Bulldog Band divides to conquer Sweet 16 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bulldog Band divides to conquer Sweet 16

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Gonzaga fans aren't the only ones who will be going in different directions this week. The Bulldog Band splits up at tournament time so that they can have a presence at both the men's and women's games.

On Wednesday, 30 band members will travel to Houston to support the men in their upcoming game against UCLA on Friday and 30 additional members will be at the Veteran's Memorial Arena holding down the fort in Spokane for the Lady Zags.

While it's a lot for band members to add to their already busy student schedules they say it's the most exciting time of the year for them.

"We're some of their biggest fans," says Kara Brown, a student conductor and music major. Kara will be leading the band headed to the women's game against Tennessee on Saturday. "Part of my job is to make sure that the band is rallied up and make sure that we're cheering for the women's group. It gives them extra support and extra representation."

Bulldog Band Director David Fague says although Gonzaga basketball has gotten huge, the rest of the school is relatively small compared to what they're up against.

"We're going up against schools that have 40,000 people at the school and we have 4,000." They may be small, but the Bulldog Band has a lot of heart and passion.

"I've been in the band all three years that I've been here and I really love the band," says Mitchell Krmpotich, who moved from Casper, Wyoming to attend Gonzaga.

He along with the rest of the band has been present at almost all of the teams' games. "I've missed two games in my time and that's because my cousin got married."

Let's not forget the character of the band. Shane Derrick. He's Captain of the drumline but, Derrick is likely more recognizable for playing the cowbell when the band performs Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper."

"I went somewhere way out in the student section and just started wailing on it," says Derrick of one of his recent performances. He says one fan actually bought him a "More Cowbell" T-shirt. Derrick got the idea from the SNL skit featuring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken, and thought it would be entertaining for Zag fans.

"I want the student section, all the fans there to see the band is there to have fun and play some good music," says Derrick.

"We want to play anything that the audience wants to hear," says Fague. "We want to please the Kennel, we want to please the season ticket holders and get everybody fired up."

This year is especially exciting as the band prepares to play for the teams in the Sweet 16.

"I told the freshmen, you guys are so lucky," says Krmpotich. "Soak up all of this emotion, all the feelings and all the excitement, because this is amazing!"

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