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Pep Band Boosts Spirit

by Greta Petry (September 22, 2005)

Kevin Champagne is looking for a few good musicians.

Champagne is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Music who leads the University at Albany pep band. He also directs the University Symphonic Band.

"A school as large as UAlbany should have games like you see on television . . .cheerleaders, dancers, crazy fans, and a pep band . . . it all goes together to make the games big events," said Champagne, who is starting the band's second season for football and third season for basketball.

Thirty-two students have signed up for the pep band so far this season. "Not everyone can make every game, but we should have at least 25 playing at each game," said Champagne, who by day is band director at Lansingburgh High School. There may still be room for more musicians, especially for games around the holidays, when most students have left the area for home.

"We actually have a decent balance (of instruments) right now, but you can never have enough low brass . . . it fills out the sound and makes the rest of the band crank it out a little more," he said.

Champagne said the band has helped boost school spirit, just like cheerleaders or a boisterous group of fans does. "It gets the crowd going," he said.

Student musicians can earn $20 per game, according to Champagne, who said the goal is to ensure a full band at every game. There are also two University staff members who are regulars in the band. If you would like to join the pep band, contact Champagne at

The best part is, it's fun.

"People joke around, and we have fun at the rehearsals and at the games. I've received many compliments from people in the stands, saying how happy they are to see a band, and to see it getting bigger and better. The best part so far was the America East Tournament in Binghamton last year. Even though we lost a close game, it was great playing in front of such a big, excited crowd . . . the band had a blast!" Champagne said.

While the band helps support the teams, Champagne's wife Anne, and the couple's children, Julia and Olivia, cheer him on by attending games.


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