Grant Union pep band members help generate excitement at the Prospector basketball games, playing energetic songs such as “Eye of the Tiger,” “Iron Man” and the school’s fight song.

The band, directed by music teacher Levana James, also start the games off with a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

James said the band encourages school spirit and unity for fans watching the game and those playing the game.

“It’s the pep squad building enthusiasm for the team,” she said.

The pep band played during the football season as well.

There are usually 10 band members playing, ranging from seventh-graders to seniors, with several on trumpet and clarinet, plus bass clarinet, flute, baritone, French horn and drum set.

Pep band players tackle a different style of music in an atmosphere much different than their formal concerts.

“It’s something a little more enthusiastic and not as strict — even though it has its own challenges,” James said. “The songs aren’t necessarily easier, but the students catch on well to the tunes.”

Songs are played spontaneously, during the 30-second timeouts, when they cover snippets of their selections.

“They have to watch me because we might cut off early or I might have them play it again,” she said.

Cheerleaders perform a routine while the band plays the fight song, and they play full versions of their songs before the games and during halftime of the boys and girls games.

Sophomore saxophonist Matthew Shorts said he enjoys playing in the gym with the crowd and the teams.

“I like being able to support the team and the school and being able to watch the game while doing that at the same time,” he said. “It gives exposure to playing in front of an audience. I like all the songs.”

Levi Carpenter, a sophomore on the trumpet, said his favorite song is “Spider Man.”

“I like being able to hang out with my friends and support the teams,” he said.

Bass clarinetist Carle Wright, a senior, said she also enjoys supporting the teams.

“It’s a different kind of environment for us to play in, instead of just in the band room or at a concert,” she said. “We play more modern music, which is fun.”

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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