May 1, 2013
Written by Sarabeth Pollock, Assistant AD for Academic Support
This month the USD Athletic Department Spotlight is proud to feature Torero Pep Band Director Jay Posteraro. If you've been to a basketball game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, then you've seen Jay Posteraro working his magic to use music to inspire the crowd as they cheer on the Toreros. According to Associate Athletic Director Steve Becvar, Jay's "professionalism, enthusiasm and ability to organize band support for our men's and women's basketball programs has been instrumental in providing a dynamic environment that our fans and attendees have come to expect." What many people don't realize is that the band is made up entirely of volunteers from USD and the local community.
Jay's involvement with the USD Pep Band started back in 2008 when he received a call about the position from a friend. Always an avid college basketball fan, a volunteer opportunity that blended sports and music made perfect sense for him. He also had previous experience as the band director at Potsdam College during his junior and senior year. It doesn't hurt that he can simultaneously lead the band while wailing on his trumpet, either.
His favorite memory is during his first year when both basketball teams went to the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Winning the West Coast Conference at home that year caused utter "pandemonium" around campus and electrified the crowd. The Pep Band traveled to Stanford to cheer on the women during the first round of the tournament. Jay recalls that the travel party was at the airport about to board the plane as the men's game was coming to an end. Southwest Airlines made a final boarding announcement, but they were very happy to allow everyone to see De'Jon Jackson's game winning shot against UConn before getting on the plane.
He enjoys traveling to Las Vegas with the Pep Band for the WCC Basketball Tournament. The Orleans Arena provides a fantastic atmosphere to play basketball, and it's a great opportunity for USD's band to meet bands from other schools. At the 2013 WCC Tournament, USD President Dr. Mary Lyons joined in the fun and played cowbell with the Pep Band. Jay also enjoys saluting the seniors during the last home game. It's a great way to recap the season and congratulate the players that he has watched since their freshman years. Ultimately, though, he really appreciates how the players and coaches appreciate the Pep Band. He says the members of the Pep Band feel like they're "part of the team." Becvar agrees that the Pep Band plays an integral role in Torero Basketball: "Whether it is playing the USD fight song, rally songs or special musical selections from our coaches and administrators, the USD Pep Band generates the type of enthusiasm and entertainment that keeps our teams and crowd fired up and in the game."
Outside of his work with the USD Pep Band, Jay is a full time teacher at Mesa Verde Middle School in Poway. He has been the music director for 19 years, and it is a job that he loves. "I want to make my kids better," he says. Currently he works with about 390 students in grades 6-8. There are 170 students in the 6th grade band alone. Mesa Verde is home to two different jazz bands, an orchestra, the Select Ensemble and the 6th grade Symphonic Winds. The Select Ensemble travels all over the country and has taken trips to Chicago and San Francisco. Recently, Jay was named the Poway Unified School District 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year and has been nominated for a Grammy Music Educators' Award. These are well deserved honors for a man who has dedicated his life to bringing music to children.
In his free time, Jay enjoys cooking and playing softball. He loves spending time with his wife Lisa and his daughter Rachel, who is a freshman at Westview. He also plays the trumpet in the band Select Brass. Looking ahead, Jay would like to see the Torero Pep Band grow to include more USD students. He wants to get the word out on campus to inspire people to be a part of this great band, and eventually he'd like to see the USD Pep Band perform in other venues across campus and in the community.