Keeping It Upbeat At The Games


Hornets find steady support in the playing of the high school Pep Band

As the Manchester-Essex football team wraps up their season, it’s worth looking at the high school pep band that plays hard in a different way, off to the side and often in the dark sidelines, keeping an upbeat vibe at every home game.

Band teacher and orchestrator Joseph Janack said he is pleased with how this season went and appreciated all the hard work band members put into their performances.

“I genuinely have a great time with the band members,” he said.  “They work so hard and take great pride in how they sound and present themselves.”

ME High School senior Sean Vendt, who plays baritone saxophone, said he enjoyed participating in the band during the football games this season.

“I enjoy performing at football games because it is a combination of two things I personally enjoy: band and music. I think the music really adds to the energy of the game,” he said.

Senior Gus Brown plays alto sax in the band.  He also enjoyed playing during the football games.

“Performing at football games was very relaxed. The songs were catchy and easy, the atmosphere was positive, and it was satisfying to contribute to the school spirit,” he said.

Janack said the group focused its first couple of weeks of school preparing the music during class time, including a wide variety of short and longer songs.

Every game begins with the band playing the national anthem.  Then, he said, the band went in for shorter tunes: 7 Nation Army, the John Cena theme song, Let's Go Band, We Will Rock You, and the Darth Vader Theme. 

Longer songs were performed during half-time, between quarters, and time-outs they played: Crazy Train, 25 or 6 to 4, Sweet Caroline, Footloose, the Rocky Theme, Hawaii 5-0, and the Notre Dame Victory March. Janack is looking forward to their performance at the Thanksgiving game and to the rest of the year with the band. He has enjoyed being able to have a normal year of playing since the pandemic.

“This year's band has a lot of seniors, so I'm hoping we can continue to have a more normal experience! I just hope everyone realizes how much work they put in and if they get a chance, try to catch the music department's concerts!  The students,” he said, “would really enjoy it.”

joseph janack, gus brown, me high school, john cena