By Amye Ellsworth
Giant headshots of Betty White, Macklemore and Eastern’s basketball players have been on display at men’s and women’s basketball games.
The headshots were made by Eastern’s new pep band, Code Red. Code Red formed this year with the goal of making sporting events more high energy and exciting for both fans and athletes.
Luke Brockman is the assistant director of bands as well as the director of Code Red. He said that the giant headshots are called Fat Heads. The idea for them came from watching other basketball games across the country in which fans had made Fat Heads of their favorite athletes.
The athletes did not know that their faces would be depicted in this way.
“I think it was a surprise to them. The coaches and the management got it going, but at first it was a shock,” Brockman said. “We saw them laughing.”
Brockman said that the Code Red members took the Fat Heads to the next level by incorporating celebrities, musicians and animated characters.
“We’re setting it up to also be some of our own guys, so that they’re holding their own heads and making weird faces,” Brockman said.
Currently, there are 17 members in Code Red. They are an elite group of students who auditioned to be a part of the group.Brockman said the limited number of members has proven to be an advantage. In comparison, there are 100 members on the marching band during football season.
“You have to have different songs, and you have to rehearse differently,” Brockman said. “With Code Red, there are only 17 of them and they’re very high level musicians. I can tell them to go home and practice this, and they come back and nail it perfectly. To get 100 people to play a song is a lot harder than getting 17.”
For an indoor setting like a basketball game, the numbers had to be lower. Brockman also wanted a fully committed group of students who would be able to attend every game.
“In the past, we’ve had a rag-tag pep band. When they do put the band together, it brings a lot of energy to the team. But, it was so hit or miss. This year we put together a proposal to form a really high powered band where it’s their job to be there,” Brockman said.
Code Red members are not only expected to learn and perform a variety of pop and classical rock songs; they also try to lead chants and cheers for the team.
“The band brings awesome musical talent and energy, but their energy when they’re not playing, and are cheering, really speaks for itself,” Brockman said.
According to Brockman, the players have been responding to the increased excitement level that Code Red brings.
“The [athlete’s] energy is way up. They enjoy getting more fan support,” he said.
Although this year was the first year for Code Red, they are excited to expand their horizons. “The vision for this group is to be the mainstay of indoor sports. It would be cool to branch out to volleyball in the fall,” Brockman said.
Code Red performs a 20-minute pregame show as well as a postgame show for every home women’s and men’s basketball game. Men’s basketball will play Southern Utah on Feb. 16, and the women’s next home game is Feb. 21 against Portland State.