Behind the goofy inside jokes, obnoxious cheers, and a passion for music, pep band does a lot more than just casually play their instruments, especially during regions. While the basketball teams, cheerleaders, and pep club get housed out in hotels or local Sitka volunteers, pep band is being thrown in a church/gym with a microwave for a kitchen.
When preparing to travel, Ms. Nuss has to set very strict rules for her students, as there is a lot more free time given to the band on this trip compared to the annual jazz and music festivals. For example, they are expected to have 9-12 (or more) hours of study time, since everyone will be missing four days of school.
Once we get to Sitka, the band is required to check in with a chaperone before they play with a pep band from another school, and they’re always advised to stick together in groups of three or more for safety purposes. Even when traveling on the ferry, groups of three is the rule of thumb, mostly when out on the deck.
Playing in mass pep band is probably the biggest activity the band gets to participate in upon arriving to Sitka. All of the pep bands join together into one frankenstein band that can be extremely loud. This can be a great experience for the band kids, as they’ll not only meet new people with the same instrumentation as them, but they also get to read new music, try new cheers, share inside jokes (which keep them all together), and other fun social activities.
For senior pep banders, they have the privilege of playing in the All Star pep band. Being their last year in high school, they get special treatment compared to lower classmen. This band is basically the ultimate band. Not in size, but definitely in experience.
During the pep band’s free time, Ms. Nuss has offered them walks around Sitka to get them outdoors, especially after study time. When a pep band student claims they have no homework, Ms. Nuss suggests checking again, because she has access to everyone’s teachers, and is not afraid to contact them and ask if the student really doesn’t have anything to work on.
An issue some students in pep band might encounter is making space for all the instruments in the Kayhi van when leaving for Sitka or coming back home. With roughly fifty kids traveling with the pep band, it can be tough to pack everything into the van, and on the ferry. This isn’t including the numerous percussion instruments, music books, and the chaperones’ luggage, as it is easier for them to monitor the students with both hands.
As suggested, students should ask their parents for $20 per day they are traveling (example: if they are gone for five days, they need $100). If a student isn’t sure if they can handle their own money throughout the trip, they have the option of giving it to Ms. Nuss, who will monitor it for them. Another thing she will be watching out for is students eating/drinking enough, and what they choose to eat. There are several students who might be a concern for her, since some seem to know no limit to caffeine. The most important thing that all students attending regions should know is that they’re there to have fun. It doesn’t matter what rating the cheer team gets, or how many games we win or lose. It is important to make friends, stay active, eat healthy, don’t do drugs, use your toiletries, and for the love, shower. Everything the chaperones, teachers, and coaches tell you, it’s more often than not for your safety.