The College of Charleston pep band has a whole new pep in its step – not to mention a new name, a new director, a new look and a new sound.

Debuting last fall as Chucktown Sound, the band has become a modernized and revitalized version of its old self, thanks in large part to the College’s new director of athletics bands, Christopher Gongora, pictured far right.

“I just want us to affect the atmosphere and maybe even the outcome of some of the games by the presence we create,” says Gongora, who has also joined the College’s Department of Music as adjunct faculty teaching applied tuba and euphonium. “I recognize that we’ve also got to do something to generate excitement with the players and students.”

With a new logo, new uniforms, new instruments (including accordions, an electric guitar and synthesizer) and a new rock ’n’ roll lineup, Chucktown Sound is certainly generating excitement among its members.

“It gives us an identity that we didn’t have last year,” says clarinet player Cymone Littlejohn, a rising junior majoring in early childhood education. “We are no longer a group of kids who sit at the basketball games with instruments. We are a unified band that supports our basketball players by cheering, dancing and playing cool music.”

Indeed, with songs from artists like Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar sprinkled among the old gameday classics like “The Charleston“ and “Hey Baby,“ Chucktown Sound hasn’t just changed its tunes – it’s tuning into its audience better than ever.

Featured image of Chucktown Sound by Mike Ledford.