Tiger Pep Band at DePauw University

Tiger Pep Band at DePauw University
Tiger Pep Band
School DePauw University
Location Greencastle, Indiana
Conference Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
Founded 1995
Director Patrick Meyer
Members 20
Uniform A black polo shirt with yellow side panels, with the band's logo embroidered on the left chest, worn with khaki pants.

The Tiger Pep Band is a student-led and student-funded ensemble at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. The band has been recognized several times among the best in collegiate sports, promoting sportsmanship and civility, and has been hailed as "best pep band in Division III athletics [1]".



The Tiger Pep Band was founded on September 9, 1995, and first appeared at a DePauw University football match against Albion College[2]. The first student directors were Jason Dibbler and Christine Russell, and were selected by Director of Bands Dr. Craig T. Paré. Prior to the formation of the Tiger Pep Band, the DePauw University Band appeared at football contests in 1993 and 1994, and the DePauw Marching Band performed from the early 20th century until 1988, when it was discontinued.

The ensemble's habit of off-campus travel was established early in its history, when it appeared at the 1996 Battle for the Monon Bell at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana [3]. However, it was not until 2002 that the band made its first post-season and out-of-state travel, supporting the DePauw Basketball men's and women's teams in their NCAA championship runs in Ohio and Indiana.

Their playlist includes roughly one hundred pieces aside from DePauw's fight song, "Here's to DePauw," and alma mater, "A Toast to DePauw." The styles include rock and roll classics, top 40 hits, movie and TV soundtracks, and jazz standards.

With this variety of music, as well as custom-authored cheers, unusual outfits, cooperative performances with other bands, and unique auxiliary units, the Tiger Pep Band was said by one out-of-state journalist to have a "Division I zaniness[4]."


In addition to performing for DePauw University's own football and men's and women's basketball teams at home, the Tiger Pep Band has established a reputation for travelling on the road, which is somewhat unusual for Division III bands. In addition to annual appearances at the Battle for the Monon Bell between DePauw University and Wabash College, the band has been the official band of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournament each year since it started in 2002[5].

The band has also performed for several NCAA tournaments following the Final Four appearance and subsequent third-place finish of DePauw's women's basketball team in 2002[6]. When DePauw' team lost in the Final Four and the band remained in the stadium to play for the championship game alongside Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Rose Pep Band, it so impressed NCAA officials that they named the bands as the best in the nation in Division III athletics and invited them to return as the official bands for the 2003 national basketball tournament. These performances were selected among favorite Final Four moments by a journalist from D3hoops.com, a popular Web site covering Division III basketball[7].

Later, the Tiger Pep Band also appeared as the official band for the 2003 NCAA Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship and represented DePauw at the 2003 NCAA Tennis Championship. The band or its performance units have also appeared at non-DePauw events, including Greencastle, Indiana's holiday parade, at an Indianapolis Ice hockey contest, and Putnam County's annual Relay for Life event.

By virtue of their performances at NCAA and SCAC tournaments and the Battle for the Monon Bell, the band has appeared on several television networks, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, HDNet, and Indianapolis' PBS affiliate. They are regularly heard on WGRE radio.

Performance Units

The Tiger Pep Band is composed of performance entities in addition to its corps of musicians, including the Tiger Pep Band Tiger Maniacs, the Tiger Pep Band Tiger Color Guard, and the now-defunct Tiger Pep Band Tiger Drumline.

The musician component of the ensemble is not restricted to traditional band instruments. In addition to occasional use of kazoos, bicycle horns, and other auxiliary noise makers, the band has a violin section[8] and has included performers playing oboe, string bass, and electric guitar.

The Tiger Pep Band currently wears black polo shirts featuring yellow side panels, with khaki pants. Earlier uniforms were variations of yellow, black, and white polo shirts worn with black pants and white shoes, meant to imitate the look of a marching band wearing spats.

Tiger Pep Band Tiger Maniacs

The Tiger Pep Band Tiger Maniacs was created in 2001 and are a group of non-musician band members who are responsible for leading the group and its audience in spirited cheers, yells, and other activities. For years, the Tiger Maniacs have been the ones responsible for the traditional touchdown 100-yard runs with "BIG D," the band's spirit flag.

DePauw's mascot, Tyler the Tiger, is listed as a Tiger Maniac, and Tiger Maniac personnel are responsible for playing the mascot role and maintaining the costume, which is a fur-covered orange and black tiger. Tyler wears a Tiger Pep Band uniform, although the mascot regularly appears in the absence of the band, such as at the 2007 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Tiger Maniacs' uniforms were standard Tiger Pep Band uniforms with a gold tiger paw added below the band's logo.

Tiger Pep Band Tiger Drumline

The Tiger Pep Band Tiger Drumline, founded in 2004, was created to provide a performance opportunities for musicians who had marched in a drum line before arriving at DePauw. The Tiger Drumline appeared alongside and independently of the Tiger Pep Band from 2004 to 2006. Student leaders elected to not include the Tiger Drumline in the band's 2008 constitution revision because there had been insufficient participation to sustain the unit, although it may be resurrected if new student interest returns.

The Tiger Drumline wore standard Tiger Pep Band uniforms.

Tiger Pep Band Tiger Color Guard

Begun in 2006, the Tiger Pep Band Tiger Color Guard is a group of performers who perform choreographed routines set to music performed by the band. Although the unit usually uses marching band-style flags in its routines, it also specializes in line-dance style performances[9].

Rather than standard Tiger Pep Band uniforms, the Tiger Color Guard wears form-fitting black tops and black pants, with a yellow sash worn around the waist.



The Tiger Pep Band has been recognized by NCAA officials and the media as an organization which displays a high degree of good sportsmanship, earning top honors in Division III athletics[10]. This reputation has led to the band's invited appearances as the official ensemble of three NCAA national championship events and every SCAC conference basketball tournament since 2004.

When possible, the band salutes DePauw's opponents before contests by performing their school songs, continuing a tradition from its predecessor, the DePauw Marching Band. When appearing as the official band at SCAC tournaments, the Tiger Pep Band plays the fight song for each competing school before, during, and after the game[11].

BIG D and Spirit Flags

Early in its history, parents of members of the Tiger Pep Band donated hand-sewn spirit flags for band members to use while cheering their team. By 1998, band members had begun taking the flags during a 100-yard sprint on the stadium track whenever the DePauw football team scored a touchdown.

In 2000, the Tiger Pep Band added to its inventory "BIG D," an eight-foot square black flag featuring an old gold letter 'D.' Soon, BIG D was the flag that was used to escort the DePauw teams on to the field or court, and was carried in the 100-yard touchdown sprints, as well as in victory laps around the basketball court. BIG D was stolen by students from Wabash College in 2002. It was quickly replaced by a black bedsheet spray painted with a D, named "BIG D, JR." The Wabash administration agreed to pay to replace the original flag. Due to a manufacturing error, two flags were actually produced. One is known as "BIG D, III" and is also black flag with a (larger) gold 'D,' while the second flag is known as "DOUBLE D," and is the same colors, but is unusual in that the 'D' reads correctly left-to-right regardless of which side the flag is viewed from.

Field and Parade Performances

Beginning with the 2002 Battle for the Monon Bell football game, the Tiger Pep Band began the practice of performing the "Here's to DePauw" and the "Star Spangled Banner" from an on-field position. With the first performance of the next football season, the ensemble instated a on-field tunnel through with the DePauw football team runs when they enter the stadium, escorted by a Tiger Maniac running BIG D.

After the DePauw Marching Band's final performance at President George H. W. Bush's 1989 inauguration parade in Washington, D.C., no DePauw band appeared in a parade until the school's 2005 homecoming festivities. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Tiger Pep Band stepped off in the first Old Gold Parade in recent history. The event was successful and continues annually.

The band does not actually march, however, preferring to walk without trying to be in step. Called "stumbling" by band members, it is a reference to the DePauw Marching Band's nickname, "Stumble Society," whose members were known as "Stumblebums." (The DePauw Marching Band did in fact march in step, although the name was coined by then-Director of Bands Daniel H. Hanna, who conducted the bands at DePauw for over three decades.)

Inclusive and Cooperative Performances

After their performance experience with Rose-Hulman's Rose Pep Band at the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship in 2002, the two bands have established a performance relationship where they play as a single ensemble whenever the two schools' teams clash. The combined group performs both schools' fight songs. Although Rose-Hulman left DePauw's athletic conference in 2005, Rose Pep Band members still perform with Tiger Pep Band at the SCAC Basketball Tournament and at other events[12].

The band has also performed cooperatively with the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Warhawk Pep Band and the University Schools Band of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanites and Burris Laboratory School from the campus of Ball State University, as well as with members of the bands from Rhodes College and Centre College.

Since 2001, the Tiger Pep Band has sought to make a cooperative performance of the national anthem with the rival band from Wabash College at the annual Battle for the Monon Bell football matchup, but the Wabash band has declined each invitation[13].

Poetic Cheers ("Spam")

Early in the ensemble's life, band members would compose lengthy verses, which usually rhymed and contained words chosen to be awkward to pronounce. These were distributed to the band members who would cheer them on the way to the stadium and at other times during the game, frequently to the confusion of spectators who could not make out all the words. Often these cheers, known to band members as "Spam," were often customized to poke fun at specific opponents[14].

Membership Recognitions

Since the Tiger Pep Band is a student organization, its members receive no formal recognition from DePauw University. According to the band's faculty advisor, Dr. Valarie Ziegler, motions in faculty meetings failed to give the band academic credit similar to that given to students in the DePauw University Band or the campus TV and radio stations. Instead, the band and its alumni ensemble counterpart, the Tiger Alumni Bands and Stumblebums, has established its own recognitions.

Although the practice has been reduced in recent seasons, the band's student leaders would recognize graduating seniors each year with "Extraordinare Awards" which were customized for each student, in the style of "Pep Band Poet Extraordinare" or "Pep Band Paper-Hat-Woman Extraordinare."

In 2002, the Tiger Pep Band began issuing its own varsity letters upon receiving consent from university officials[15]. The letters were distinctive from the ones given to athletes, and were denied recognition by the university's alumni association. Students elected to suspend the varsity letter after three years due to this lack of official support.

To encourage continued support from the ensemble's graduates, the Tiger Alumni Bands and Stumblebums created two recognitions of its own. The "Non-Conformist" certificates recognize any alumni band participant, and are patterned after the DePauw Marching Band's traditional membership cards.

The "Colonel of the Tiger Pep Band" award is given to alumni and individuals demonstrating sustained support for at least ten years. Only four recipients have been named since the award was created in 2005: Tiger Pep Band founding director Jason Dibler, DePauw University Director of Bands Craig T. Paré, Tiger Pep Band faculty adviser and saxophonist Valarie Ziegler, and DePauw University Director Emeritus of Bands Daniel H. Hanna. The award certificate resembles the Sagamore of the Wabash award, the highest award given by the governor of the State of Indiana. The "Colonel" title was selected for its multiple significances to the band: It was Dibler's nickname, itself coined by Paré, and was also Ziegler's undergraduate mascot.


  1. ^ Hanberry, Dwane (2007), Tournament Information, Memphis, Tennessee: Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, http://web.archive.org/web/20050911041332/www.scac-online.org/bballtourney/info.htm, retrieved February 18, 2008 
  2. ^ ([dead link]Scholar search) The (Brief) History of DePauw Spirit Bands, Greencastle, Indiana: Tiger Alumni Bands and Stumblebums, 2008, http://dpu.stumblebums.org/about, retrieved February 18, 2008 [dead link]
  3. ^ Woodward, Heather (November 16, 1996), "Pep Band Huddles Up With Tigers", The DePauw (Greencastle, Indiana), http://www.thedepauw.com 
  4. ^ McCollum, David (March 4, 2003), "Playing So Some Can Eat", Log Cabin Democrat (Conway, Arkansas), http://www.thecabin.net 
  5. ^ McCollum, David (February 29, 2008), "There's Plenty of Fun Stuff to Check Out in SCAC Tournament", Log Cabin Democrat (Conway, Arkansas), http://www.thecabin.net 
  6. ^ Wagner, Bill (March 16, 2002), DePauw Finishes Third in Nation, Terre Haute, Indiana, http://www.depauw.edu/ath/wbasket/2002/ncaamarymount.asp, retrieved February 18, 2008 
  7. ^ Coleman, Pat (March 14, 2006), Favorite Final Four Moments, Terre Haute, Indiana, http://www.d3hoops.com/dailydose/2006/03/14/my-favorite-final-four-moments/, retrieved February 18, 2008 
  8. ^ McCollum, David (March 21, 2004), Citations: Rumors, fights, and tea, Conway, Arkansas: Log Cabin Democrat, http://www.thecabin.net, retrieved March 3, 2008 
  9. ^ Tiger Pep Band more than just pretty music, Greencastle, Indiana, November 9, 2007, http://www.thedepauw.com, retrieved February 29, 2008 
  10. ^ McCollum, David (March 21, 2004), Citations: Rumors, fights, and tea, Conway, Arkansas: Log Cabin Democrat, http://www.thecabin.net, retrieved March 3, 2008 
  11. ^ Hancock, Doc (February 26, 2007), [http:// Memphis Madness at a Smaller (and Kinder) Scale], Memphis, Tennessee, http://, retrieved February 18, 2008 
  12. ^ McCollum, David (March 2, 2008), "A band with a flair, a beat and much energy", Log Cabin Democrat (Conway, Arkansas), http://www.thecabin.net 
  13. ^ Tiger Pep Band more than just pretty music, Greencastle, Indiana, November 9, 2007, http://www.thedepauw.com, retrieved February 29, 2008 
  14. ^ Spam! (Our Cheers), Greencastle, Indiana, 2008, archived from the original on October 8, 2007, http://web.archive.org/web/20071008163924/http://dpu.tigerpepband.org/funstuff/spam, retrieved February 18, 2008 
  15. ^ Arceo, Austin (September 27, 2002), "Pep Band Gets Nod to Distribute Varsity Letters", The DePauw (Greencastle, Indiana), http://www.thedepauw.com 

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