Bringing gold to every game

The Golden Grizzly men’s basketball team was neck and neck with the Youngstown State Penguins on Jan. 4.

There was a lull in the student section and a few people grumbled about bad calls.

Suddenly, the booming voice of Dallas Long, a senior and trombone player in the pep band, cut through the murmurs:

“Look out Penguins, here comes climate change!”

Some of the crowd cheered and others laughed with an eye roll. The energy was revived and people were again ready to cheer OU to victory.

However, the band does more than play instruments during breaks in the game, it is their job to pump up the crowd with OU pride.

The pep band was started in 1998, the same year that OU became the Golden Grizzlies.

All of the members of the band are enrolled in the course Golden Grizzly Athletic Band (MUE 332). It’s made up of over 100 students, according to the Golden Grizzlies website.

The band has built up a varied selection of songs to perform during events, ranging from hits like Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” to the classic Star Wars opener. 

The band plays at both the men’s and women’s basketball games as well as other OU activities.

They also travel with the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s teams for post-season play and annual conference tournaments.

Emily Meyers, a junior studying communications, has been playing bass guitar with the pep band for three years now.

Having to attend more than 30 games per year between the two teams, things can get hectic. However, Meyers is glad she’s a part of it.

“Once I walk in the O’rena and approach the band area, it becomes a well-deserved break from the day,” Meyers said.

Sophomore Lauren Shin, a pre-physical therapy major, plays the sousaphone and has been in the band for two years. 

“Joining the band is one of the best decisions I’ve made since I’ve come to school here.” 

In 2007, two members of the pep band, Anthony Gallina and Ben Fielder, formed the Grizz Gang.

The Grizz Gang is now one of the largest student organizations on campus, according to the OU Grizz Gang website. Similar to the pep band, their website states the goal is to “bring Grizzly spirit and passion to all home athletic events.” They also promote OU athletics around campus.

Gallina was a part of the pep band for four years before branching out with Fielder in the fall of 2007. In their first year alone, Gallina said they were able to increase attendance from around 50 fans to over 500 before the season was over.

Still, Gallina feels there is something especially important about the band.

“While it is always hopeful that Grizz Gang students attend each game, the band is consistently at all games, so they truly have a vital role to always bring that home-court intensity through chants and through their energy-infused songs during breaks.”

He stated that over the years, the OU basketball teams and coaching staff have made many comments about how grateful and proud they are of the pep band.

The pep band is proud to  have become an integral part of the OU basketball game experience.

If interested in joining the Golden Grizzlies Band, head to the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance’s website to find out more.

Possible headlines:

  1. The Pep Band: A Vital Source of Spirit

  2. The Pep Band: The Power Behind the Roar

  3. The Pep Band: Bringing Gold to Every Game