The College of William and Mary Marching Band (?-1995)
The early history of the William and Mary Marching Band is unclear. Throughout the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, there were various efforts to organize a marching band, each of which lasted for a few years at the most, and then collapsed. It wasn't until the early 1950s, with the coming of Dr. Charles Varner, that a marching band at William and Mary came to be.
Dr. Varner came to the College in 1952, as the new director of bands, and started a reorganization of the marching band. Now that it had a stable leader, the band began to flourish. In the '50s, '60s, and '70s, the Summer Band program provided an opportunity for high school students around the state to improve their marching and playing. This Summer Band program was run by members of the William and Mary Marching Band.
However, when Chuck Varner retired from the College in the early 1980’s, the band began to hit troubled times. By the mid 90s, under the lead of Laura Rexroth, the band was down to 30 members. This was deemed insufficient to run an official marching band, and so it was disbanded.
The William and Mary Pep Band Years (1996-present)
After the fall of 1995, in which the Marching Band had only 30 members, it disbanded, due to lack of interest in both the music faculty and the students. In the fall of 1996, the history of the William and Mary Pep Band began. It began as a similar institution to the Marching Band, in that it was a one credit class run by a Professor of Music. However, in the fall of 1998, the Athletics department took over the management of the Pep Band.
Unfortunately, the reign that the Athletics Department had over the Pep Band was tumultuous at best. The Athletic Department hired their own director, and practices were held in William and Mary Hall. There was a misunderstanding in the Athletic Department with the reasons people joined the Pep Band. The situation became so dire that, during the basketball season, only 8 Pep Band members would show up for games.
However, there was planning afoot. Under the leadership of Jason Maga, the Pep Band sat down with Athletics, the Student Government, and the Administration to work out a new direction for the Pep Band. With the full support of Athletics, the Administration, and the Student Government, the Pep Band started a flyering and mailing drive across Campus and to all incoming freshmen. In the fall of 1999, the Pep Band was reformed as totally student-run organization, under the Directorship of Jason Maga. From there, we have soared into the bright sky of freedom, justice, and the peptastic way.
The Pep Band had bigger things in store for itself. No longer content with playing in the stands alone, but not desiring the complications and stereotypes of a normal marching band, the William and Mary Pep Band sought to become a scramble band. So in the spring of 2006, a core group of individuals started planning this new chapter of history. It came to fruition in the fall of 2006, November 18th to be precise, with the first field show by a William and Mary band in 11 years. Emboldened by their success, they vowed to continue their scrambling, which leaves only one question: Are you willing to join the Pep Band on their rocket ride to scrambling glory?
To this day, the Pep Band continues to scramble both on the field and on the court.
Thanks to Jason Maga '00 and Doug Bunch '02 for information.
Membership in the Pep Band is open to anyone, no audition required! As long as you can make your instrument play, we will welcome you with open arms. Everyone from all-state musicians to those that haven't played since middle school are welcome. Membership is entirely voluntary, and you are not required to attend every single event (though it is encouraged!). There will be required rehearsals leading up to shows when we will be performing at halftime. We do request that you let us know when you will be absent, so we can plan accordingly.