The 2000’s

In 2000, the VU Pep Band performed at Midnight Mayhem (a basketball pep rally) in October. Nearly half the band graduated that year including: Jen Briesacher, Melody Brindel, Ben Dickmann, Eric Gradberg, Matt Krones, Susan Thoney, & Allison Wegman.

The VU Pep Band performed in the Popcorn Festival parade in 2001. They also played for a pep rally/bonfire on the Friday night of Homecoming and performed at home football games. Both the men’s & women’s basketball teams made it into post-season tournaments that year and the band had a whirl-wind tour to Ann Arbor, MI (much to the surprise of the WBB team), then overnight to St. Louis, MO for the men’s NCAA, then to Ball State (again for WBB). The ARC hosted the third round of the WNIT that year.

In 2002, the Crusader Pep Band graduated three seniors: Amanda Curry, Jonathan Cutting, & Tammy Harrell. The Pep Band again faced a gruelling post-season road trip when both basketball teams made national tournaments. First they headed to Iowa City, IA where the men took on Iowa in the NIT and lost. Then they drove to West Lafayette, IN for the women to take on Purdue in the NCAA.

In 2003, graduating seniors of the Crusader Pep Band included: Mike Bardou, David Beagley, & Kevin Goebbert. For the first time, the volleyball team won the Mid-Con Championship and a small band drove themselves to the national tournament to play for the team. The Pep Band had to split into two bands for the basketball tournaments when the men’s team and women’s team were headed to separate places at the same time. The first band headed off to Seattle, WA with the men’s team for the NCAA. A few from the Seattle band headed to Minneapolis, MN to meet the second band playing for women’s basketball also in the NCAA.

Melanie Simpson became the director in 2004. The Pep Band played for home football, volleyball, men’s & women’s basketball games. The Pep Band took a road trip to Chicago State with the men’s basketball team where they were dubbed “The Valparaiso University Rocking Pep Band” by the announcer and became the main attraction during the game. They received travel compensation for post-season tournaments and the directors were compensated for time spent running the band throughout the year. There were over 250 members of the band that year.