Sioux Falls Locals Play in Oral Roberts Pep Band at Summit League


SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- At Summit League there were Sioux Falls locals playing in an opposing teams pep band, the Oral Roberts Band.

They are not your typical pep band.

“I like to think of us as a rock band with horns,” said Oral Roberts Music Director, Kendall Johnson.

The university is in Oklahoma, but are already well known to the Sioux Falls music community.

Some years the ORU pep band isn’t able to bring their entire crew along for Summit League, so they improvise by enlisting the help of local residents. This year they needed two trumpet players and it wasn’t hard to find people to fill in.

Their unique sound with the addition of a bass guitar, keyboard, drummer and guitar player makes musicians eager to play with them. This includes University of South Dakota grad, Michael Hoffman.

“It’s unique. It’s almost kind of like a, like a brass jazz combo, almost like a jazz band. I always commended them for doing stuff like that because it was just super cool, super rockin, so it’s really really fun to play with them. Their awesome players too,” said Michael Hoffman.

At 9:30 in the morning, he found out they needed him. Their trumpet player was sick. An hour later he was at the tournament ready to play.

“Right now it’s just kind of it’s a fun thing to do you know. You never know what you’re going to get so you hop in and go for it,” said Hoffman.

Not everyone in the band is a student. They have some true professionals in their group.

“They raise the bar for everybody who’s a student and so it’s a great musical experience for the students,” said Johnson.

This means they don’t choose just anyone to play in their band.  

“People have to play at a higher level in order to be in the band and once they’re their it’s like ‘this is the greatest thing,’” said Johnson.

Hoffman’s been playing since 5th grade and is confident in reading the music and playing on the spot.

They also had help from Scott Olson who has over forty years experience This is his fourth time playing in the band.

“As a trumpet player, I’m classically trained. I do symphony work and quintet work, so I don’t get to play rock and roll a lot, so it’s a lot of fun to be able to do that,” said Olson.

Even though they set the bar high, the band says they’ve never had a hard time finding great musicians in the Sioux Empire.

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