WPI’s campus is especially quiet at four in the morning.
Members of the Pep Band and cheerleading team know that fact all too well—running on nervous energy and caffeine, they all had arrived outside Alden Memorial one Tuesday in December, ready and waiting to board buses to Vermont so they could perform in the opening ceremony of The Bachelor franchise’s new spinoff series, Bachelor Winter Games.
Not exactly the way they’d expected to close out B-Term.
Pep Band president Veronica Rivera ’18 says the band was initially contacted by Bachelor producers about the opportunity on Tuesday the week before Thanksgiving; they found out they had been chosen to perform on the show six days later.
“I was sitting in my MQP lab when I got the email,” Rivera says. Two of the three members of her MQP group were also part of the band, she adds, and “I immediately told them and we all screamed a bit and celebrated.”
After more screaming and messages written in all caps, reality settled in throughout the group as the quick turnaround of the request hit them: they would be on the only band performing on the show, and had less than two weeks to practice for a performance that would be seen by millions of people around the world.
So, y'know, no pressure.
“We scheduled an emergency officers meeting the next day and planned out our end of the event for a few hours,” says drum major Clifford Smith ’19. Assistant drum major Ethan Lauer ‘20 further explained their process: they held several practices to review the music they’d be playing (WPI’s alma mater), as well as marching around the track to prepare for performing in the cold.
By December 5, the date of the taping, they—as well as the cheerleaders who would also be making the trip—were ready for their close-ups.
After a four-hour-long bus ride to the town of Manchester, Vt., the group was greeted by a Bachelor producer who wasted no time in getting down to business.
“Hi, welcome to Vermont! We’d like to run a dress rehearsal in about five minutes, so if you could get ready…”
This could have been cause for alarm, concern, panic, a desire to get right back on the bus and head home, but the band members took it in stride. Rivera smoothly relayed instructions and updates from the producer to her band mates, ensuring that everyone had what they needed and, ultimately, ensured that the band was ready to go in four minutes and thirty seconds flat.