Sound like school spirit: Pep band revived at Greater Johnstown basketball games

Jan. 24—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — After more than a decade, crowds at Greater Johnstown High School basketball games this season have been given a special treat — the return of the pep band.

"I thought it was something the students here would enjoy and something I thought they should be part of," band director Tyler Roland said.

The group has 13 members who play percussion, brass and wind instruments.

Helen Miller, a sophomore who plays the drums, said she joined because the pep band provides something fun to do between the marching band and concert band seasons.

"It's been really good," she said.

Bandmates Kash Baldauf and Nevaeh Thompson, both seniors, agreed. All three members participate in the marching and concert bands at Greater Johnstown.

"If it's music-related," Baldauf said, "we're in it."

'A lot of excitement'

The pep band typically entertains crowds with tunes also played in the stands at football games, such as "Louie, Louie," "Seven Nation Army" and "The Hey Song."

"It's brought a lot of excitement," high school Principal William Caccioti said.

The idea to bring the band back came from a conversation between Roland and Superintendent Amy Arcurio.

Roland said the district's top administrator broached the topic with him in the fall during a football game. Caccioti recalled the fun he experienced playing in a pep band during his high school years, so he pursued the revival.

"I just want it to be there for the students that are interested," he said.

Roland described the group as a smaller version of the marching band and an extension of the student section at the games.

Before each game, the band gets together to practice for a bit before tip-off and then goes out to provide the players and crowd with entertainment throughout all four quarters.

"We love it," Caccioti said, adding that the group gives "a whole other dimension to games."

One contest the members are looking forward to is the upcoming home game against rival Bishop McCort Catholic High School on Feb. 3. They expect a large crowd and are excited for the opportunity to show off what they can do.