The Patriot Pep Band Plays the Score for Victory

Posted: February 23, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryan Effgen

The pandemonium at the Patriot Center during George Mason basketball games would not be the same without the live sound track provided by the Patriot Pep Band. Every game starts and ends with the Mason fight song. When Mason is in need of a comeback, the band chimes in with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and, when reveling in victory, it plays the traditional refrain, “Sha na na na, hey hey hey… goodbye!”

These are just a few songs from the repertoire of the Patriot Pep Band. The band, which is student-run and directed, currently has 25 rotating members. While many members are music students at Mason, several others students have joined after responding to flyers circulated on campus.

The pep band has expanded upon the traditional fanfare and has created something unique to Mason. “The GMU-What!” chant was started by the pep band. “The band would scream ‘GMU,’ and I would scream back at them ‘WHAT!’ Eventually we had the whole Patriot Center following our lead,” says pep band drummer Michael Laiacona, a senior studying music.

Laiacona has even made a percussion instrument out of the Patriot Center itself. “There is one loose step that, when it is hit, can be heard throughout the whole Patriot Center. I bang on it to get the crowd going.”

The pep band performs at all men’s and women’s home basketball games and also travels to the playoff finals each March.

Students interesting in getting involved with the Patriot Pep Band can contact the Music Department at 703-993-1380, or Michael Laiacona at 571-643-1960, or

pep band
Photo by Evan Cantwell

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