BVU’s Blue Steel Strikes up the Band in Siebens Fieldhouse and Beyond

Blue Steel, the new BVU Pep Band, has entertained fans, players, and coaches who gathered at Siebens Fieldhouse this season. Students from 13 high schools in the region joined the band for the Beavers' final home basketball doubleheader.

The only tenor saxophone in Blue Steel, BVU’s new pep band, had some company as the group entertained fans, players, and coaches who gathered at Siebens Fieldhouse for the final home basketball doubleheader for the Beavers.

“I’ve been the only tenor sax,” says Tatum Hoadley, “but there are two tenor sax players from the high schools joining me, so that’s cool.”

Students from 13 high schools in the region joined Blue Steel on Saturday, bringing the group’s size to 32 musicians who played their way through multiple set lists as the basketball fun played out.

“We’re always having fun, always laughing,” says Hoadley, a sophomore from Gilmore City. “Being a part of the band in its first year is really cool.”

Many of the high schools sitting in with the band on Saturday had seen Blue Steel perform in their school earlier this basketball season. Tiffany Wurth, director of athletic bands at BVU, took the pep band to eight northwest Iowa high schools to join pep bands from the likes of Sioux Central, Newell-Fonda, Sioux Center, South O’Brien, Westwood, Sibley-Ocheyedan, and more.

“We’re always having fun, always laughing. Being a part of the band in its first year is really cool.”

Tatum Hoadley

“The high school kids love to interact with our BVU musicians,” says Wurth. “We’ve had BVU students helping some of the high schoolers with their homework or with tailgate suppers, things like that. The spectators in those communities have loved having us there. It’s been an amazing reaction.”

Hoadley describes her reaction as “amazed” when she recalls learning about the launch of the Athletic Bands program at BVU. Hoadley played in concert band, pep band, and jazz band during her prep days at Alta-Aurelia High School. Continuing her participation in pep and jazz band wasn’t possible when she came to BVU as a freshman to study biology.

“As soon as I found out, I e-mailed Tiffany immediately to ask if I could be part of the pep band,” she says. 

Wurth notes that Hoadley’s course of study represents the norm, rather than the exception. While there are music education, music performance, and music production majors playing in Blue Steel, there are many other majors represented, such as business, environmental sciences, political science, and business.

Hoadley has applied for a summer internship at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, one of the first steps she hopes to realize on her way to becoming a veterinarian.

Before then, however, she’ll focus on her studies at BVU and in making music for the concert band and BVU’s Blue Steel, a group named for the musicians’ use of Yamaha Pro-Line Instruments, all of them silver and all of them funded through generous donations made to the band program.

“We’ve also got all new drumline equipment and trap sets,” Wurth says. “We’re so grateful for everything our donors have done to help get the program going.”

The program, Hoadley indicates, will continue to grow. For the two tenor saxophone players who joined her from the high school ranks on Saturday have both indicated their desire to enroll at BVU.

“I’m excited,” she says, “it means the tenor saxophone section will have more sound!”