Chloe Ellison: Keeping up the “Pep”


Chloe Ellison, a junior from Fort Collins, Colorado, is co-director of the Raider Pep Band, which is a music group dedicated to performing at athletic and community events to encourage school spirit.

“Music has always been a significant part of my life. I’m both a pianist and a percussionist and have been playing since the age of four,” she said.

In Pep Band, Ellison primarily plays the snare drum, although she fills in on bass drum and quads when needed. Now a veteran, her passion for music began at a young age and carried her into her time here at Colgate.

“I have always been an active member of multiple musical ensembles and have made music a priority in my life,” Ellison said. “I was involved in my high school’s marching pep band which was a very meaningful experience to me, so it was important that I had the opportunity to continue playing in a pep band in college.”

Ellison immediately knew she wanted to continue making music a priority. After learning about Colgate’s Raider Pep Band and contacting the past director, she signed up for the pre-orientation band camp prior to arriving on campus. She has been a member of the Raider Pep Band ever since, continuing her passion for music over the last two and a half years. 

Now co-director of the Raider Pep Band, Ellison has a host of responsibilities that involve reaching out to incoming first-years, serving as a liaison between the pep band and athletics and organizing all of their events, including performances, rehearsals and away trips. These events are important to Ellison and the Raider Pep Band as they give them opportunities to spend even more time together as a group.

“Some of my favorite memories include our away trips to Niagara, Brown University and Yale University. We all enjoyed exploring these new locations and supporting Colgate at the proceeding games,” Ellison said.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place this past semester, away trips to athletic events haven’t been possible. When asked how else the Raider Pep Band has been affected by COVID-19, Ellison noted that they were unable to perform or rehearse due to the various limitations. 

“The suspension of all wind and vocal activity on campus, along with limited athletic and community events to play at, made it difficult for us to meet, so we decided as a group to continue remotely out of concern for our members’ and the community’s safety. However, we did make it a priority to meet regularly over Zoom to give first-years the opportunity to meet pep band members and interact with each other,” Ellison said.

Although this semester has proven difficult, Ellison and the Raider Pep Band have found ways to keep their music alive in the spirit of Colgate’s tradition. 

“We have been in the process of creating a recording of Colgate’s Alma Mater and Fight Song, in which each of our members records their parts separately, in order to continue playing our instruments and expose our new members to some of the pep band’s repertoire, as well as give the community some of our classic ‘pep’ during these difficult times,” she said.

Although the Raider Pep Band has been forced to adapt this semester, Ellison still values her Colgate experience. A double concentrator in music and educational studies, she attributes her positive time on campus to the loving and embracing community found in the people on campus. As someone who is very close with her family, particularly her brother who is now a senior in high school and a musician as well, tt was a difficult move to attend a school all the way across the country. However, her passions for music and the Colgate community have been able to fill the space between Ellison and her family back in Fort Collins. 

“I was looking for a school with an academically rigorous program where I could continue to play music. I also wanted to attend a small school where I could foster relationships with my professors and I was drawn to the involvement of the alumni community,” Ellison said. 

Aside from the Raider Pep Band, Ellison is an extremely active member of other various musical groups on campus.  She is a member of the Colgate University Orchestra, Chamber Players and the Jazz Band. Ellison also prides herself in being a Community Leader, a Deacon of Colgate University’s Church and a member of Colgate’s Activities Board.

It’s evident that Ellison is passionate about connecting with people through music, and she envisions continuing this in the near future once she graduates.

“It is my goal to pursue a career in Arts Administration and Educational Policy in which I hope to influence music and arts curricula and help make the arts as a whole more accessible to marginalized communities. Before this, I plan on pursuing an advanced degree in Education Policy,” Ellison said. 

For Ellison, the Raider Pep Band is all about friendship, community and having fun making music. They have even gone viral on TikTok, always finding time to make music and have fun together even outside of rehearsals and performances.