Horns, drums, screams and hoops: The Peppas have a unique and energizing sound that booms from the Siegel Center and throughout VCU – so it’s no surprise that they brought down the house in New York and Oklahoma City.
The band recently started accompanying the Rams go to the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn, where they travel alongside them and champion the team’s arrival and representing the River City national television through NBC’s “Today Show.”
Ryan Kopacsi, the Peppas’ director, said he started this tradition simply because they can.
“It’s very accessible for the bus we have in (New York City),” Kopacsi said. “We keep doing it because, frankly, it works.”
Kopacsi said he was amazed by how the band has adopted the trip with open arms.
“I love that the students get so excited for it,” Kopacsi said. “Who would be excited for a 4:30 a.m. report time? But they are.”
Riding into Rockefeller Plaza on a double decker “Havoc lives here” bus, Kopacsi said he was happy with the publicity it brings for the band
and VCU basketball in general.
“We love being ambassadors for the school,” Kopacsi said. “The time we get on the ‘Today Show’ alone is worth multi-millions of dollars in advertising. We are very lucky to be able to do it.”
This was the Peppa’s fourth year performing in Brooklyn, and it’s a tradition loved by many band members. Steven Pagach, a junior trumpet player, described the experience as “something incredible.”
“You never really think that you would ever be doing something like that,” said Pagach. “But when you actually are a part of it, it’s just mind blowing and awesome.”
Fellow trumpet player Kayen Wilborn is also a fan of the trip, pointing out the many Ram fans that travel New York City for the game.
“There are more VCU fans than I thought, and they seem to be growing each year,” Wilburn said.”
The band also uses the trip to sight-see and play for other venues around the city. In years past, they’ve been able to play at the Tribeca Hotel and the New York Library.
Pagach said he felt this experience “definitely brought (The Peppas) closer together.”
“When you have unique experiences like this it really brings individuals together and helps you realize that you are a part of something great.” Pagach said.
The Rams on the court appreciate the sentiment, as they were able to win their first two games of the tournament against Massachusetts and Davidson. Even with the loss in the final game of the A10 tournament, the band accompanied the team to Oklahoma for the NCAA tournament to provide that Peppa flair.