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Spirit band brings rhythm to the court

Spirit band brings rhythm to the court

By Jacob Edelman

Section: Featured, Features

March 13, 2015

Originally from Cherry Hill, NJ, Alex Faye ’15, a politics and American Studies major with minors in Legal Studies and music, keeps himself busy on campus. He serves as the musical director for various programs on campus, including the student-run pops orchestra Top Score. He also serves as a member of the Brandeis Wind Ensemble, a coordinator for Waltham Group’s Prospect Hill Kid’s Club, a senior interviewer for the admissions office, the admissions ambassadors coordinator and a co-president of the Brandeis Democrats. Oh, and he’s also writing a thesis on the relationship between the arts and the presidency of the United States. “My nature is that I always have to be doing something. If I’m not doing something for more than two hours, I start to get antsy,” Faye admitted.

Now, as a senior in his final semester, Faye is kicking off yet another pursuit. “I was having a conversation with Vice President Flagel about how at the other schools he worked at, he was very involved with marching and pep bands, and how when I was in high school, I was very involved with [them] too. I was a drum major,” he said. Faye continued, “We have a ton of talented musicians, and there was no reason we couldn’t have a really unique, Brandeisian spirit band.”

Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel was very involved with the spirit band from the start, drumming up support while serving as the first advisor of the band. He has held many discussions and worked to organize with Faye to bring the concept to life. He even hired a musical director. In Faye’s words, “He made the band possible.”

Ken Field is the new go-to musical director for the Brandeis spirit band. Originally from New Jersey, attending college at Brown University and now living in Cambridge, Field brings a great deal of experience to the table. Majoring in computer science, he worked for several years in speech recognition, synthesis and digital signal processing at a Cambridge research firm before pursuing music full time. He’s been in this career for the last 15 years, having released multiple CDs and other pieces, while additionally performing with and leading a number of different groups.

Faye and Field both stress that the program is not a “Big U” style pep band. “We wanted to find a way for students who like to play in marching bands and pep bands to have a way to do that at Brandeis while finding more support for the teams. Instead of playing a lot of ‘ra-ra’ things, we wanted to do cool, jazzy and unique music,” Faye said.Pep band

Currently comprised of about 15 members, the band has only played at Brandeis basketball games, but they hope to be able to expand to other campus events. They plan to be present and performing during next month’s festival of the arts. “The reaction from the crowd at the game, it’s been great. It’s new to them. It’s new to us,” Faye said about his favorite part of the band’s experience.

“I’d like a wide variety of participation. Not just musicians who are very accomplished, but also ones who are feeling a little less fluent on their instruments,” Faye said.

Thinking about what he would like to see in the band down the line, Faye says, “In 10 years I would love to come back and go to a basketball game and see 100 people in the pep band with cool Brandeis uniforms; just for it to be a really big thing that everyone’s into, everyone’s passionate about and a real part of the Brandeis community.”

Although some might imagine that there’s an oxymoron embedded in the phrase “cool Brandeis uniforms,” the hope for the band to become a regular at Brandeis sports and events is an exciting prospect. To find out how to get involved, those interested should contact Field or Faye via Brandeis email.

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