There are many sounds that boom from William R. Johnson Coliseum whether it is the roar of the crowd, the hum of the buzzer, or the squeak of swift sneakers across the gym floor. There is one bellowing wall of sound that fills the entire coliseum and it comes from the Roarin’ Buzzsaws Pep Band. Every good sports event needs some music to entertain the crowd, but these guys do it with real instruments and live.
Where Buzzsaws play:
The Roarin’ Buzzsaws are an organization on campus that plays at all the home basketball games and some select volleyball games. Some Saturday mornings they are even commissioned by SFA Football Coach J.C. Harper to play for high school players interested in attending SFA in the future. As these high school students walk into the Baker Patillo Student Center for the first time, they are greeted with the sound of SFA’s fight song and famous march Wabash Cannonball. Coach Harper always asks the pep band to play those mornings to try and stick out from all the rest of the other colleges these prospective students might visit. From the looks on their faces as they walk in, you can definitely tell the pep band makes some kind of impact. Perhaps it is also due to the fact that the student center echoes loudly and the Roarin’ Buzzsaws don’t need help when it comes to volume. The only volleyball games the pep band usually gets commissioned for is the first few games of the season. Or if the volleyball is really important, but other then that volleyball is not the biggist gig the pep band plays at. The Buzzsaws are mostly for both basketball teams on campus, so it is only natural that they follow our lumberjacks and lady jacks all the way into the Southland Conference Tournament in Katy, Tx every year. SFA has done really well in the tournament the past few years and maybe some credit is due to the pep band’s huge support. The first few games of the tournament are typically when school is still in session, so with the pep band and spirit teams traveling with the basketball teams, there is always a screaming fan.
How to become a Buzzsaw:
The players in this band aren’t just any musicians and not every one can be a Roarin’ Buzzsaw. Musicians interested in the position have to go through a process of auditioning for a particular part and then get placed in to one of two bands if they make it. Only the best and loudest get to be a buzzsaw, but the pep band doesn’t have every instrument like a full stringed orchestra. Only Trumpets, Trombones, Mellophones, Baritones, Sousaphones, Saxophones, a couple Piccolos, a rhythm section, and a bass guitar player can be in the pep band. Even for the instruments that are included, there are limited spots available. After extensive auditioning, only the best of the best make it to the games.
The job of being an impenetrable force of sound is no easy task, so the duty is split up between two bands that switch off every game. Naturally, with two basketball teams, there needs to be two pep bands. Although there are different bands, there is no difference in talent. The bands are called “Purple” and “White”, just adding to SFA spirit and not discriminating. Before the switch to color names, the bands were actually separated and assigned to the men’s and women’s team. There was the men’s basketball band and the women’s basketball band. To even the playing field, the pep bands now get a chance to play at both games, no matter the gender. One night the “Purple” band will play for the lady jacks in the coliseum and then next week it will be for the lumberjacks. However, their playing schedule isn’t exactly like a box of chocolates because the directors of the pep band set up the schedule for which band will play at which game at the beginning of the season. This is to make sure each band gets an equal number of gigs and opportunity to play for either the men’s or women’s basketball team. Every player is selected and both bands are stacked with skillful musicians. The proof is all in the performance they bring every single game.
These musicians are also employed by the university to play their guts out at every game in hopes to shake up the other team and pump up our own players. As you can see in the picture, each one of them works pretty hard to be a loud and proud member of the Roarin’ Buzzsaws. Their goal is to work along side the basketball team by helping with music. It’s only fitting that their motto is to “Affect the Game”. The so called affect they bring to the game can go so far as to show up in the score. When our basketball players are getting tired and ready to call it quits, they can always depend on the buzzsaws to help them back on their feet with one toe tapping loud tune. Or another affect is when the opposing team is behind and nervous, it must be hard for them to even think on the court when the Roarin’ Buzzsaws blow their horns. Not only do the players in the pep band make noise with their horns, but with their voices as well. When they aren’t playing, they’re yelling like true fans. This is a helpful aid to teams when the chips are down and the clock ticks away to the end of the game. There will always be adoring, screaming loud fans to cheer them on in the back corner of the coliseum. Every last one of them proudly wearing and bleeding purple.
The SFA basketball season has been going really well and is on its way into the Southland Conference. Whether the pep band truly does affect the game or just makes the game that much more enjoyable by performing fun music, every home game is a treat.