Join the Penn Band!

I’m a Freshman / Sophomore / Junior or Transfer / New Graduate Student / Penn Student who doesn’t have enough to do, how do I actually Join the Penn Band?

Congratulations! By visiting this page you have joined the Penn Band!

All you have to do now is show up to the first band rehearsal on Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Platt Performing Arts House! (Platt is at 160 Stouffer Commons, 3702 Spruce Street). If you know how to play an instrument, and you own said instrument, that’s great! Bring it with you and play. If you know how to play an instrument, and but don’t own said instrument, that’s great too! We have tons of loaners, most of which no longer carry fatal diseases. You should have basic knowledge of your instrument, and if you need an instrument, we can help!

The Penn Band welcomes instrumentalists of all types and talents, from keytar to zither to the more traditional brass, woodwind and percussionists. If you can make noises with an instrument, you can join the Penn Band.

It doesn't matter what year you're in. We welcome all Penn undergraduate and graduate students. It's never too late to join the Penn Band!

You should definitely keep reading about the Band on the rest of this page, but if you have more questions for us,

email us at join@pennband.net

With so many different options of groups to join on Penn’s Campus, why should I join the Penn Band?

3 simple reasons:

  1. Easy to Join, Easy to Attend

    The Penn Band Audition is one of the most highly competitive in the whole university. If you can find the Band Room (R. Greer Cheeseman III Band Room, Room 182 in the Platt Performing Arts House, it’s right next to the Quad and behind the Bejing Chinese Restaurant), you can join the band. If you can’t find the Band Room, you can call 215-898-8719. If you can’t find the Band Room and are unwilling to call the Band Office Phone, we unfortunately have to reject you from joining the Band. Sorry.

    Once you’ve entered the Band Room you’ll discover what millions already know: The time commitment for the Penn Band is delightfully manageable. During the fall there are two 2-hour rehearsals and a football game (one of the rehearsals takes place on Franklin Field, awesome!) per week. During the winter and spring there’s only one 2-hour rehearsal per week and Men’s and Women’s Basketball Games (as well as the occasional lacrosse game, track meet, soccer game; I don’t know, we play at a lot of games).

    Attendance is important, but we understand people have other commitments. Members are simply required to attend at least 50% of all Monday night rehearsals, and attend both the Monday night (music) and Wednesday night (field show) rehearsals if they want to perform in that week's pre-game and halftime shows. This system works well – our 80+ members show up en force quite frequently not because they are forced to, but because they want to! Go figure!

    There are benefits to good attendance - Members who show up to 4 home games and 8 rehearsals during the Fall Semester attain Good Standing, giving them privileges such as voting and preference on roadtrips where selections are necessary due to space limitations (such as the NCAA tournament). Most of our members fall within this category.

  2. Unbelievable Quantities of Tickets/Food/Travel/Fun Given to You for FREE

    Click here to check out the places we've been during our 112 year history!

    In your time as a member of the Penn Band you will never have to purchase a ticket to a Penn sporting event. In addition to every home football and basketball game, if you want to take a road trip to Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell or Dartmouth you can do so, at least once a year, for FREE. In fact, here’s a list of all the events the Penn Band has recently attended for free and the reason we were there:

    Sports

    Football

    • Travel all throughout the Ivy and Patriot leagues! Includes trips to exotic places such as San Diego, CA, and......Hanover, NH!

    Men's and Women's Basketball

    Just like football, we travel to every single Ivy men's basketball game, from Princeton's Space Mountain-eqsue gym to Dartmouth's high school-esque gym. But the best example of free travel is when we go to NCAA basketball tournaments. Here's where we've been over the past decade:

    • 1999 Men’s NCAA Tournament in Seattle WA
    • 2000 Men’s NCAA Tournament in Winston-Salem, NC
    • 2001 Women’s NCAA Tournament in Lubbock, TX
    • 2002 Men’s NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, PA
    • 2003 Men's NCAA Tournament in Boston, MA
    • 2004 Women's NCAA Tournament in Bridgeport, CT
    • 2005 Men's NCAA Tournament in Cleveland, OH
    • 2006 Men's NCAA Tournament in Dallas, TX
    • 2007 Men's NCAA Tournament in Lexington, KY
    • other sporting venues on occasion during the course of the year:
      • Wrestling
      • Lacrosse
      • Men’s Baseball
      • Synchronized Swimming
      • Sprint Football
      • Women’s Volleyball
      • Men’s Club Ice Hockey
      • Men’s Swimming
      • Women's Lacrosse (Including the last three NCAA Tournaments, as well as the 2007 Final Four)
      • Women's Softball

    Campus Events (annual appearances)

    • New Student Orientation
    • Convocation
    • Freshman Performing Arts Night
    • Alumni Receptions and Tailgates
    • Hey Day
    • Concert on the Green
    • Alumni Day
    • Commencement

    Special Events that have occurred over the past decade, including national TV broadcasts:

    • 1999 Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida
    • 2000 Universal Studios Florida
    • Hershey Park
    • Dorney Park
    • Six Flags Great Adventure
    • 2000 WBCA College-All Star Game
    • 2000 Team USA vs Team China Women’s Basketball
    • MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews and Rudolph Gulliani (2002)
    • ESPN Gameday Live at Franklin Field (2002)
    • Fox and Friends Morning Show (2003)
    • Joint performance with the University of Virginia Pep Band (2003, 2004)
    • Men's Football in San Diego, California (2004)
    • Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida (2004)
    • Charity Concert for VH1 Save the Music - High School Band Day (2005)
    • Southwest Airlines 4th of July High School Honor Band (2005)
    • Men's Lacrosse NCAA tournament at Lincoln Financial Field (2005)
    • Performance with Rock Legend Simon Kirke (2007)
    • Southwest Airlines 4th of July High School Honor Band (2007)
    • Performance at C-SPAN Election Rally (2008)
    • Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida (2008)
    • Philadelphia Zoo 150th anniversary celebration (2009)
    • 76ers game at Wachovia Center (2009)

    If you want to meet doting alumni who love the band and hence love you, who may or may not be rich, single and looking for a young trophy spouse/stud to marry for money, you can do so for free. You also receive free food, nearly all the time. By January last year, Penn Band freshman had put on nearly 500 pounds apiece; fortunately, a rigorous training regimen quickly helped them shed that weight, and now the band’s as attractive as ever.

  3. You Will Probably Make Friends

    Look, honestly, you may or may not be socially adept, but if you join the Penn Band it is pretty impossible to not make friends. In the history of the Penn Band there has only been one friendless human being - his name was R. Greer Cheeseman III. His predicament depressed him so much that he’s now the band director and requires us all to be his friends. So I guess my point is, everyone who joins band makes friends.

In High School my Marching Band was no fun. From marching to performing the same show week after week, it was really boring. How is the Penn Band any different?

Well, we don’t march. We’re a scramble band, which means we run from formation to formation, while someone tells a joke over the Public Address system. And all of our jokes are hilarious because we write them! Every week during football season we perform a different halftime show, whether we’re at home or on the road. Also, if you think the halftime shows suck, you can show up to Show Writing (either on Monday or Tuesday) and we’ll put you in your place, or agree that you’re funny. Probably not the latter though.But actually, you will be able to contribute to the show writing for that week! New ideas are always welcome!

Look, those reasons are great, I’m an idiot for not joining immediately but I still have questions, like, umm… what sort of music do you play?

The Penn Band has a long-standing commitment to playing the greatest music ever written. From arrangements written by professional arrangers to Penn Band originals, we are always looking for new music to play. Some of the charts we are currently playing include:

Additionally, if we don’t own it, we’ll arrange it, or try to buy it, or you’ll arrange it, but somehow we’ll get it and play it. And, if it doesn’t suck, maybe we’ll play it at a game.

So you play awesome music, make friends, and receive a variety of wonderful things for free all the time. I’m still not sold; do you do other things too?

That’s such a disgusting oversimplification but I suppose I’ll entertain the question. We perform in front of thousands of people at sporting events and represent Penn in many regions of the country. Once every four years, we record a CD. Not one of those wussy 4-songs-and-we're-spent efforts. We're talkin' over 60 minutes of music and mirth! We write humorous halftime shows for football games, and most academics and cultural critics agree that our unsurpassed wit and flair for social commentary make us the voice of our generation.

Additionally, a Band that plays together, plays together. Outside of the performance arena, members of the Penn Band do a lot together. From parties to baseball games to amusement park trips to bowling to the annual semiformal, the Penn Band hangs out together. Many members house together, and heck, over the years many have even gotten married! When you join the Penn Band, you're not only joining a group of musicians, you're joining a Family - friends who stay friends long after their undergraduate days are over.

Remember: It's better to play with a group than to play with yourself...

A word from our Director Greer Cheeseman (SEAS '77)

There's not a whole lot I can add that hasn't already been said better by students. But having been in the band for way too long, as both an undergrad and an (alleged) adult, I have a unique perspective on the Penn Band Experience.

My semi-standard response to just what is the Penn Band is that we are equal parts music/performance, support of Penn and Penn Athletics, and social. And no one aspect is more important than the others. At times we are a PR arm of the university, at others the most obvious representation of Penn, and then we can also be a mobile party on a bus to some venue in New England.

The band is one of the few groups on campus that meets and performs throughout the whole year. So in 4 years you'll have seen more college campuses than you thought existed, played for thousands of fans, racked up some Frequent Flier miles (on a bus; sorry, they don't count towards anything), and made a bunch of friends that will last a lifetime.

When I talk to Penn and Penn Band alumni, talk often drifts back to some band-related event: "Remember the Final Four year?" "Remember when the goalposts came down?" "What ever happened to the Horse's Ass winner of 19xx?" Don't get me wrong, academics are important and why you're at Penn. But I have yet to talk to any Penn alum who wants to reminisce about a Math 240 class. Extra-curricular activities are all about doing something you like, and have fun doing. That is the Penn Band.

Greer