WILMINGTON — The Quaker Thunder Pep Band was especially thunderous last Wednesday night when 30 members from the county’s four high school bands joined forces with Wilmington College’s pep band members at a men’s basketball game.
The result was an electric atmosphere surrounding the Fightin’ Quakers’ upset victory over nationally ranked and conference leading Capital University.
The occasion was Band Day, when the College invited musicians from Blanchester, Clinton-Massie, East Clinton and Wilmington high schools to learn how they can continue their love for instrumental music at WC.
They met current members of the band, enjoyed dinner on campus, engaged in a quick 45-minute rehearsal and performed as guest members of the Quaker Thunder Pep Band at the high profile game.
Stephen Wadsack, director of athletic bands, said the visiting students “loved” the experience, which also featured a highly spirited crowd and close contest between two of the region’s top teams.
“It was a truly special experience once we got to the game and I was able to observe the students interacting with one another,” he said, noting that many of the high school students left asking when the next such opportunity would be (it’s in the works in conjunction with a football game). “Many of those students came away from campus that night with a different picture of what their college experience could be like at Wilmington College.”
Also, the current pep band members saw what their future could be like as this winter’s 16-member band grows into an ensemble 50 members strong.
“Current members saw and heard what we could be with those numbers!” Wadsack said. “A band that size could soon become the new normal.”
The pep band has tripled in size since Wadsack took over the fledgling group this past fall and the College has announced the expectation of hosting a marching band within a couple of years.
“The energy and atmosphere at the game Wednesday night made what we’re doing start to feel ‘real’ for some students,” he added. “I think every person left that night knowing they made a huge contribution to the atmosphere at Raizk Arena.”
Wadsack said numerous persons in attendance, including Capital supporters, approached him and band members, expressing their appreciation for the group’s role in providing a compelling atmosphere.
“One of the highlights for me was hearing from our Athletic Department and members of the basketball team about how much they appreciated the presence of the band, even crediting our work as a key contribution to securing the win that night,” he said.
The College is offering annual $1,000 Talent Awards to new members of the Pep Band beginning with the fall 2019 semester. Students interested in studying any academic major are eligible to join the group.