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This Gonzaga Team Always Toots Its Horns — to Support the Bulldogs

The Bulldog Band keep things lively at men's and women's basketball home games, and at the conference and NCAA tournaments. Here band members toot their horns for the Zags against Ohio State on March 17 in the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Photo by Peter Tormey.

By Catherine Van
Class of 2012

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s basketball teams have helped make the University well known nationwide, but much of the sound and fury behind the Zags comes from Gonzaga’s lesser-known team, the Gonzaga Bulldog Band, which specializes in scores of a different kind.

The band was there when Adam Morrison led the men’s basketball team to the Sweet 16 in 2006, it witnessed Jeremy Pargo’s power throw-down against University of Akron in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, and deployed its musical might when Demetri Goodson’s buzzer-beating, game-winning basket in the 2009 NCAA tournament beat Western Kentucky.

The Bulldog Band also has a fighting school spirit, and travels to both the West Coast Conference and NCAA basketball tournaments – playing the school’s fight song and pumping up Zag Nation. This all-volunteer, non-credit ensemble of woodwinds, brass, percussion, and amplified bass also plays for the men’s and women’s home basketball games. Rehearsals are minimal and the focus is always on supporting the basketball teams.

Freshmen are welcome in the band, a University club sponsored by the Gonzaga Student Body Association.

Chris Andrews, student director of the Bulldog Band, says the atmosphere is quite different for the men’s and women’s basketball games.

“Because of the way the band is positioned during the [women’s] games, we have a chance to intimidate the other team,” he said. “We actually become part of the environment and make it a tougher game to play the opposing team.”

Watch the Bulldog Band in action this season:

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Trumpets wail and drums boom when a Bulldog sinks a 3-pointer, prompting cheers from the student section. The Kennel quickly becomes animated as fans sing along to “Hey Baby” or “Don’t Stop Believing” upon hearing the band’s hearty renditions. Andrews remembers the intensity at McCarthey Athletic Center when the women Zags were vying for the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

“When we started pulling into the lead, the other team got stressed out and called a time-out,” Andrews said. “The band played the ‘Hey’ song and the crowd erupted. It was so loud in there. It was definitely one of the loudest moments I’ve heard at The Kennel and it was just a great moment to be a Bulldog.”

Band members chant all the cheers from “We are G-U” at the beginning of games to the “nah nah nah nah” at their end. The classic song, “Kiss Him Goodbye,” sends opposing teams home, that is, when the Zags win.

From the beginning of a Zags basketball game until the end, the Bulldog Band keeps the Zags’ spirit alive on and off the court.
“We’re just a fun group and we love playing music and Gonzaga basketball,” Andrews said.

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