The Lincoln-Way East High School Pep Band is headed to Peoria this week to perform at the state basketball tournament.
The 90-member band, which revs up the crowd at home basketball games, auditioned for the opportunity in December by sending in an audition tape to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).
Students learned in early January that they had been selected to perform during two semifinal games and two finals games at the Peoria Civic Center - Carver Arena on March 16.
"The band is a large group of really energetic students," said music instructor Christopher Mroczek. "They really enjoy playing at the games and supporting the team; and they always bring a ton of energy! It is really exciting that they will get to show off their musicianship and high-energy attitude at the state level."
Every year, the IHSA holds an open audition process each year for any high school pep band that is interested in playing at state level indoor sport competitions, mainly basketball.
The Lincoln-Way East High School Pep Band put together an audition tape in November and sent it in in mid-December.
They learned the first week back from winter break that their band had been selected to entertain spectators at the IHSA state basketball tournament.
"It was an incredible way to start the second semester," said Mroczek.
This is the first time that East's pep band has performed at the state competition.
The 90-member band will perform at four different games on Saturday, March 16. Two of the games will be during mid-day, which is the semifinal games, and then two finals games in the evening.
The band will perform before each game, during timeouts and between quarters - just like it does at home basketball games.
Band members plan to wear their Lincoln-Way East Pep Band shirts and play some classic favorites, such as "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago and "Gimme Some Lovin'" by The Spencer Davis Group as well as some newer tunes, such as "Tonight! We Are Young" by Fun and "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" by Usher, with fun favorites mixed in such as "Stacie's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne, "8675309" by Tommy Tutone and "Come Out and Play" by The Offspring.
"I am very appreciative of Principal Scott Tingley, Music Department Chair Bert Johnson and the Lincoln-Way East Music Department faculty for their incredible support this whole selection/trip process," said Mroczek. "I am also very thankful to boys' basketball Coach Rich Kolimas, girls' basketball coach Jim Martin and Lincoln-Way East Athletic Director Mark Vander Kooi for allowing the band to play at both boys' and girls' varsity basketball games and for their continued support and interest in the pep band."
The pep band is leaving LWE at 8am Saturday morning. The first set of games starts at noon, and the second set at 6:30pm. Each set is two games. The games are being held at the Carter Arena inside the Peoria Civic Center. LWE fans are welcome, but won't have to make the trip to Peoria to see the band perform at the state tournament. It will be featured on Live TV at some point during the game, said Mroczek.
"We're incredibly excited about this opportunity," he added, "and looking forward to jamming and bringing a new level of energy to Peoria on the 16th."
Your last local opportunity to enjoy the incredible LWE PEP BAND is this Friday during the faculty game at Lincolnway East. The faculty game starts at 7:00pm Friday in the LWE Gym, and the pep band will play during the game and rehearse beforehand at 5:30pm.