This quarter we're happy
to bring you even more Pep Band Stories. Our first story comes from
one of our "older" conductors - "Daddy" Ray
You can title this story
"Daddy Ray Gets REALLY Old!"
First, a little background
for the benefit of those of you who don't know me: I came to RPI
as a part-time grad student in Spring '94. I was in my late twenties
and working a full-time job. After going to a few hockey games and
catching the Pep Band bug again (I played with the marching and
pep bands as an undergrad at Syracuse), I joined Pep Band, and the
rest, as they say, is history. (You know you're a band geek when
you become a legend in more than one pep band!)
Anyway, as a grad student
who was a few years removed from his undergrad days, I was -- shall
we say -- on the higher end of the Pep Band's average age scale.
This was not more evident than the '96-97 season, the year I was
conductor. It was during this season that I hit a milestone -- the
dreaded THREE-OH! (Of course, as I write this, that doesn't seem
so old now!)
The Saturday following
my big day (my actual birthday was mid-week), we had a home game
against (I think it was) Union. As conductor, I was the first one
to show up at West Hall for rehearsal that morning. I unlocked the
door to the band room -- and was greeted by streams of black crepe
paper and a large banner on the blackboard that read: "LOOK
WHO'S 30!" The next thing I knew, I found myself walking out
of the room sighing and shaking my head.
I was greeted outside
West Hall by Mike Brown and Amy Van Epps (both of whom were wearing
all black and big grins). My conversation with Mike went something
Me: (reserved silence)
Mike: "How's it going, Ray?"
Me: (more silence)
Mike: "Something wrong, Ray?"
Me: "Oh, nawwwwwww . . . "
I don't remember much
about rehearsal that morning, but I do remember the discussions
(threats?) about what they were going to do for me at the game that
night. Some of the suggestions included having my name announced
over the PA, running the "LOOK WHO'S 30" banner (instead
of the traditional RPI flag) around the Fieldhouse after each goal,
and making me sit in the penalty box during the game. Fortunately,
none of it came to pass. I left (escaped?) the game thinking to
myself, "phew, I'm safe."
Yeah, right. So I thought.
It had become tradition
for some of us to go to the Pub after home games. Thinking that
it was just another post-game night, I asked a few people if they
were going, and they said yes. So I proceeded over to the Union
and upstairs to the Pub. I sat there drinking a beer and reading
a newspaper. After about twenty minutes, Amy was the first person
to show up. I asked where Mike was, and she said he wasn't feeling
well. (Mike didn't look too hot during the game, and I fell for
the ruse -- although at this point, I didn't know it yet.)
In any case, Amy and
I conversed for a while longer until I looked at the door -- and
saw Mike coming in. My immediate reaction was, "what are you
doing here? I thought you were sick." The next thing I knew,
Mike was going behind the bar and opening the refrigerator, from
which he pulled out a very large box containing a very large cake!
Following Mike through the door was the rest of the Pep Band! The
next thing I knew, "Happy Birthday" was being sung to
me by all the patrons in a crowded bar.
I gotta admit, sometimes
it's nice to be loved! I wore a smile all the way home. (And even
after doling out slices of cake to my neighbors, I still had cake
Thanks for sharing that
one Ray. Just remember we're already planning your 40th!
Now, I figured I'd add
a story of my own to the mix for this quarter. The challenge of
course was picking just one to tell - and making sure it was close
to PG-13. My story comes from the Colgate/Cornell road trip my junior
year (97-98). We're on the bus back to Troy and I'm hanging out
with a freshman that would one day become manager. The band stops
at this grocery store (A Grand Union I think) in the middle of no
where so people can stop and get snacks and the like. So she and
I go in to forage.
People should also keep
in mind that it's the holiday season (I have this image of Cornell's
manager in a santa hat). So of course every store has their own
holiday items on sale. At the registers, on top of an end-cap, are
these snowmen dolls. Nice, happy "Frosty-the-Snowman"
clones with bright red rosy cheeks. Underneath said snowmen is a
big sign - and to this day I wish I had asked for a copy of it -
"Snowball the Snowman!
Suffice it to say that
when we get back to the bus, she's got a confused look on her face
and the "Three Musketeers" are wondering why Chris is
laughing so hard.
If you've got a favorite
story or memory from your time with the Pep Band you'd like to share,
please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll include it in the next edition of the Pep Band Alumni