first_imgAll the excitement and emotion of Notre Dame football’s home opener will be on fully display Thursday night as Dillon Hall hosts its annual pep rally.   The Dillon pep rally will take place on South Quad at 7:30 p.m., bringing together students and fans to enjoy music and skit comedy in anticipation of the football team’s clash with Purdue this coming Saturday. Dillon pep rally organizer James Baker said the event will be separate from the official football pep rally this year, despite past collaboration between the two rallies. The Irish football team will celebrate its 125th anniversary this Friday in front of the Knute Rockne Memorial Gym, Baker said. Baker said holding the Dillon pep rally without the football team spurred planners to rethink the event’s focus. “I think the separation will create a little bit of a different flavor,” Baker said. “You get a lot of people on Friday nights who are fans of the football team, alumni who aren’t going to be there on a Thursday night. I think the crowd will be different this year, so we’re going to cater the event toward students more than toward families who come out for the rally.” Baker said this year’s rally will feature Irish dancing, an appearance by the Notre Dame Pom Squad and comedic performances from residents of Dillon.  Positive reviews of a student rendition of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” at last year’s pep rally also led to the inclusion of more music-based material, Baker said. “Even people at the back of the rally who couldn’t hear the words could still sing along and have a good time,” Baker said. “So, I think we’re going to continue that theme and incorporate more musical aspects into the event.” The pep rally is Dillon’s signature event, bringing together Notre Dame students to express excitement for the year’s football season accumulated over long months of waiting, Baker said.   “In past years, there has been tons of excitement and expectation going into the first home game,” Baker said. “I think this event definitely commemorates that excitement.” Baker said he and other students from Dillon began planning the pep rally earlier this summe, and have held numerous creative thinking and rehearsal sessions since returning to school. He said planners of last year’s pep rally viewed the event as largely successful, with the only true difficulties coming from a sound system malfunction and the day’s scorching heat. Baker encouraged all Notre Dame students to attend this year’s pep rally, promising a memorable and lighthearted experience. “We’re going to have a live band, really good performers and a ton of great laughs,” Baker said. “It’s going to be a really good time.”last_img