Music for the Love of the Game
It’s nearly impossible to sit still at a Bradley Basketball game. Between the heart-stopping action on the court and the upbeat rhythm of the band, you can’t help but move to the beat, cheer and clap.
The Bradley Band, led by Darrell Brown, Director of Bands at Bradley, plays such an important role at home games, inspiring fans to jump to action.
“It is all about sensing the energy and flow of the event. The right song at the right time can really push that energy forward,” Brown said. “I am not sure that we affect the team, but it does affect the vibe of the event, which can lead to better energy in the crowd, which does affect the team.”
Sophomore Angela Grabo, a clarinet player, loves the game atmosphere. “We cheered at the men’s home opener against Utah State and found out the next day that nearly 6,000 people in Carver Arena were cheering on the Braves. It’s incredible to stand courtside and look around at the sea of red Braves fans!”
There are a handful of songs that really get the crowd going, such as “Charge On, Bradley,” “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “The Hey” song by Gary Glitter. When “Seven Nation Army” starts, everyone knows it’s game time and the energy in the room spikes. “The reason I have stayed in band is for the music,” said saxophone player Hallie Fedorowicz, a senior studio design major. “I love the songs we play, and Dr. Brown always picks out fun pieces that keep the lineup interesting.”
“Dr. Brown wants all of us to succeed. He makes sure we are practicing our parts so that during band time he can fit all of the pieces together smoothly,” said senior clarinet player John Kasregis, adding, “I love to play popular music at basketball games and cheer for Bradley.”
Although many band members weren’t basketball fans prior to joining the band, when they’re performing, they’re all in. “We cheer throughout the entire game and often lose our voices afterward. At the exhibition game against St. Ambrose this year, I lost my voice five minutes into the first half,” said junior education major Gabe Johnson, who plays trumpet.
Even when the team is losing, the show must go on, and Brown keeps the enthusiasm in check. “He is always doing or saying something funny during the game to make us laugh,” Fedorowicz said. Senior Nichole Thompson agreed, adding that Brown is just as excited and invested in the game as anyone else.
The Bradley Band performs at all men’s and women’s home games, which is a huge time commitment for Brown and band members who are also involved in other music ensembles on campus in addition to their classes, homework and other activities. The gruesome schedule is an athletic feat in itself.
Next time you go to a basketball game, be sure to cheer on the band as well as the team. They are just as committed as the athletes and are essential to a great experience that truly captures the Bradley spirit. Go BU!
— Emily Potts