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Screamin' Demons add ambience to DePaul athletics

By Kiersten Sinko
On February 13, 2012

As soon as the clock struck 8 p.m. at Allstate Arena Monday, Feb. 6, the cheerleaders, dance team and the men's basketball team ran onto the court in preparation for their anticipated game against Marquette. Yet without the lead-in from the Screamin' Demon Pep Band, the sports fans would not have noticed that the game was about to begin.

"I love DePaul, but the one thing I hate is the lack of school spirit. The Pep Band is the one exception to that, though. They are constantly cheering when they aren't playing," said freshman Luke Roling, a relational communication and political science student.

No matter what the circumstance of the game may be, the Screamin' Demons are able to keep the spirit alive for the DePaul fans. Their dedication and spirit create a positive and significant impact towards the environment of the arena.

"No one is louder, more into the game, or excited than the Screamin' Demons. Our lines are a classic, and students have caught on to "She's a brick house" to even the classic "Fullerton-Transfer." My personal favorite is "Just the tip," which puts a bit of pressure on the opposing team who may be frightened by the rowdy uproar of instrument-wielding students and fans," said Jonathan Ferrari, a freshman information systems student.

Ken Labok, the director of the Screamin' Demons, was fortunate enough to become a member of the band as a freshman at DePaul playing the trumpet. He dedicated himself to the band during his years at college, and now works as the director along with his full-time job at Children's Memorial Hospital.

"The DePaul Screamin' Demons add to the ambience of game day. They set the tone as the visiting team arrives, keep the tempo upbeat during timeouts and send people home with a smile, regardless of the outcome of the game. When they are not playing, the students support the DePaul Cheer and Dance teams, echoing their chants and cheers. They have even been known to come up with a clever line or two during the opposing teams attempts at free throws," said Labok.

Nevertheless, numerous students who are a part of the Screamin' Demons are also students enrolled in the DePaul School of Music. With their rigorous practice schedules and rehearsals for school, along with playing at all of the games, the Screamin' Demons practice a minimal amount.

"As anyone will tell you from attending a game though, these students are budding professionals, and come prepared to play each game. A typical basketball season will see the Screamin' Demons practice as an ensemble three times before the season starts, once after winter break and then once again prior to departure for the national stage during Big East tournament play for the men's and women's teams," said Labok.

Some crowd-pleasing songs played by the Screamin' Demons come from famous artists such as Cee-Lo Green, Kanye West, LMFAO, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire.

But just think, what would the basketball games at DePaul be like without the Screamin' Demons on the sideline?

"Much less exciting, less hearing damage and the spirit would take a big dip. I see us as crucial to the team as its mascot and colors," said Ferrari.

Yet with the increasing interest towards the Screamin' Demons Pep Band, it is highly unlikely that this small, powerful group of school spirit will not be leaving the sidelines of the arena. The band is overflowing with members to the point where the bands are split up into smaller bands, and the students are even paid to play at the games.

"The commitment is serious, as it is a job and a disciplined program. You can't be late and should always work to sound the best," said Ferrari.

Be ready for the screaming because the Screamin' Demons mean serious business when participating in basketball games.

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