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Posted on: December 7, 2021

New pep band makes debut at RPHS

Pep band 2

A new pep band made its debut on Dec. 3 at the Ray-Pec High School home basketball game!

The group of nine students recently formed and has been practicing at one student’s home. Upon their arrival Friday night at the gym, they were surprised to find that a banner had been made for them. In addition, Activities Director Kirk Hipple came into the band room before the game to personally address the group of excited and nervous students and give them a pep talk.

The creation of the pep band was the idea of sophomore Riley Zimmerman. He and his friend, sophomore Bo Helzer, presented the idea to high school administrators and Activities Director Kirk Hipple. Teacher Cara Hornbeck, mother of Riley’s friend Grant Hornbeck, agreed to be the band’s sponsor.

Riley and Bo invited other students to participate. There was some apprehension, as this was a new activity, and they were unsure how others might respond. This is not an activity that includes a grade or a letter. After recruiting others to join them, they started by practicing in the horse arena at Riley’s house. Soon after, they asked Hipple if they could have at least one practice in the gym before their first game. Permission was granted.

Riley’s jazz instructor, Shawn Hornbeck, has volunteered to help guide and lead the pep band group. He attended the practices and encouraged the students in the new venture. Hornbeck, a lieutenant with the Belton Police Department, attended college on a dual scholarship for football and jazz band. He played lead trombone for a jazz band while in college, and currently is the bassist in a local band, “The Heat KC.”  Hornbeck and his wife, Cara Hornbeck, have two children, a daughter who is a Ray-Pec graduate, and a son who is a sophomore at the high school.

This is not the first pep band at Ray-Pec High School, but it's been several years since one performed. 

Standing, from left to right: Jack Clingan, 9th grade, drums; Dawson Franzen, 11th grade, saxophone; Ryan Kachinski, 11th grade, trombone; Bo Helzer, 10th grade, trombone; Riley Zimmerman,10th grade, trombone; and Maddox Hoover, 10th grade, bass guitar. Seated, from left to right: Omari Mourning, 10th grade, trombone; Gabriel Cerda Galeassi, 12th grade, trombone; and Brady Dillon, 11th grade, trombone.

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