An Echo of the Past: Southeast Sound


Courtesy of Southeast Sound

Madison A. Miller

IUS basketball games sport more than just hoops. Students get free admission, and this year, the band continues playing pep tunes to set the fun mood. But for the Southeast Sound, this opportunity is slowly going away as fewer people pick up their instruments to play.    

“A big part of the small numbers is due to students having full schedules,” said Jennifer Gordon, IUS pep band director. “Currently, Southeast Sound has four members that play at basketball games, with a fifth member who also joins periodically.” 

In contrast, a 2017 photo of a Southeast Sound performance shows more than 30 people playing saxophone, horns, clarinets, and other woodwind instruments, along with drummers behind them. A decade ago, the blasts of trumpets, trombones, and tubas were much louder and numerous in the Activities Building, according to a Horizon profile of Gordon in 2013. 

IUS Professor of Mathematics Mildred Vernia echoes Gordon’s theory as to why the pep band has so few members. She helps recruit instrumentalists into Southeast Sound. Vernia is also looking into recruiting members during the Week of Welcome at the start of the next school year, when incoming IUS students come to campus for the first time. 

Practices are now shorter than in previous years. Practices are still held every Sunday in the Activities Building, however, the time is now 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Attendance is not required every week, and uniforms are provided for any performer. 

But the band’s small number of participants limits its opportunities. Orleans High School, located in Orange County, hosts a pep band invitational open to area high school and college bands. The Southeast Sound is unable to attend competitions such as these. In addition, the pep band is no longer playing at Homecoming games like they used to. 

“We’ve opened the Southeast Sound to juniors and seniors in high schools throughout southern Indiana, and even welcome performers from Ivy Tech and University of Louisville,” said Gordon, who hopes for a resurgence in members. To help make that happen, anyone over 18 in the community who plays an instrument, as well as alumni from local colleges in Kentuckiana are also welcome to join, she said. 

The Southeast Sound has a few more performances this semester. They are scheduled to perform Saturday, Tuesday, and February 18. For more information about opportunities with the Southeast Sound, students and community members can contact Jennifer Gordon at or Mildred Vernia at