Alumni Relations

Published: 69 articles

Marching into 2017: Updates from the Head Manager

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni! IMG_1429

My name is Kathleen Won, and I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to be Head Manager of the Big Red Marching Band in 2017! I am a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, double majoring in Government and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I have been a member of the Flute section for two years and was Section Leader last fall semester. I am incredibly excited to lead the Band with Jeff, our new Drum Major, and the rest of Bandstaph this year and to make this experience as wonderful for others as it has been for me thus far.

Our spring season kicked off early in the semester with an event to celebrate the gift to the SC Johnson College of Business. The event was a success and helped spread the Band’s image, and we received praise from Fisk Johnson himself.

The middle of March was truly when the Band was able to begin its spring semester though, with Giving Day and Hotel Ezra Cornell in the same week. Giving Day was over a month earlier this year, on March 14th, and we worked hard to improve the quality of the livestream so that alumni and everyone else watching could enjoy our songs in crisp quality. Members of band braved the winter storm that hit Ithaca with a whole of snow, which just goes to show how much everyone cares about this organization. Following that, we performed for the Hotel Ezra Cornell conference, trying something new with a performance for their evening gala over the weekend.

April will be a busy month for the Band, starting off with three dates for Cornell Days, where we will be parading and performing in hopefully warmer weather and spreading Cornell spirit to the Cornell community and incoming students. We may also be performing for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and performing for after-school programs at the YMCA; we are also participating again in Cornell’s Bring A Child to Work Day with an educational session for young students.

Spring concert will be April 22nd, at the Farmer’s Market! Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will have a bright and sunny day to play by the water and make some lasting memories.

Although there is still a long ways to go before our Fall season, I am anticipating an exciting time for Band. Homecoming is late this year on October 21st, but around that we are traveling to Yale, Princeton, and Penn(sucks). We are also looking into Pro games to play at, and hopefully, if all works out, we’ll be pulling out our passports for a trip to Canada.

All in all, I couldn’t be more excited for the months to come. I just love band so much, and I’m so happy to be able to give back. I’m looking forward to an incredible year!

- Kathleen Won ’19

Lots of Surprises for a Spectacular Year from Your 2017 Drum Major!

Alumni Relations

Hello Alumni!Jeff

My name is Jeff Crosby, your 2017 Drum Major! I am a junior Psychology major preparing to attend law school after graduation. Some of you may remember reading about me from my positions as 2015 Alumni Relations Chair and Fall 2016 Pep Band Conductor. My roots are from the saxophone section, but I still play as a member of the bone section in Pep Band. I have had an amazing experience in band so far, and I’m so excited to serve as Drum Major for this upcoming year!

The Marching Band was very busy at the start of the year when we were asked to do a surprise performance at the SC Johnson College of Business donation presentation and celebration in late January. Many bandsmen came and performed with us for this special occasion. The Johnson family was very happy and the guests were overwhelmed with the support that the marching band students showed at the ceremony. We were even featured on the Cornell University cover photo for a few days!

On March 14, (PI DAY!), the Marching Band and Pep Band had a very successful Giving Day Concert! Even though the university was closed and classes were cancelled for two days, our bandsmen braved through the winter weather to put on an amazing concert for alumni, family, and friends. The performance was excellent and we hope you enjoyed it. If you want to see the video, check it out on our BRMB Historian Youtube page!

Due to the bad winter weather, the first day of HEC was cancelled which meant the Marching Band was unable to do our annual small concert and march through Statler Hall. To make up for it, we did another surprise performance during the Hotel Ezra Cornell Banquet. We performed Cornell spirit songs, Pinball Wizard, and the Alma Mater for many alumni and donors. It was a great event!

During the past few weeks, we also held our first new music rehearsal. I am so excited for our plans for the shows next fall. We will be featuring some cool purchased arrangements as well as BRMB student arrangements. We are planning for a very diverse showcase of music including modern songs and hit classics! There is even going to be some bandsmen dancing, so get excited for that! For our Homecoming show on October 21, the homecoming song will be JCS!

We have many other events coming up this spring including Cornell Days, service events, and our annual Spring Concert on April 22! We are having a very busy spring, but we are also actively preparing to welcome the Class of 2021 this August.
I look forward to seeing you in the future at our performances, reunion, and homecoming! Thank you for your continued support of the BRMB!

-Jeff Crosby ‘18

Managing Pep: To Lake Placid and Beyond

Alumni Relations

Hi Alumni!

My name is Susan Eichhorn, and I am happy to introduce myself as the 2017 Pep Band Manager.  Outside of band, I am a junior from Long Island, NY, who studies Biological Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Within band, I am a member of the clarinet section and have previously served the bands  as ShowComm as well as Pep Band Historian.  I’ve always loved being a member of Pep Band, and although the position has been challenging at times, it has been a great way to give back to the organization.  Lucky for me, my conductors, Alex Fernandez ’19 and Snigdha Sharma ’18, have made my life all the easier with their awesome conducting and their infectious passion and enthusiasm for the Pep Band!

The Men’s Hockey team has had quite a season this year!  During our regular season run, we had two trips to Union/RPI and SLU/Clarkson.  Both of these trips were filled with a lot of winning and good times.  In our first home game of the semester, the Clarkson Pep Band came over to our side of the rink and played a few songs with us as a super band.  The amount of support we’ve received from hockey fans and parents has been overwhelming!  After our game at Clarkson, David Angello, father of sophomore player Anthony, provided the Pep Band with pizza for the bus ride home.  Additionally, Bill Gillam, father of our hero Mitch Gillam, asked the Pep Band seniors to play at a special event for the hockey parents- many of which gave the Pep Band a special shoutout!  Men’s Hockey finished their season in 3rd place, and after a week off, came back stronger and better than ever, defeating Clarkson in Quarterfinals. The Big Red had a great showing at Lake Placid for ECAC Finals, our first time back since 2014, making it to the Championship Game!  Next, we were on the road again, this time to Manchester, NH to take on UMass Lowell.  Unfortunately, our boys didn’t have as much luck, but the rest of the band had a great time cheering on our team and making our first appearance as the Cornell Pep Band at SNHU Arena.

Women’s Hockey has also found a lot of success this season, ending as Ivy League Champions!  After finishing in 3rd place in ECAC standings, they beat Colgate in Quarterfinals and moved on to ECAC Finals and NCAA Quarterfinals.  They continued making us proud to cheer them on all season and really showed the power of Big Red!

Next up for the Pep Band is lacrosse season.  Recently, weather has prevented us from attending the first few games this season, but we are ready to get back out there (quite literally), and cheer on our lacrosse teams!  This year, we also want to try to make it to more baseball games for the Big Red.  As long as the weather decides to cooperate, you can look forward to seeing a lot more of the Pep Band outside, working on our tans and supporting our teams.

If you’re ever back in Ithaca and are interested in visiting and playing with the pep band, please feel free to reach out!  My email is

-Susan Eichhorn ‘18


Lynah and Tigers and Bears: Adventures in Conducting the Pep Band

Alumni Relations


Hey alumni!

I’m Snigdha Sharma, one of your Spring 2017 Pep Band conductors! I’m a junior English major in the College of Arts and Sciences, and this is my fifth (and perhaps favorite) semester in pep band. Between the success of the men’s and women’s hockey teams, we have had quite an exciting season in 2017! I had the honor of conducting the ECAC championship games at Lake Placid, which was an amazing and unforgettable experience. My fellow conductor Alex then traveled with the band to UMass Lowell for the NCAA regionals to further cheer on the men’s team. Regardless of the outcomes of the games themselves, the band as usual had a blast! Alex and I have been working on expanding and revising the current music folder with both professional arrangements and student submissions — we’re excited for the opportunity to introduce some new and fresh music to the band in addition to treasuring the classics (Free Bird, anyone?). In the latter half of the spring semester, we made the transition from indoor events to outdoor events like men’s and women’s lacrosse, as well as multiple baseball double-headers. Despite inclement weather keeping us from playing at the first few men’s lacrosse games, we had multiple people tell us at the first game attended that we are their good luck charm (which we like to think is true)! From Lynah Rink to Lake Placid and more, conducting the Pep Band this semester has been the most unforgettable and valuable experience in my Cornell career so far. Watching the band grow and thrive and most importantly, have fun, is always the best part of the job. Being Pep Band Conductor has been an absolute honor this semester, and I can’t wait to see where this band goes in the future!

– Snigdha Sharma ‘18

Alex F

Hey Alumni!

My name is Alex Fernandez and I am one of the Spring 2017 Pep Band Conductors! I am a Sophomore studying Information Science, Systems and Technology in the College of Engineering. It’s been an awesome semester so far, working with Snigdha and Susan has been great and I hope I’m not making their lives too hard. The hockey team did well and even though we had a rough game at Lake Placid and a rougher game in Manchester, we were happy to travel with them to wherever they ended up (Thankfully not Fargo). Giving Day just happened and we loved putting on the awesome concert for you. We also had a lot of fun at basketball earlier this semester and even had the Penn band come up for a game. Our team may have had a tough game but the band always wins!  

We’ve managed to keep a large bunch of super talented freshmen and it’s been awesome helping them learn the folder and watching them get into all the Lynah traditions.  Speaking of the folder, we’re working on compiling and adding the cheersheet from the end of February and are excited to put that into rotation. Looking forward, we have tons of LAX coming up and even some baseball doubleheaders, so we’re hoping the warmth returns soon and actually stays this time.  

Balancing Conductor and Bone Section Leader has been immensely rewarding, especially when I can call up New World with twice the ability. From creating a super band with Clarkson way back at the end of January to fancy hockey to several super close and stressful playoff games, being Conductor has been amazing so far and I can’t wait to see you all during the rest of the season!

-Alex Fernandez ‘19


Section Shenanigans

Alumni Relations

image1The Flutes have been up to their usual shenanigans this semester! We had a cookie-making party at the beginning of the semester, watched a few movies together, and are looking forward to many more fun events. Several flutes stepped up to leadership positions in 2017: Kathleen Won is our (f)lovely head manager, Kristen Rose Baxter and Julia Klopfer are Alumni chairs, Diane Sutyak is a member of the show committee, and Laasya Renganathan is one of our publicity chairs! We can’t wait for the fall to bring us more marching band, more flute freshmen, and more fun.

clurinertsThe Clarinets have been keeping busy this spring semester despite not having many marching band events. We’ve been having a lot of fun with each other at unofficial events like our first ever cook-off! We also started playing Dungeons&Dragons together and spent an evening skating at Lynah. We enjoyed getting to play some of our favorite band songs at Giving Day (#remembertheband.) We can’t wait to begin preparing for next fall’s shows!

The Saxes are enjoying a relaxing spring semester! 15304155_10206099132437938_1139046157218870844_o (1)Since getting together in NYC over winter break (because who can go six weeks without any saxes, amirite?) and starting the semester with a minty cocoa movie night, most of us spend our weeks in Saxhouse hiding from the ever-changing Ithaca weather. We’re getting ready to test some brand new sax cheers for the coming season! In addition, the saxes may be creating a drum major dynasty with Jeff Crosby ‘18 becoming the 2017 Drum Major!

hornsThe Horns have been keeping busy since the end of the marching season. We were heartbroken when our exchange Dane, Amanda Laursen, had to return to her native Denmark. Many of us continued to play our horns in the Big Red Pep Band, where our very own Snigdha Sharma is conducting this season! Even so, we’re looking forward to donning our uniforms for Spring concert!

The Trumpets have had a great start to 2017! Nonsec 2016We have continued to ascend to band leadership with Mary Amper ’18 as Trumpet Section Leader, Bethany Angeliu ’18 going from the second most powerful position in the band (Head Manager) to the most powerful position in the band (Spinmaster), Diana Herrera ’19 as too many bandstaph positions (and Trumpet Mom), Molly Bergin ’19 (a trumpet at heart) as Field Manager, Chris Sanchez ’20 as ShowComm Chair, Ponyboy Siper ’20 and Gabby Alvarez ’20 as Fundraising Chairs, and Spot Ellert-Beck ’20 as Webmaster. We’ve been waffle-frolicking, ice skating, hanging out with trumpet alums on pep band trips and in Ithaca, and playing as loud and high as ever. We will miss our seniors, Pinto Smith ’17, Saby Buch ’17, and Liz VanDenburgh ’17, as they graduate and move on to life after Cornell. We’ve become a younger section, but our future looks bright. We’re looking forward to the return of Pinto from the working world later this spring, having our trumpet formal at the classiest of establishments (Chi Buff), and to a great Fall 2017 season!

14712737_10103386541700085_1315623773027645743_oThe Bones are doing great this semester!  We’ve kept most of our freshmen and are have grabbed some more for pep band. We can’t wait for Cornell Days and marching season to roll around again. Bone Mugs are moving onto the design mock-up stage, so once we get that and approve it, we’ll be able to order again! Thank you so much to all of those who donated to save them! We’ve been hanging out with other sections a bunch and have generally still been the best section in the band. Please come visit us, we love you all so much, and we miss you!

The Tubae have had a fun semester so far,tuba pic even though there’s a lot less band going on! We’ve of course been continuing our Taco Tuesday tradition. This semester we have one tuba, David, abroad, and one tuba … on BOARD! That is, the pep band board! Our one and only freshman, Zach, has taken up duties as Pep Band Treasurer! Our seniors have been enjoying their last semester, and we’re getting ready for another FUN FUN FUN semester next year!

image1The Guard is hunkering down for the winter as we wait in anticipation for spring to come so we can bust out our silks once again. In the meantime, we have elected a new captain, Becca Rodell ’19, and re-elected our 2016 co-captain, Lauren Russo ’18, to lead the prettiest section in the Big Red Marching Band for the 2017 year. Also, congrats to Tara van Nieuwstadt ’20 for taking on the role of Publicity Chair (the legacy continues)! We are so excited to see what this year has to offer!

As usual, percussion is too cool to be in BandNotes!


Giving Day 2017

Alumni Relations

In celebration of Giving Day, the Big Red Marching and Pep Bands will be streaming a concert live from Fischell Band Center. Tune in to hear some of your favorites! The concert will begin at 7:30 PM EST on March 14th, and can be found at

The Bands have the opportunity to earn extra money by taking part in challenges offered throughout the day. The first 10 athletic teams to reach 100 *donations* can earn $5,000. We can also receive $2,500 for having the most donations ending in 3.14 by 9:00 AM.

There are also several social media challenges throughout the day. At 10 AM and 4 PM, a random post will be picked from Instagram or Twitter that uses the hashtag #CornellGivingDay. The winners of these challenges will be contacted privately and can choose where they would like these funds allocated. Both of these challenges could earn $2,500 for the Bands. Please consider helping us win these challenges by using this hashtag!

Check us out on social media to see all the band memories that we’ll be posting throughout the day. We love to hear your stories, so let us know why you’ll always #RememberTheBand. If you use the hashtags #RememberTheBand and #CornellGivingDay, you can help us win additional funds.


Find us at:

Big Red Bands Alumni Facebook group

Big Red Bands Alumni LinkedIn group

Big Red Bands Facebook page

Twitter: BRMB and BRPB

Instagram: BRMB and BRPB

YouTube: BRMB and BRPB

Historian Facebook pages: BRMB and BRPB

Those Good Old Days on the Hill: the Bands Get Ready for a Great 2017

Alumni Relations

Hello Big Red Bands Alumni!

After an unforgettable fall semester, the Big Red Bands are getting ready for a great 2017! Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll be up to in the near future:

The Annual Big Red Bands Phonathon will be held on the evenings of February 2nd and February 16th. Keep an eye out for a call from a current Bands member! We love talking to you and are thankful for your generous support. If you would like to give to the bands by alternative means, please feel free to follow this link or contact our Fundraising Chairs Gabby Alvarez ‘20 ( and Zach Siper ‘20 ( with any questions.

The Big Red Pep Band is coming to a rink near you. Come and rejoin the Lynah Faithful as we cheer on Big Red! The Pep Band has planned two trips to regular season Men’s Hockey games:

  • February 3rd and 4th at Union College and RPI
  • February 17th and 18th at St. Lawrence University and Clarkson

As we look ahead to this summer and fall, don’t forget to mark Reunion (June 8-11th) and Homecoming (October 20-21st) on your calendars! We look forward to hosting you on the hill and welcoming you back into the band family.

Finally, with a new year comes a new Bandstaph. And now, introducing the only real Alumni Relations Chairs in the Ivy League: Kristen Rose Baxter ‘18, a biology major who plays piccolo and horn, is delighted to be re-elected to serve for another year. When she’s not at band, she’s probably counting flies in genetics lab. Julia Klopfer ‘20, a flute player who plans on majoring in Biology and Society, is so excited to be serving as your Alumni Relations chair for her first year on Bandstaph. Please reach out to us at and with any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Looking forward to a great year,

Kristen Rose and Julia

Welcome to BandNotes Fall 2016!

Alumni Relations

Dear Big Red Bands Alumni,

Thank you for making this year such a success. Your continued support and enthusiasm are reflective of how much pride comes with being a past or present member of the Big Red Bands. It has been a pleasure to serve as your 2016 Alumni Relations Chairs. We hope to see you again next year at Reunion (June 8-11, 2017), Homecoming (October 20-21, 2017), and more!

We hope you enjoy the Fall 2016 edition of BandNotes! Read on for updates and reflections on the closing season.

Best wishes,

Kristen Rose Baxter ‘18 and Odalis Flores ‘19

Notes from the Alumni Association Chair

Alumni Relations

I just returned from the Cornell-Columbia game in New York and (most importantly!) the Sy Katz ’31 parade down Fifth Avenue.  This is a great place to start my fall update, as this year was a transition year of sorts for this event.  Those of you who have seen it before may know that it started as a small event with the Band, Sy Katz, and his family and friends.  Over the years, it has grown a few blocks bigger, added a kickoff gathering at Rockefeller Center, and has morphed from a niche happening to a true University-wide event.  Although the Katz family has coordinated this event for many years now, we were at a crossroads: would it continue?  I’m happy that the most recent parade was a great success.  In fact, it was so successful that it started 3 blocks west of the kickoff spot, because when your buses are stuck in traffic, you might as well just unload in the middle of West 50th Street and march there.  Even without a permit, it’s faster than driving across town.

This year’s parade was a collaborative effort between the Katz family, the Cornell Northeast Corridor office, and the Big Red Bands Alumni Association.  Aside from traveling from West 497th Street (I think that’s where Columbia’s stadium is) and the longest second quarter ever (or so my four-year-old son declared), the event went smoothly, and I’m happy to report that the tradition will continue. When I started as the BRBAA chair, I wanted to raise the profile of our group on campus and beyond, and although we have a long way to go, this was a great example of a small success.

The collaboration between the Alumni Association and the leadership of the bands has seen other successes this past year as well.  One major joint project was the outfitting of the Fischell Band Center.  Sarah Fischell ’78 commissioned Professor Rhonda Gilmore’s exhibit design class in the College of Human Ecology to make the space more functional and feel more like home.  You can read more about the project here.  There’s still more to be done, but it’s been a great addition so far.  Sidenote: Ezra Magazine was all about the Band this month – I think the print edition featured them in three places!

Turning to matters less stylish and more financial, the 2016 budget year showed an income of $166K vs. expenses of $144K (including our annual contribution to equipment reserves).  This resulted in the BRBAA re-investing $26K into our endowment, which includes a portion of the reserve expenses.  Expenses were up compared to 2015, which was mostly attributable to planned travel cost differences.  On the income side, gifts set a record for the second consecutive year at $103K; as you probably know, this new level of income is driven largely by Giving Day.  LTIP (“endowment”) payout was also a record high at $43K.  This is probably what I am most proud of and excited about, as our prudent budgeting and re-investment in LTIP funds has grown this payout above and beyond fluctuations in the economy and is largely what allowed us to weather the recession.  As the payout is set by the Board of Trustees based on a three-year rolling average of the financial markets, the payout per share can be expected to rise further beyond it’s FY17 value of $2.75.  This, combined with our organization-record share total of over 18,000 shares, has allowed us to maintain and improve on the student experience despite rising costs.

While the budget news has been good, the BRBAA has identified a number of additional expenses in the coming years.  These include those related to student safety, increased security for student and Band Center property, further increases to travel costs, student food budget increases aimed to address student food insecurity, increased music advisor support, and other opportunities to better safeguard and showcase Band history and memorabilia.  We obviously won’t be able to address these all at once, but the Advisory Council (including the student leadership) created a short and long-term wish list that we’d like to incorporate into future budget planning.

You may recall that one of the major expenses we have had to navigate was the increased utility and stewardship costs that started coincidentally with the opening of the Fischell Band Center.  Obviously a large new space contributes to this, but an equally important factor was a shift in overall Cornell budget models that allocated operating expenses to individual units.  In other words, had the Bands remained in Barton Hall, there would have been a new cost as well.  Thankfully, through the generosity of David and Sarah Fischell, a new endowment for Band Center operations will be fully funded over five years.  Combined with earlier negotiations with the University about a gradual phase-in of the increased costs, we should be able to adapt to our new home with only a few lean years.

Gifts from generous alumni and friends continue to provide the largest portion of the Bands’ income.  I hope that the momentum and energy from Giving Day continues to follow the strong support during our annual Phonathon to allow the band to not only meet ongoing operational expenses, projected at $150k for FY17, but also continue to enhance the student experience and meet the safety and security needs of current Band members.  Thank you for sharing your ongoing enthusiasm, time and financial support with the Only Real Marching Band in the Ivy League!

Lastly, as 2016 draws to a close, our Advisory Council terms come to an end.  Approved in September to begin terms on January 1, the new Big Red Bands Alumni Association Advisory Council will be:

Chair: Lowell Frank ’99, ’03 (Washington, DC)

Vice Chair: Brian Adelman ’09 (Chicago, IL)

Treasurer: Adam Drenkard ’11 (New York, NY)

Secretary: Michelle Yanda ’15 (Washington, DC)

Resource Chair: Nick Janiga ’00 (New Haven, CT)

Events Coordinators: Steven Albanese ’14 and Emily Isenstein ’16 (New York, NY)

There are also four at-large positions; if you are interested in committing to a two-year term (mostly meetings twice a year in Ithaca and some calls in between), please let me know in the next week or so and we can discuss.  These will be appointed by January and announced in the next Band Notes.  Special thanks to Rose Potocky ’06, our outgoing Vice Chair, who has served in many capacities over the last few years.

I can’t recap all of what was discussed in September in the little space I have, but you can get a taste of the annual meeting content by reviewing the slides. The Advisory Council will meet again in February, and if you have important issues you’d like us to address, please let me know.  Until then, let’s go red!, and I’ll see you at at a game soon!

Lowell Frank, ’99, MD ‘03

A Year for the History Books: Reflections of the Head Manager

Alumni Relations

Hey Band!bethany

Well, this semester has certainly had its share of high adventure for the Cornell University Big Red Marching Band! It’s been a truly unique experience to serve the Band alongside Serge this semester, and I’m grateful for the support of the Band and Bandstaph in our compressed schedule this fall. Industrial Labor Relations has built a foundation for my education, but experiences such as leading the Band have been essential to my growth as a person, a leader and a friend.

Our season started with a bang at Homecoming, where we were glad to see many of you back on the Hill. In addition to our usual festivities, we celebrated the life of Hannah Sollecito ’11, who passed away this last spring, with the planting of a red hydrangea outside the Fischell Band Center. This isn’t the only new addition to come to our facilities—this fall, we received design implementations from a Design and Environmental Analysis class at Cornell including a TV display for donors, a display for our parade mace, banners representing sections in the Band, and a chalk wall and cork board in the back of the room. We’re looking forward to more implementations later this year, so stay glued to your social media channels for some sneak peeks of all the new additions! Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and alumni, this year we have been able to provide new equipment for many sections including the Color guard, and we have plans to replace older field manager equipment and purchase OFFICIAL photography equipment for the Historians.

After Homecoming, we had a mere week off before charging into three consecutive trips: Harvard, Buffalo Bills, and Brown! After a Saturday home game against Sacred Heart, the Band rallied at 4am on Sunday to travel to New Era Stadium and perform for the Buffalo Bills at their pregame and halftime shows. We even made national TV! We ended our travels with our trip to Columbia, where we participated  in the Sy Katz ’31 Parade down 5th Avenue in New York City. This trip is a biennial treat for the Band, and we enjoyed seeing so many people turn out for the event.

Well, this year has certainly been one for the history books, both for the Band and for me personally. Although I’ll be stepping down and returning to the Trumpet section for my senior year, I plan on remaining an active member of the Band community well into the future. I can’t wait to see what next year will look like, and I’m fortunate to spend one more year in the only REAL Marching Band in the Ivy League.

Bethany Angeliu ‘18

Hi, Friends! It’s That Time, Huh? : 2016 Drum Major Sergio Preciado Says Thank You

Alumni Relations

serge Don’t worry, I’m still Sergio Manuel Preciado and I’m still the 2016 Drum Major of the Cornell University Big Red Marching Band! I’ve been pretty consistent with that. I’m a senior Biological Sciences major (concentrating in Molecular and Cell Biology) in the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Our first show this year was “The 80’s Show” (or as some of our members called it: “The Super Concentrated 80’s Show™”)! Pregame featured “99 Red Balloons” by Nena, as arranged by our wonderful Show Committee chairs Jeff Crosby ’18, Mary Amper ’18, and Susan Eichorn ’18. We started “99 Red Balloons” with 4 “Red Balloons” formed by 4 different ranks (the other 95 red balloons declined the invitation to perform). Halftime featured “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, with the band showing off their impressive moonwalking and leaning skills (to wonderful alumni applause), and Power, an official song of the 1984 Olympics by Bill Conti. Conducting Power with alumni on the field was an amazing and memorable experience! The 80’s Show was then performed at the away Hahvahd Harvard game, where we continued to show off how a real marching band performs.

Our second show was “The Shrek Show”, in celebration of the 2001 film’s fifteenth anniversary! Pregame was a medley of “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows. Halftime featured a beautiful rendition of the ballad “Hallelujah”, where the band was able to showcase their softer side with a wonderful BariTone soli. “Hallelujah” was followed with “I’m A Believer”, as arranged by one of our very own TromBone section leaders: Jordan Greissman ’18! We first performed The Shrek show at our home game versus Sacred Heart and followed up that performance with the show’s second performance at New Era Field for the Buffalo Bills versus San Fransisco 49ers NFL game! The band performed Hallelujah and I’m a Believer (of The Shrek show) for the game’s pre-game performance and all of The 80’s Show for halftime. Performing at New Era Field was an absolutely memorable experience. There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere at an NFL game, and the Buffalo Bills’ fans certainly bring a unique atmosphere at their games. The band had a short feature on national TV! Our literal fifteen seconds of fame happened riiiiight before the TV broadcast switched to commercial break. Hi, Mom!

This year’s third show was titled “A Semester in Spain,” which took the band abroad with music focused on the Iberian country. Pregame consisted of “España!”, as made famous by the Cornell University Big Red Pep Band, and featured the color guard with a rifle routine in the center of the field! Halftime only consisted of one song: “Malgueña.” “Malagueña” is a DCI classic that is originally based on the sixth movement of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Suite Andalucia,” focusing on the municipality of Màlaga along the southern coast of Spain. The band expanded on “Malagueña” by featuring the drum line in an extended drum break while the rest of the band formed pin-wheeling X’s. The song also featured a TromBone solo, as performed by Jordan Greissman ’18, and a trumpet trio, as performed by Kent Takada ’20, Christopher Sanchez ’19, and Henry “Pinto” Smith ’17. “A Semester in Spain” was a challenging show, and the band rose to the occasion.

Our final show of the year was “The Spotify Hipster Show,” featuring music from various indie and house artists. Halftime consisted of three songs: “Cecilia and the Satellite” by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, “Here it Goes Again” by OK Go, and “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go. “Cecilia and the Satellite” is a beautiful ballad that was arranged Frank Gonzalez ’13, a recent TromBone alumni, and featured Mary Amper ’18 with a trumpet solo to start the song. After performing at the away game versus Columbia, the band high-tailed it out of the stadium to set up for the 44th Annual Sy Katz ’31 Parade in New York City! The band impromptu paraded past Broadway, 7th, and 6th avenue before meeting up with the rest of the parade at Rockefeller Plaza. I’ll never forget seeing St. Patrick’s Cathedral as the band made the right turn onto 5th avenue, and I’ll never forget the sight of the city passing us by during the parade. As someone raised in South Texas, there’s really nothing quite like it back home. Our season ended with our home game versus Penn(SUKCS). “Wake Me Up” by Avicii (not by Wham! or Evanescence) was performed for pregame at our last home game versus Penn(SUCKS).

And with that, my year as Drum Major is coming to a close. Now more than ever, I remember why I stuck with the group of musically-inclined weirdos my freshman year. The band has given me a family and home when my actual family and home are 3 flights and one time-zone away. The band has given so much over the past 4 years, and I can’t thank the band enough. I’m very proud of this wonderful group of weirdos, and I hope the freshman (class of 2020 – crazy, isn’t it?) this year found the home that I found when I was a freshman.

Good job, everyone!

I’ll see y’all in the spring in my new position as an opinionated OLD person. I love you all, and thank you.

Sergio “Serge” Manuel Preciado ’17