North Texas Daily

Pep band adds flavor to Mean Green basketball games

Pep band adds flavor to Mean Green basketball games

Pep band adds flavor to Mean Green basketball games
February 13
00:26 2014

Chris Scarborough // Intern Writer

Despite the roar of the crowd, the squeak of athletes’ shoes and the bouncing basketball on the hardwood floor, the UNT Funky Fresh Basketball Pep Band makes itself heard throughout every Mean Green basketball game.

The pep band has existed since the late 1970s as a musical addition to the games, but when director Nicholas Williams came to the program 11 years ago, he aspired to bring another dimension.

“I wanted to take the group from one that played their music really well to one that also was a more active participant in the game atmosphere,” Williams said.

Whether the band is playing a song from its booklet of more than 300 tunes or trying to get inside the opposing team’s head with its “smack talk” chants, the band  – which consists of about 30 students each year – contributes to the atmosphere every game.

“It’s nice to be able to support our teams and really be a role model for the school spirit,” music senior Aaron Sanderson said.

Yelling “fundamentals” when the opposing team makes a basic mistake and screaming loudly when the cheerleaders chant, “Go Mean Green, let’s hear you scream,” are a couple of examples of how the pep band stands out compared to other school bands.

“This band is definitely different from most other groups I’ve been in,” music senior Tony Gonzalez said. “We can scream and be really loud and obnoxious. This group lets you cut loose more than a traditional concert ensemble does.”

Along with jazz and funk tunes, the band also mixes in its own versions of popular songs that the crowd recognizes, like “Fly Like an Eagle.” No matter the score, the band always looks to give energy to the fans and the team.

“Even if they’re losing, they’re playing hard, which helps keep the atmosphere up,” said mechanical and energy engineering sophomore Zac Caldwell.

The band always looks to keep the fans entertained, especially during the timeout stoppages, which is the best chance to get everyone’s attention. Meanwhile, the Mean Green players are encouraged by the band and have seen it affect their opponents.

“They add excitement and energy,” senior guard Alzee Williams said. “They’re always on the opposite team, making jokes and stuff and getting the crowd hyped. It’s really good for us.”

Junior forward Colin Voss, who transferred to UNT this season from Northern Oklahoma College, saw the band for the first time this season in the opening exhibition game on Nov. 1.

“I just didn’t know what they were going to do,” Voss said. “The first time, it was unexpected when they showed how passionate they were. They made me laugh a couple times during the game just by saying things to the opponents.”

And like the players, fans in the student section also enjoy the antics of the pep band.

“I love it so much.  I love watching the games but I also love dancing at the games,” physics senior Erin Thornton said. “The band is always really loud and that contributes a lot to the cheering.”

For some members of the band, the purpose behind joining is simple and directly related to what the program is designed to do – show school spirit.

“Doing marching band, you get to see the most spirited people at the university,” Sanderson said. “So when auditions for pep band came around, I just thought that was another way I could support the university and support athletics.”

Anyone can try out for the pep band by going to auditions in October each year. Currently, there is one or more non-music major in every section of the band.

Feature photo: The trumpet line of the UNT basketball pep band plays during a Women’s basketball game at the Super Pit on Saturday. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Staff Photographer 

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