EWU’s band trumpets spirit for sports


Bailey Monteith

Senior saxophone player Nicholas Walsh performs with Code Red at a basketball game on Feb. 28 2019. During games band members typically taunt opposing teams, including yelling “50% is still failing” every time a player makes one-of-two free throw attempts.

By Drew Lawson, Reporter

Football Saturdays give off familiar senses to EWU students and alumni, with the red turf shining in the foreground, the smell of hot dogs in the air and the sound of slightly intoxicated screams carrying into the distance.

Another familiar sound on game day is the EWU marching band, which leads fans, cheerleaders and players in the showcase of school spirit.

The marching band has a walk-on policy, encouraging all EWU students with musical experience to join. Director of Bands Don Goodwin told The Easterner about the open-door policy.

“Marching band is a community band basically,” Goodwin said. “If you’re an Eastern student and you have a background in band, then you can join without an audition.”

Senior Kendall Parrett, a music education major and clarinet player, told The Easterner the current band members spend time recruiting potential players.

“We kind of ask around,” Parrett said. “It’s open to anybody on campus. We need instruments of all types.”

The marching band, which consisted of roughly 90 members during the 2018 football season, is divided into section leaders. Those leaders meet and come up with set lists and chants to perform on gameday, a process that begins in June before the season begins. The band practices three times a week in two-hour sessions.

“The set list is interesting,” Goodwin said. “We have a stable of songs that we’ve played for years, and we’re always adding to that.”

Goodwin said the marching band likes to play certain songs for different situations in the football games.

“We play the Darth Vader theme when the team is about ready to start on offense,” Goodwin said. “When they’re on defense … it depends on athletic marketing. I have to interact with them and they might say, ‘hey, we want to do these various things when we’re on defense.’ We have certain things we play at different times in the game.”

Goodwin said that some, but not all, students in the marching band are on scholarship.

“We offer performance-based scholarships to those that audition,” Goodwin said. “The marching band has a percentage of students that are on scholarship based on their auditions and their merit, basically.”

The musicians that play at Reese Court during basketball and some volleyball games are part of a specialized group called Code Red. To become a member of Code Red, students are required to be a part of marching band and go through a blind audition process. All students in Code Red are on scholarship. The amount they get is dependent on their attendance and performance.

“(Scholarships) are how we reward them for being a member of that ensemble,” Goodwin said. “It’s based on their performing at games. If they play all 20 games or whatever it ends up being, they get the max scholarship that’s available.”

The name Code Red originated from the athletic marketing department. Goodwin said there were various names being thrown around when the department called, and the choice was easy.

“I’m always reminded of the great Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson movie,” Goodwin said in reference to the 1992 film A Few Good Men. “‘Did you order the Code Red?’ I don’t know, it just sounds cool.”

Senior Nicholas Walsh, a jazz performance major, plays saxophone in marching band and is a third-year member of Code Red. He told The Easterner that the songs played by Code Red at basketball and volleyball games is dependent on various game scenarios.

“We have a setlist at the top, before the game starts,” Walsh said. “If the game is really intense we play … something to really reflect the mood of how the game is going: if the game is really close, if we’re stomping them, if the team is falling behind and needs a little encouragement. If the refs are making really bad calls we play ‘Forget You.’”

Parrett noted that while the marching band shares a common interest in music, the various personalities within the group add to its community.

“The funny thing is about the band, is you would think there’s one personality about a band person, but no, there’s sub-personalities,” Parrett said. “The flutists have a slightly different attitude than the clarinetists. Don’t even get me started on the trumpet attitude. There’s a bunch of little micro-societies.”

The band and its multitude of personalities won’t be performing for any of the spring sports, but will be back in action when the football team charges onto the Inferno this fall