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Quick Q&A: Jon Murphy, Assistant Director,”Peppas”

By now you’ve probably heard of VCU Men’s Basketballs’ electrifying and fast-paced defensive style known as HAVOC. If so, then you’ve certainly heard the Peppas, VCU’s resident Athletic and Pep Band, known for its unapologetically intense musical antics during the games. Headed by director Ryan Kopasci, the Peppas are every bit a part of the action as the players on the court.

Jon Murphy, VCU Music student and newly appointed Assistant Director of the band, finds this to be their crowing achievement.

“We like to think of ourselves as ‘The Sixth Man,’” he stated. “We cheer loud. All of the time.”

Their presence has not gone unnoticed. A recent video of the band’s performance of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” during a home game against George Mason University has quickly gone viral. According to reports, the free-throw distraction attempt proved successful, as GMU only shot at 56 percent accuracy.

It isn’t all fun and games, however. The band boasts an eighty-plus songbook of repertoire that is always expanding.  Rehearsals are fast and concise, relying on the independent work of the players so that style and interpretation can take precedence.

With a roster that has doubled in less than two years, it seems everyone wants to be a part of what CBS Sports calls “the best pep band in college sports.”

“Everyone in the band has a great deal of musical talent, dedication, and most importantly school spirit,” Murphy stated.

In addition to soccer, volleyball, field hockey, and women’s basketball matches, the Peppas also host annual Middle School and High School/Alumni Band Days, where musicians of any skill level may join in on the fun for one game.

Often playing at local events, The Peppas strive to maintain a presence in the Richmond community and let their infectious spirit be heard.

“It’s our job to make sure the crowd is in the game not just watching it,” stated Murphy.

This has yielded to their success in establishing themselves as an integral part of VCU Athletics. The Peppa Effect, as they call it, can be felt campus-, city-, and nationwide.

“The feeling of being in front of this 150-person unstoppable train is truly electrifying.”

-Elise Ridley