Oswego, NY – With all the attention paid to Syracuse University basketball this season, it can be easy to overlook the people who help support the team by working the crowd and creating a big-time atmosphere.
WRVO's Michael Benjamin spoke with members of The Sour Sitrus Society, SU's pep band, about what it is like for the band members to travel with the team to Utah for the game against Butler.
Wesley Johnson and company aren't the only Syracuse students making the trip to Salt Lake City this week, with the team - comes the band.
Jessica Miller directs the pep band that plays at every home game for the Orange. She says the NCAA tournament means a lot of work, but it comes with some privileges.
"When we're not actually at the game, we get to go out and just be college students and go out an explore. We're going to go out and see Park City today, go see some more of Utah - just hang out - there's about 30 of us here so we just get to enjoy our time when we're not working," said Miller.
Miller said members of the Sour Sitrus Society are SU fans like anybody else. So it is exciting for them to participate and be seen and heard on television during SU basketball games.
Justin Mertz, the society's faculty advisor, said members of high school bands may be labeled "band geeks" but all those years of being a "geek" pay off in college.
"Even though before they may have been labeled as a "band geek," in college the University and the athletic department, I'm pleased to say, treat them very well," said Mertz. "They are treated first class all the way. They get to be a part of a real great phenomenon, college athletics. Bands in collegiate athletics are unique, there is no other thing like it."
Both Mertz and Miller said the band gets a lot of support from the school and the Syracuse community. Miller said the athletes even express support, though, she said, the basketball team was too focused to talk much on the flight to Utah. She expects they will loosen up after tonight's game.