The Down and Dirty Dawg Band – UMBC’s pep band – is not only known around campus, but nationally, as well. Making appearances on Good Morning America and The Today Show, their mission is to spread school spirit and celebrate the power of music. On December 3, a national day of giving, you can help them reach their dream.
We talked with three members of the band (Matt Basch ’08, information systems and ’10 M.S., information systems, Director of the UMBC Down and Dirty Dawg Band; Paul Swenson ’06, computer science, Producer; and Drew Ballantine, a UMBC senior, member) to see why they love being a part of it and how you can help.
Q: What is the purpose of the pep band and why is it important?
Paul: The pep band is a musical and marching ensemble sponsored by Athletics that provides its members with a chance to perform fun tunes, become engaged with school spirit at UMBC sporting events and even earn some money through part-time employment opportunities.
Matt: The mission is to support the Athletic Department and the university through music and spirit. Whether it’s 20 degrees and snowing during one of the winter basketball games, or 100 degrees with the sun blazing during the Catonsville and Arbutus 4th of July parades, you’ll experience unbridled enthusiasm and exceptional playing from this band.
Q: Why is music important?
Matt: I can’t imagine life without music. The emotional and inspirational impact is incredible and something I witness in the band every day. Throughout a sporting event, the music we play gets the sports teams and fans pumped up. When the game is over, the band plays our Alma Mater and everyone stands with pride and respect for the university.
Drew: The drumline is actually one of the reasons I chose to come to UMBC. As Senior Captain of UMBC’s drumline, it’s been amazing to see how it has grown and improved.
Q: What does the support of the alumni, community, and donors mean to you?
Matt: It means the world to the band. If you’re an alumni of the band and had a great experience, your donation will help ensure that the next generation of students have the same positive experience. If you’re a parent of a student in the band and have seen the positive impact its had on your child, your donation will help pass those positive experiences on to the next students. If you’re a community member and have heard the band perform, your donation will help continue making that experience available to the [rest of the] community.
Drew: The pep band is a huge part of UMBC’s culture. Without the help and support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to receive stipends, buy new equipment, pay for instrument repairs, or put out CDs. These donations allow us to continuously grow by doing more things each year, like adding more performances or playing new music. I think it’s awesome that people want to donate and help our cause. It feels really good to give something back to the audience. And now they don’t have to wait for basketball season to listen to us play!