Photo courtesy of John Gladou
Photo courtesy of John Gladou
By Sarah Knowlton 11/29/22 11:04pm
Owl Pep Band, at September, making his debut this basketball season. In previous years, the Marching Owls would normally have played in these competitions.
According to associate athletic director Rick Mello, the new band was created to improve the game experience for fans as Rice transitions to the Athletic Conference next year.
According to Mello, the new band has undergraduates, graduate students, MOB members, Shepherd School students, students from other bands and a student-athlete.
“I’m happy with the progress,” Melo added.
OPB member Nathan Horton said the interest in members boils down to compensation incentives.
“When you’re getting paid to be in a band, it’s a very obvious choice,” said Horton, a sophomore at Martel College.
Another OPB member, Benjamin Gomez, stated that although he had considered joining MOB, he chose to join OPB due to the lower time commitment and compensation.
“I feel [the MOB] It’s a bigger time investment,” said Duncan College freshman Gomez. “For OPB, if you have the time, the practice is two hours before the game. This is very optional. “
MOB alumnus Jose Corea (’21), who is still a part of the band as an alumnus, said changes to the MOB schedule this year affected the mood of the band.
“There’s a melancholy,” Corea said. “At this time of year, we’d be playing basketball, but we’re not going to do that.”
MOB alumnus Ian Mauzy (’14) wrote to Thresher that removing MOB from basketball games left some students feeling betrayed.
“I think the students felt — rightly — that something was being taken away without their consent, let alone their input, and they weren’t getting anything in return of comparable value,” Mauzy said in a statement. wrote in an email.
Mauzy also stated that he is not bullish on the fact that OPB members get paid given the sentiments that exist in MOB.
“I can understand the desire to have newer songs played in competitions, and all other things being equal, I support musicians getting paid,” Mauzy wrote. “But none of these are things that require creating a new organization. These can all be handled through existing channels. Combined with everything else, fifty dollars a game looks like thirty bucks.”
Corea said the MOB is not hostile to OPB members.
“There’s no real animosity toward the ensemble, just the thought of it,” Coria said. “We just want to stand in solidarity with our string players, our accordion players, and even our woodwind players, who wouldn’t be prioritized in a dynamic brass-centric band.”
The athletic department stated that while instruments will be limited, they are committed to welcoming as many MOB members as possible, as well as members of the entire Rice community.
“MOB alumni and community members who have been with MOB, they are also part of the Rice community,” Mello said. “That’s why we’ve been very, very open to asking them to be a part of it.”
OPB member Najee Greenlee said he has had a great experience with the band so far.
“Everyone is so welcoming, everyone is so nice,” said Greenlee, a Lovett College freshman. “We have fun.”
Sophia Flemister, who plays in both MOB and OPB, said they had observed differences between the two ensembles but enjoyed the vibes of both.
“I feel [the OPB] It’s a different environment because it feels a little more professional,” said Flemister, a Duncan freshman. “I love the music, the people here, and it’s been a great time. ”
For them, combining the values of the two groups would be an ideal solution to the dispute, Flemister said.
“I think what needs to happen is a bit of a merger between the two groups, because I definitely see the point of having a new group but at the same time have the MOB tradition,” Flemister said.
MOB game producer, equipment manager and percussionist Ethan Goore said he felt the MOB was more representative of Rice culture.
“The decision to replace MOB with a traditional inspirational band sets a dangerous precedent for Rice to replace the unconventional with the traditional,” Gull, a sophomore at Duncan College, wrote to Thresher in an email. “The beauty of MOB is that it’s not just a band, it’s a community where everyone is invited to enjoy their musical talent in a supportive and fun environment.”