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Then and Now: Pep Band

1921 Johns Hopkins Pep Band


Lore has it that a student started Johns Hopkins’ Pep Band in 1921 by gathering a group of wind instrumentalists to play at every home football and lacrosse game.

Soon enough, the band was traveling to away games too, conducted by the legendary Conrad “Gebby” Gebelein, who would continue in that role for almost 50 years before retiring in 1971.

The spirited troupe gained a reputation for bedeviling other teams with its repertoire, which includes The Muppet Show theme and the Hopkins fight song, “To Win,” traditionally played after every Blue Jay goal. The band’s tagline? “Forcing merriment and mayhem since 1921.”

2021 Johns Hopkins Pep Band


The Johns Hopkins Pep Band, like the athletic and other events it supports, was sidelined by the pandemic and sat out the 2020–21 academic year. In fall 2021, the band returned for home games and events, adding sports like water polo and field hockey to its roster.

Today, the band is back to its traveling ways, rallying Blue Jay spirit both at home and away.

“Our mission is mostly just to foster more spirit on campus,” Alyssa Saunders ’23, the band’s president, told The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. “Our campus is kind of known for being more studious… but we really want to get more people involved in athletics and school spirit.”