The ADSS pep band is ready for Totem 66. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The ADSS pep band is ready for Totem 66. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Pep band wants to make noise at Totem 66 in Port Alberni

Band first joined in 2018 during Totem 63

Student athletes are not the only ones that have been missing the annual Totem tournament at Alberni District Secondary School. The school’s pep band has also been looking forward to taking the stage at Totem 66.

The pep band is a relatively new addition to the Totem tournament. The band first joined in 2018 during Totem 63, with only a few students performing from the bleachers, and has since grown in size—and sound.

“We have so much fun at Totem,” said band director Josh Kynoch. “The band likes it because they get to play really loud.”

The pep band started rehearsals in November of this year. Practice sessions take place two to three days per week after school.

“We’re trying to rebuild what we lost,” explained Kynoch. “We had big momentum going into [Totem 65]. Now it’s starting to come back alive.”

The pep band had 65 students when the pandemic hit, said Kynoch. That number is now at 45, made up of students from Grade 9 to 12.

Totem 66 was already postponed once in 2020 due to COVID-19. Now, with cases ramping up again, the tournament—originally scheduled for Jan. 6-8, 2022—is in question. Organizers won’t find out until Jan. 5 whether or not they will be postponing the tournament or running it as a smaller showcase for the ADSS basketball teams.

Band classes “got really lucky” during the pandemic, said Kynoch. ADSS has a large theatre, which means that bands can still practice while maintaining social distancing. Students weren’t able to take part in any concerts for most of 2020 and 2021, instead relying on livestreaming to share their music with the rest of the world.

If the Totem tournament is able to return to the ADSS gym in the new year, the pep band will be ready to support the home teams and get the crowd amped up. The usual playlist for Totem is “a lot of pop stuff” and classic songs that everyone can sing along with—songs like Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.

“We’re always trying new stuff every year, trying to keep it fresh,” said Kynoch.

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B.C. High School BasketballPort Alberni