BOONE — Appalachian State University March Band Director Jay Jackson had a surprise on May 2 for his 48 students that were part of the Basketball Band during the 2018-19 season.
Jackson surprised his students with the news that the band earned the 2019 Sun Belt Pep Band Award from the 2019 Sun Belt Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament in New Orleans.
“Receiving this award and the recognition from the Sun Belt Conference is a tremendous honor for the students who were a part of this year’s Basketball Band, and not only the members that were a part of the conference basketball tournament in New Orleans,” Jackson said in a statement. “It was a season of fun built upon our support of the women and men’s teams, our desire to entertain our fans, and hopefully enhance the game-day experience in the Holmes Center.
“In return, we have enjoyed the support and encouragement from the two teams and their coaches, the administrators of App State Athletics and the Hayes School of Music and from many of App Nation who have come up and spoken favorably to the band. Winning the Sun Belt Pep Band award is a terrific way to end this year, but also a great way to look ahead to next season.”
The band earned the honor after showcasing the best sound during the tournament in New Orleans during the solid run to the semifinals by App State women’s basketball. The band showcased a stellar amount of support not only in New Orleans but also the entire season for both men’s and women’s basketball programs. The voting took place by fellow schools’ band groups while fans were also encouraged to vote.
The award was implemented by the Sun Belt in 2018 to recognize both band and spirit programs for their hard work throughout the entire season. The trophy is a drum that will later arrive in Boone, and was painted by well-known New Orleans artist Thomas “Tuna” Seither.
“Our pep band is so deserving of this award,” App State women’s head basketball coach Angel Elderkin said in a statement. “The commitment and energy that they provided to our basketball teams this season were outstanding. As we made our run in the WBI, the band made the Holmes Center loud and proud. A well-deserved honor for a tremendous group.”