unite all of the fans in the arena in support of the team. Since we have instruments, we have the ability to be the loudest and most powerful positive voice from the crowd... Being in the middle of the student section is an honor and we take it very seriously. We try our best to provide energy and enthusiasm for the team. It's amazing how much of an effect the fans can have a on a game," Westgate said. For many members the highlight of the year is tournament time, when the band gets to travel with the team. Despite the challenges due to "the students having to be out of classes for extended periods of time," Westgate said, it is an experience that many students enjoy. "My favorite experience was in the NCAA tournament two years ago when we went into triple overtime against Kansas  State. It was such an exciting experience and it is something I'll remember for the rest of my life," four - year member and senior tuba player Joe Letizia said.  "The band is in a unique position," Westgate said. "We unite current, former and future students all at the same time through music, athletic competition and school spirit. It's a great job [being director]! I feel extremely lucky to be working with the Pep Band students representing Xavier." You can see and hear the Pep  Band at the next Xavier men's game against St. Joseph at 7p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Cintas Center.

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