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LAST HURRAH: Jaycee Carroll high-fives fans as he leaves the Spectrum court after what was likely his last home game. Click Arts&Life for a link to photos. / Photo by Tyler Larson

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grammatically Speaking:

"We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M."

--Martha Brockenbrough, grammarian and founder, National Grammar Day

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Pep Band has best seats and great spirit at men's home games

By C.Ann Jensen

January 28, 2008 | LOGAN -- Music helps fuel the fans at the Utah State University Basket Ball games courtesy of the Aggie Pep Band.

The Pep Band, comprised of 30 students from the Aggie Marching Band, is at every home game giving the soundtrack to the men's basketball team.

Nathan Ward, a mellophone player in the Pep Band, said, "I think it means more to have a live band there [at the games]. They could use a CD to play the Fight Song and Scotsman, but we get the crowed going."

At any home game you can spot the Pep Band preparing to play 45 minutes before tipoff. Trickling in from the opposing team's entrance, Pep Band members are dressed in their uniform blue and white warm ups, with their Aggie Marching Band T-shirts on, and carrying instrument cases. As USU students run through the Spectrum to find good seats in the student section, Pep Band members seem unaffected by the chaos of the stampede of students.

"I like being in Pep Band," said Mike Hylton, "because I don 't have to fight anyone for a seat, I just show up and get one."

From behind Hylton's drum set, one can get the perfect view of any Aggie basketball game.

But the premium seating for basketball games isn't the only thing attracting students to pep band. Heather Wardell, a flute player in the band, said she enjoys "playing for a team that actually wins as opposed to football."

The band feeds off the intense energy of the Spectrum crowed, joining in on the usual Aggie chants of "You suck" and "Stupid" as well as a few musical ones of their own that they have coined over the years -- namely the F-A-G cheer played by the brass section for the opposing team. The cheer is played when members of the opposing team are introduced at the beginning of the game. The Pep Band plays the notes F-A-G, becoming louder and more obnoxious with every player who is announced, and only relenting once the USU players are announced.

With military precision the Pep Band snaps their attention from the game back to their instruments to entertain the crowed with the William Tell Overture. Fans ride their imaginary horses and its back to the game.

At the next timeout the crowed cheers loudly and through their screaming and cheering the strains of the military snare beat signaling the beginning of the Scotsman can be heard. The Scotsman finishes and Tyler Whittaker, the student director, hold his hands over his head forming a triangle. "That Aggie Spirit!" he yells out to the band. Whittaker uses hand signals and flash cards with numbers on them to signal the band what to play next.

Just like the other Aggie sports fans, members of the Pep Band go to Angie's restaurant for post game socializing. They are immediately recognized by fellow students and asked about a few of the songs they play. One students asks, "What does the band say during that one song? It's my favorite song you guys play." Without a hesitation, in unison the group of Pep Band-o's responds with "Humalla-baballa-beebala- booballa- hummala- baballa- beeballa-bop!"

Taken back by their response, the student says, "Cool. Can you teach me that?"

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