BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Roughly four hours before the VCU men’s basketball team faced George Washington University in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, the two university pep bands engaged in a competition of their own.
The Peppas set up outside the Barclays Center just after noon on Saturday and performed several signature songs in front of a sizeable crowd. The stakes weren’t as high as the basketball that ensued, but VCU band director Ryan Kopasci said it’s a tradition that helps bands show school pride.
“They do it at the Final Four every year,” Kopasci said. “We did something similar in the CAA with Mason. So when we both came over here it’s something that we wanted to do. It’s nothing real official. It’s more for the fans than anything.”
Jared Peyton, a senior tuba player for the Peppas, echoed Kopasci’s sentiments, saying the battle of the bands was a friendly competition to help get the fans involved.
“This is fun because we’re not really competing,” Peyton said. “Musicians don’t have to choose sides. It’s more like a community thing.”
The Peppas, who have garnered national attention for their halftime rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” are accustomed to impromptu performances, Peyton said. As a freshman, the the band roamed the streets of Chicago during VCU’s Final Four run in 2011, playing on various street corners until they were asked to move.
There was no victor in the battle of the bands competition, but VCU did top George Washington on the basketball court later that afternoon.