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Widener Pep Band plays at football game

Sound of School Spirit

Starting this fall, the resurgence of the Widener Pep Band has brought a renewed sense of pride to the university community by pumping up crowds at sports games and other events around campus with lively music such as the Widener fight song “Hear the Roar.”

But the dedicated group of 20-plus students, led by Band Director Dr. Iain Moyer, is also part of a much larger reinvestment in the arts at Widener University. The vision is one rooted in the deep traditions of music from Widener’s beginnings as Pennsylvania Military College (PMC). It was during this time that John Philip Sousa, who composed the iconic march “Stars and Stripes Forever,” wrote a piece for the PMC concert band called “The Dauntless Battalion.”

Decades later, Widener continues to be a home for non-music majors. In fact, the music department offers a variety of scholarships for students who join any number of Widener’s musical ensembles, including the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Music program, Chorale, and Pep Band.

“While it’s important to concentrate on academic studies, a student at Widener can also keep music a part of their lives throughout their college career,” said Moyer.

Freshman Jennifer Rohrbach, a dual English and creative writing major, noted this idea of not leaving your instrument at home led her to choose Widener.

“I knew it would be something I would really miss,” said Rohrbach, who has played the flute since elementary school. “I never had plans to go to school for music or be a professional, but I’m really happy I get to continue it in college.”

Jeremy Wong, a sophomore engineering major, added the dynamic of playing at sporting events has been fulfilling for him as a musician.

“Everyone goes to the football games and basketball games, so we really get to perform for a broader audience and they appreciate us being there,” he said.

And with the success of the pep band, Widener President James T. Harris hopes they can spark enough interest to develop a full-fledged marching band one day.

“If we are really about developing the whole person, part of that is how you intellectually grow, but there is this other side – this creative side – that we really want to continue to promote in our students as well,” said Harris.