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, August 31st, 2015 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,
3 simple reasons:
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.
Unbelievable Quantities of Tickets/Food/Travel/Fun Given to You for FREE
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:
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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...
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.