Thanks to Scott Wyant, who is pulling double-duty this semester with VCU InSight and in our office. Here’s a nice nat sound piece Scott recently put together on the VCU Pep Band, the Peppas.
November 20, 2012
March 1, 2012
By Michael Schuster
Below the surface of Rebecca Morrissette’s charming, albeit reserved, persona, there’s sincerity and courage. Her modesty and desire to succeed is enviable, but it’s her strength that has guided her inspirational tale through adversity.
When she was getting ready for high school, Morrissette, a junior forensics major at VCU, began noticing a sharp pain in her knees that forced her to seek orthopedic assistance. On the verge of trying out for her high school basketball team in Chester, Va., she and her family sought the medical attention of one of the best orthopedic doctors in Virginia.
Morrissette was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, which causes inflammation, pain, and swelling of the bone and cartilage of the shin. X-rays also revealed a patellar dislocation of her knee, a condition in which the patella is unable to support ligaments and tendons surrounding the knee, and causes extreme discomfort. Although these injuries are not uncommon for female athletes, the orthopedic surgeon recommended an invasive surgical procedure to repair the knees with screws and other mechanical incisions. However, the surgery would also effectively end her athletics career, a harsh reality.
“Sports were my life,” Morrissette said. “I tried to focus and take my mind off of this terrible news, but athletics is all I really knew at that point. I tried to focus my time on school, but it was really difficult. I felt disappointed, I cried, and felt a lot of loneliness for a long period after the diagnosis.”
October 4, 2011
On the heels of an outpouring of national attention during the NCAA Tournament and a victory at The Battle of the Bands at the Final Four, The Peppas, VCU’s pep band, will release a CD in the coming weeks. It will be the band’s first album in about 10 years.
Band director Ryan Kopasci, has been overseeing the project. He believes that in recent years the band has really hit its stride, and that made this the perfect time for an album.
“We decided now because it’s been about three years since I took over the band 100 percent, and we’ve got a little different music, a little different talent level,” Kopasci said. “We had some recent success at The Battle of the Bands. We’ve got some kids that will be seniors this year who have been with this for a while, and we’ve got some alumni that play with the band that have put so much into this to get us moving in the right direction. We felt like this would be a legacy-leaver for those guys.”
VCU fans can expect many of their favorite tunes from basketball season, including, The Hey Song, War, Do What You Wanna, Crazy, It’s All Over and more. Although the album will carry a few VCU-specific tracks, Kopasci hopes non-Ram fans enjoy it as well.
The band laid down the majority of the album months ago at Mills Godwin High School. Recently, Kopasci and the band have been fine tuning the tracks, including overdubs and the rerecording of some parts, in the home studio of an alumni drummer.
Kopasci says the album will also include some narrations, which will provide insight into the band’s history, as well as give thanks.
“There are a lot of people that helped us get here, and we want to make sure we give proper credit where it’s due,” he said.
The band hopes to complete the album in time for the start of basketball season. The band can’t legally sell the album because none of the music is original work, so the methods of distribution have not been finalized.
“We’re just a big cover band,” Kopasci joked.
The details will be worked out in the coming weeks. The CDs might be gifted to donors. They might be made available to the public. Several options will be considered. No matter what is decided, it won’t bother Kopasci.
“I have not given one ounce of thought to how we’re going to do that,” Kopasci said. “If we just give them away, I’m fine with that.”