The freshmen keep getting younger and younger. Or at least that’s what it seems when you glance over at the Pep Band at Boston College hockey games. Their biggest star on the band is also the smallest presence in the stands.
Hidden between the sousaphones and trombones is Pep Band’s youngest member: Andres Jay. Seven-year-old Andres switches from being the lone recorder player, to conductor for the BC fight song “For Boston.”
“Andres started coming to the games with me when he was four,” explains Andres’ father, Andrew Jay, who has been a BC hockey season ticket holder for 25 years. Between periods, Andres and his father would walk down and spend time with the band.
“When we go to a game, after going through the gate, Andres runs to join the band,” says Jay.
Andres was slowly introduced to the members of the band at different games growing up. He would try out the drum set between periods, and talk with the Pep Band members.
While Andres’ father initiated the visits, talking, and meeting members of the band, bringing his recorder and playing along were completely Andres’ idea. “He came and just stood beside the band playing along. He made friends and it just grew,” says Jay.
“Andres has become a staple in the Pep Band who we all love so much,” says Courtney Capistran, CSON ’16. “It's gotten to the point where I get concerned if he's late to a game with us.”
Andres loves going to the hockey games to not only hang out with his friends in Pep Band, but he also loves playing both the pop songs and the classic BC songs, like “Shipping up to Boston.”
While constantly improving his musical skills, Andres has also been fostering key social skills at the hockey games. A boy wise beyond his years, he is learning how to communicate with others, growing more comfortable around adults and creating new friendships, some with people three times his age.
In addition to being a musician and BC hockey fan, Andres is also quite the gentleman. After winning a signed Teddy Doherty puck as fan of the game, he brought the captain a thank you card, an impressive act considering that even many college students still struggle to keep the art of the handwritten note alive.
Having Andres at the hockey games is a huge highlight for all of the Pep Band members, especially Lisamarie DiOrio, LSOE '16, who spends a majority of her time with Andres. “He's constantly telling me stories about his days in school and we play rock, paper, scissors or thumb wrestle during intermissions,” says DiOrio. He reminds the college students that it's okay to still be a kid.
The Pep Band members treat Andres like their own, Jay explains. “They have welcomed him into their midst, teaching him about friendship, music, and teamwork. He is having a terrific time.”
Watch out for Andres at the next hockey game, he is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, regardless of the hockey game’s score.
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