Pep band newly dubbed Twisted Whiskers

SMELLS+LIKE+TEAM+SPIRIT%E2%80%94The+rebranded+Twisted+Whiskers+band+peps+up+the+audience+at+NMU%E2%80%99s+hockey+game+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+12+against+the+Michigan+State+University+Spartans.

SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT—The rebranded Twisted Whiskers band peps up the audience at NMU’s hockey game on Saturday, Oct. 12 against the Michigan State University Spartans.

Adan Mulvaney

The NMU Pep Band has renamed themselves as The Twisted Whiskers this fall as part of a rebranding effort meant to draw more students to athletic events.

The pep band is an extracurricular instrumental group that plays pop, jazz and rock music in order to increase the energy at student sporting events. Student musicians involved in the band dedicate about seven to ten hours per week to practicing and three to four hours per week playing music at volleyball, hockey and basketball games.

The directive to change the name came from President Fritz Erickson, who was looking to rebrand the athletic pep band. Previously, the band was known as The Northern Sound Machine—a nod to the pop culture of the ‘80s.

“Erickson wanted the pep band to have a name that would cause more people to want to get involved in it. Twisted Whiskers is a name that came up in association to a Wildcat,” music department head Jeffery Vickers said.

Twisted Whiskers member and freshman music education major Darren Hicks said that the new name created some excitement within the band. He hopes the name change brings a new sense of vitality to the band and to NMU’s athletic events.

“Being a part of the Twisted Whiskers is great because it’s literally the most energetic section at the hockey games. Sorry Knuckleheads,” Hicks said. “We get to play jazzy songs, the peppy songs, the rock ‘n’ roll songs, we even get to play some Latin tunes. It’s fun.”

Vickers also expressed his hope that the new name would give the band a new face in student life.

“We’re trying to make sure that pep band is a visible element of game day activities. We want to increase the spirit and the awareness, and anything that we can do to help the teams,” Vickers said.

Musicians participating in either Marching Band or Symphonic Band are eligible to participate in the pep band and do not need to audition, but the Twisted Whiskers is not currently accepting new members.