When basketball teams win championships, lots of people get to help cut down the net. But I don’t know how often pep band members are included in that list.
When the Maryland women’s team won the 2012 ACC tournament, though, they invited band members to take a snip out of the net. Which just shows how much stock the Terps place in the support they get from their band.
“They’re really important to our program,” Coach Brenda Frese told me this week. “I can’t say enough about them. The camaraderie that we’ve been able to have with the band has been a lot of fun. They’re really selfless, they’re all about the university, and it means a lot to all of us. They’re just really passionate, loyal supporters of our team.”
Which is why Frese is now involved in the band’s offseason fundraising effort. See, the band entered the spring trying to raise $8,000 to get a new (used) van, since its old (old) one was breaking down:
The Mighty Sound of Maryland needs a new band van! The current vehicle is used to transport equipment all over campus; the band can’t function without it. Our old van doesn’t have many miles left, so we need your help to purchase a larger, safer, and more reliable vehicle.
The band was hoping to raise $8,000. When Frese heard about the campaign, she jumped on board almost immediately, donating $500 and repeatedly encouraging others to chip in.
The kids in the band are some of our very best, most loyal & passionate supporters. We are happy to take a turn supporting them.— Brenda Frese (@BrendaFrese) April 29, 2014
“Obviously I’m just trying to be able to help them in any way,” she said. “We really wanted to help. They support us through so many things, so to be able to now give back to them in any way possible and bring awareness to the band was, for us, a no-brainer. We’re obviously happy to be able to support them like they do for us.”
Thanks in part to the support of the women’s team, its coaches and players, the band soared past its original goal. They’ve already raised more than $11,000, and are now trying to get $25,000, enough to buy a new van.
Either way, Frese said the connection will remain. Players on the team slap hands with band members during games. They take photos together after games. Band members heckle opponents. Heck, a Terps guard once hopped into the band section and started playing the drums. So even though Frese’s musical career consisted of unsuccessful experiments with the trumpet and clarinet, she has thrown herself into this effort.
“There’s a great unity between the two programs,” Frese said. “It’s pretty cool to be able to give back and help another program that’s so critical and important to our program.”
For more information, see the band’s fundraising page.