The atmosphere in Allen Arena is about to change drastically.
According to Landon Parrish, Special Assistant to President McQueen, Lipscomb University will have a full-fledged band playing at every basketball game this year.
Parrish says, “Without a band, Allen arena just feels empty during games. You can fill dead air during timeouts and transitions with piped-in music from a computer along with the cheer team, but there’s just something missing.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Allen Arena’s court is met with live music. Since 2001, the university has had different versions of a band at many games. Parrish has been there to see all of them.
The history starts with a massive all student band. Later, the band pivoted to use a high school band. However, COVID-19 killed that model completely.
Not having a band brought on some difficulty. “When we went to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history and played UNC on National TV, we had to find a local high school band to play for us because we didn’t have a band at the time. We sent a bunch of Lipscomb shirts and swag and had them wear it,” Parrish said.
As crazy as it sounds, if you were one out of the many people watching the Lipscomb game during March Madness, the band you heard playing was made up of high schoolers wearing Lipscomb gear. But, they got the job done.
Lipscomb has also tried a rock band, but nothing seemed to stick.
Parrish knows how much a band can make or break home court advantage and fan experience. “One thing that is great about being in Nashville is the nightly concerts and entertainment opportunities within minutes of campus. It’s one of the deciding factors for students to choose Lipscomb, but it’s also competition for our sporting events. Students have to decide ‘do I want to go to this concert at Bridgestone or go cheer on the Bisons?’ By integrating the pep band back into the game day experience it will help drive student engagement.”
As of the last count, the potential pep band had 26 students signed. All that is missing is a tuba player.
Parrish is thinking about the bigger picture. For him, it’s not just about a pep band; anyone can have a pep band; it’s about the flow of the game and everyone working together to bring the Bisons to victory.
“The key for it to work is for the pep band to be fully immersed in the game day experience alongside cheer, lunatics, PA, PA music, and big screen graphics,” Parrish said. “It all flows together and can’t be a one-off. That takes everyone communicating throughout the game and preparing prior to the game. That way, the pep band isn’t playing a slow song when we need hype. A game director makes these calls on a headset and guides every piece of the game day experience.”
With the lunatics, pep band, and everyone else working together, it’s time for Allen Arena to become the hardest place to play in the nation.