Monthly archives "November 2015"

In Memoriam: Marice Stith

Alumni Relations

3345372_mWe are saddened to report the passing of Cornell Professor Emeritus Marice Stith. For a generation of Big Red Band alumni, Professor Stith will be forever linked with their time in the band. From 1966 through 1989, he was the music advisor to the band, leading music rehearsals, handling auditions, and making sure the band sounded in top shape (make sure those notes are short, crisp, and stacat).

Professor Stith was also the leader of the Cornell Wind Ensemble and, for his retirement, brought them, the Big Red Band, and hundreds of Band alumni to join him at Carnegie Hall on May 24, 1989. That became a special memory for many, as nearly 500 alumni played on stage, from “76 Trombones” to the Cornell medley (“no stingers!”)

Professor Stith is one of just three people to receive the BRBAA’s Lifetime Achievement, and his love for Cornell will also be remembered every time the Big Red Band plays the “New Cornell Fight Song” (NCFS), as he composed it.  He definitely made the band the best in the Ivy League.

Professor Stith is survived by his wife, Shirlee,  his four children, 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Welcome to BandNotes Fall 2015!

Alumni Relations

Thanks so much for your continuing support of the Big Red Bands. It’s been a pleasure being your Alumni Relation Chairs for 2015. We can’t believe it’s flown by so quickly. From Reunion to Homecoming, it was great to get a chance to meet you all. The best part for us is to see just what an impact band can have on so many Cornellians. Band is a very special place and we are glad to get the opportunity to share it with you. If you have any feedback on what you would like your Alumni Chairs to do next year or how we can improve the website, please let us know! We want to make this the best experience for you.

We hope to see you again next year at Reunion (June 9-12, 2016), Homecoming (September 23-24),  and More!

Enjoy this edition of BandNotes!

-Angie Estevez Prada’17 & Jeff Crosby’18

Have some snippets of Homecoming and Reunion Below and remember to follow the BRMB & Pep Band Historian on Facebook for more!


Notes from the Alumni Association Chair

Alumni Relations

By Lowell Frank ’99, M.D. ‘03

Greetings, alumni and friends!  As I type this, the football team has one more game remaining in its… some-sort-of-adjective season.  It’s moments like this that I’m thankful for Columbia, whom we beat by a not-a-baseball-game score of 3-0.  Of course, the Band always wins.

The Advisory Council had its Fall meeting on Friday, September 18th, followed by the annual Big Red Bands Alumni Association meeting, and I’d like to thank all of those who attended.  Rarely in the history of our alumni association has the annual meeting been a destination - it’s usually something to do before you head to the band’s rehearsal, or if you aren’t out wine touring, or if you’ve just gotten in and haven’t checked in to your hotel yet.  I understand all the demands on everyone’s personal and travel schedules, but if you have any suggestions as to how to make this worth your while, please let me know.  Off campus location?  Make it later?  Serve dinner?  I’m open minded.  The best way to disseminate information is still in person.  With that in mind, the next meeting of the 2016 Big Red Bands Alumni Association will be (around) 4 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2016.   Make plans now!  I would love to have a great turnout.

This past meeting, we reviewed a number of important landmarks for the BRBAA and the Bands.  On the strength of the first Giving Day, the Bands had a record year for income of $165,344, including $100,466 in gifts towards operations.  Thank you!  Of course, FY15 was also a record year for expenses at about $130K.  The expenses are driven by a number of things beyond control, notably recent drastic increases in travel costs and partial Fischell Band Center operations costs.  However, the goal of fundraising for the group is not merely to keep up with rising costs, but also to do more to enhance the student experience.  To that end, there have been some equipment purchases, including approximately half a set of new raincoats (which apparently are thin, warm, waterproof, make you play and march better, and oh yeah, let you fly).  The Bandstaph also went to a leadership retreat at Greek Peak (and no, they didn’t get in trouble first).

We ended the year with the sum total of the multiple long-term investment pool (LTIP) accounts at their post-recession high of around $904K.  More importantly, total shares in the endowment are also at their second highest level ever (16,151) despite the loss of some non-Second Century Fund shares the previous year.  We believe that there will be another Giving Day in the spring, and if we can replicate the enthusiasm on social media that we had in 2015, we can approach the level of gifts we received.  Importantly, a significant number of Giving Day gifts were from non-alumni!  This is the best way to follow up the alumni phonathon, of course – by engaging new friends of the groups.   We also expect the LTIP payout to remain where it is or increase, and that should allow us to meet our budget for 2016 of approximately $146K in income over $124K in expenses.  We hope that the recent overages compensate for many years of extremely high pep band playoff expenses that had the budget in the red (see my last article elsewhere on the site for details).

Probably the most exciting news shared is a Human Ecology design class will be collaborating with the Bands to enhance the interior design of the Fischell Band Center.  Many of the remaining “punch list” items are those that will allow the space to better reflect the sense of history and tradition that we all have felt.  The class will be studying what the band does, how the space is used, and come up with upgrades that reflect this.  Importantly, two large photomurals that were given as named gifts will be designed in the course of this project.  This is exciting for everyone on the Advisory Council, and is expected to occur mainly in the spring semester.

Lastly, I have two requests.  If you are interested in learning more about the Alumni Association and how we work with both Cornell and the Bands, please reach out to me.  There is never a shortage of work to be done.  Additionally, if you are a veteran of BRBAA boards past – especially prior to the aughts – please let me know.  I’m trying to compile a roster of all our previous officers.  We have scant official records, and we’re trying to change that.  Importantly, we’re trying to proactively reach out to those how have contributed (as well as those who want to contribute) to the organization.

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 Penn, reunion or next fall!


Drum Majoring Away the Year: Olson Says Goodbye

Alumni Relations

12087125_878341745595017_2666193038923953909_oHey, all! In case you still haven’t heard enough of me, it’s Michaela, your 2014 and 2015 drum major! This season has been equally as exciting as the last (if not more so!) and the band has really accomplished an incredible amount. As a reminder of my background, I am a senior studying materials science engineering. I am formerly of the trumpet section, and still spend a lot of time there for pep band. In addition, this past summer, I marched trumpet for 7th Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, touring and performing all over the country (but that’s a story for another time).

Our first show this year was The Who show, in honor of their 50th anniversary. Pregame featured a medley of Who Are You and Won’t Get Fooled Again, where the band struck many dynamic poses on the field (to the immense approval of our alumni audience at homecoming!). Halftime shifted moods with I Can See For Miles and, of course, closed with Pinball Wizard, with the band crowding the podium for the final chords of the piece. Conducting Pinball Wizard at homecoming with the alumni band was an experience like no other. The absolute wall of sound as hundreds of instruments crowded the podium almost blew me right off! The show was then taken on the road to Yale where it continued to impress!

The second show was the ever-clever (K)Night show. Pregame was Knights of Cydonia, and the song featured a new drum break where the band marched some impressive pass-throughs. This show was also unique in that it was played at our home game against Colgate, which was Cornell football’s first Friday night game in its entire history! The band certainly held its own under the Friday night lights, continuing with a halftime of Some Nights and Nights in White Satin (featuring a thoroughly gorgeous trumpet duet). The show was performed again at the home game against Harvard, where, from the podium, I was able to hear the Harvard band cheer as the band knelt midway through the song. Clearly, they were quite impressed, as was I! In addition to the regular season Cornell football games, the band made appearances at not one, but two, pro football games! Okay, one of them was a Canadian football game, but still exciting. The band adapted well to the 55-yard line as we brought parts of both The Who and the (K)Night show to Montreal. Then, the following week, we made our appearance at Ralph-Wilson Stadium to perform at the halftime show for the Buffalo Bills! Getting the chance to perform at an NFL game was both terrifying and exciting, but overall, certainly unforgettable.

Also Check out our Preformance at the Bills Stadium on Facebook. Read More →

Inaugurations, Alouettes, Bills, Oh My! – Head Manager Update

Alumni Relations

EmilyIf I were to choose two words to sum up the past year, it would be these: pleasantly exhausting. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and my love for the only REAL marching band in the Ivy League and each of its members has only grown stronger with every game. Working with Michaela has been an absolute delight, and I could not have imagined running this Band with anyone else by my side. Being Head Manager has not only been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but it has also been one of the most thrilling and educational adventures I could ever imagine. As a Human Development major I study human behavior and individuality, but my studies pale in comparison to what this job has taught me about the human experience as both a leader and a friend.

After finishing up the Sesquicentennial celebrations in the spring, we once again played a part in making history at Cornell as we performed for the inauguration of Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell’s first female president. We were all thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to such a significant moment in the story of Cornell, and after having the new president speak at First Night a few weeks earlier, the entire event was even more meaningful to us.The very next day we had a successful Homecoming, then hit the ground running and took on a whopping five trips during this fall season! Three of these were our typical football trips to Yale, Princeton, and Penn; during which the Band put on phenomenal performances that put the other bands to shame.

Outside of our typical season, we also had the incredible opportunity to travel Montreal to perform for the Alouettes, and the entire Band had an amazing time performing in front of such a large crowd (even with my constant reminders about passports). But the fun didn’t stop there! After a surprise call at the end of August, I was able to book the Big Red Marching Band as the halftime entertainment at a Buffalo Bills game! The 4:00 am report time before the game was a bit daunting, but everyone made due and a group of freshmen had the adorable idea to sleep over in the band room—chaperoned by me and Michaela of course—to avoid an early hike from North Campus. A few hours later and after nearly a decade without an NFL performance, the Band had the chance to perform in front of over  70,000 fans in one of the most energetic stadiums in the country. While putting two pro- game trips together was no easy task, the looks of awe on everyone’s faces and Michaela’s borderline manic grin as the crowd cheered them on made the constant emails and stresses of working with professional football teams incredibly worthwhile.



This year I put a strong focus on giving more responsibility to the Bandstaph by holding a retreat that focused on leadership skills as well as trust and courage (as demonstrated on a high ropes course). We also met to review the Band’s Constitution to ensure that it remains current and pertinent to the organization. I also achieved a personal victory when I put into a place a plan that will replace our 26-year-old raincoats and provide the Band with an entirely new set within the next two years.

While my time as Head Manager of this amazing organization draws to a close, I have been thinking back on what drew me to this Band in the first place; the sense of family and community that (in my own opinion) is unmatched. Because of this, I know that stepping down and returning to the flute will only strengthen my love for this group, and that the piece of my heart that this group has claimed will never fade.

-Emily Isenstein ’16

Peppier Than Ever – Managing it All

Alumni Relations

11225101_925444370860988_2523051827537918183_oWhile the Marching Band season winds down, the Pep Band Season is surging into full swing as the Men’s and Women’s Hockey clubs began ECAC play just last weekend. Even though hockey is just starting up, the Pep Band has been very active already this fall. On top of Field Hockey, Volleyball and Sprint Football, the Pep Band has played at a wedding ceremony, the Big Red Blowout during orientation, as well as for notable Cornell Alum and decorated veteran, Frederick Crow ’51. We welcome new membership this semester and they are already gung ho about joining the Lynah Faithful.

The conductors for the spring are Emily Miller ’16 and Vincent Sheppard ’17. They are two of the most enthusiastic pep band members I’ve ever met. They rejuvenated the band this semester with all sorts of ideas like a day for Student Arrangements and some great new rehearsal ideas. Conveniently, having two conductors in two years means that each can conduct their own band at Red/White hockey. This year was a hard fought battle between the bands. There was playful animosity from both sides and creativity in rewriting Taylor Swift lyrics to insult the other group. Ultimately I’m pretty sure the Red Band won, as all juniors and sophomores know, though you may hear another story from elsewhere.

The rest of this semester holds even more excitement! There are three more hockey weekends in our future, with Colgate bringing a band to Lynah, Clarkson coming in during the last weekend of the semester, but most of all, Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden is coming up! The Big Red takes on Boston University on the biggest stage of the year (besides the NCAA championship, of course). The Pep Band will be out in full force to support our team during the game, so come stop by and say hi!

Keep an eye on the Pep Band next semester as we travel on three away trips, to North Country (1/29, 1/30), Quinnipiac and Princeton (2/05, 2/06), and of course, Harvard and Dartmouth (2/19. 2/20). Otherwise how will Cambridge know who loses and who dies?

This is the last Band Notes I will write as the Pep Band Manager, so I just wanted to thank everyone who made this year so spectacular. I’ll never forget the innumerable lessons that bossing around a couple hundred people taught me. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester plays out and I can’t wait to see all of you at our various events. Let’s Go Red!

-Henry “Pinto” Smith
2015 Pep Band Head Manager

Conducting the Night Away: Fall 2015 Conductors Share

Alumni Relations

Hey guys! 12118779_927608400644585_6470805701779054176_nI’m Vincent, one of the pep band conductors this fall. This semester’s been pretty fantastic in terms of events. We were asked to play a wedding, with the ever romantic set of “Buddy Holly,” “The Muppets,” and “I Want You Back.” We also got to play Davy in 3 at sprint football, in an exciting blowout against Princeton.

The highlight of this semester for me personally was Student Arrangers’ Day. We wanted to show off the talent of the members of the pep band, while giving said members a chance to hear their arrangements played in real life. We played twelve submissions, and so far have added two to the folder and are about to add a third. This will serve to keep the folder fresh and varied. The Day was a resounding success, and in a post event survey we sent out, every single person who responded said they would do it again in the future. That result is probably what I am most proud of from that day. We were able to learn a lot from running the event, and I’m certain thatif it’s done again in the future, it will be even better and more productive.

We will once again be travelling to Madison Square Garden over Thanksgiving break to play for Red Hot Hockey. The last time we faced BU there it was a very close and incredibly tense game until the last seconds. Additionally, the Lynah Faithful are even more intense when they’re filling the Garden. This event is sure to be a memorable one for the band, and I cannot wait to lead them through it.

I’m really pleased with how this semester has turned out for the band. My co-conductor Emily and I have rather complimentary tastes, so rehearsals have been inherently varied from the beginning. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I look forward to seeing what the band can still do before the end of the semester.

-Vincent Sheppard ’17


Hi Alumni!12105972_927623073976451_7281211925295170536_n

I am Emily, one of the Fall 2015 pep band conductors! You may recognize me from Band Notes last year because I was the one sending emails as Alumni Relations Chair. This year, I am actually writing an article that is more than just an introduction.

The fall has been going great so far! We have had a wide variety of sports and other events. Over the summer we were able to help out a local charity, Franziska Racker Center, by playing at an exhibition game with Cornell celebrities like Ben Scrivens ’10 and Joe Nieuwendyk ’88. We had a midnight debut at Big Red Blowout, played at two weddings, and most recently were played for a distinguished alum veteran Frederick Crow for Veteran’s Day.

Red/White this year did not fall on Homecoming, so we missed some of you, but the night was still a blast. When the marching band traveled to Princeton, we had a skeleton band, in multiple senses of the word (instrumentation and Halloween Hockey) and provided lots of spooky cheer and energy for Lynah.

The men’s team is looking pretty good this year. The band has played for shutouts (4-0 against Niagara), blowouts (5-1 against Colgate), and third period thrillers (4-3 against Princeton). We hope to see you there as Cornell takes on a classic rival, BU, at MSG. We should be in for an exciting game as well as an exciting spring!

As Vincent mentioned, we attempted the first ever Student Arrangers’ Day. In addition to this being a very fun, intense two hours of sight reading and conducting, we have play new arrangements and have some in the works that bring the BRPB into the 21st century while keeping some of our more quirky roots.

We have a ton of new members this semester, both from the marching band as well as pep band only. One fun thing we did was having a duct tape folder making party and ice cream social. In addition to being delicious and a good way to meet each other, most members now have duct tape folder that will survive the Ithaca winter, as well as the Ithaca spring, fall and summer.

Conducting the pep band this semester has been a wonderful, at times challenging, experience and a great way to give back to the band my senior fall! I look forward to finishing the semester strong with Vincent, and having a spectacular spring.

Emily Miller ‘16


Conductors Past and Present!


Section Shenanigans

Alumni Relations

Oh, we are the Trumpets; we’ve had a great year/Trumpets Homecoming 2015 We played Spanish Flea and our other cool cheers/ But only so much can be fit in this song And what we have to say will be a bit long…er: The loudest and proudest section in the BRMB has added a number of talented new members to its ranks! This year’s field shows included solos performed by Tim “Big Time” Coda ’16, Luigi Widom ’16, Pinto Smith ’17, and Chris Sanchez ’19. Under the leadership of Drum Major Michaela Olson ’16 and Pep Band Manager Pinto Smith ’17 (both members of the Big Red Trumpet Section), the Big Red Bands have experienced an exciting 2015 season. We’re looking forward to continuing our tradition of pride and excellence in 2016!


  12186590_891430650952793_6344380049654656248_o The Big Red Horns saw an explosion of new members with 6 freshmen and 1 sophomore joining our rank(s). Our numbers went up 16, warranting the creation of Rank * (star)!! As section leaders this was extremely exciting! We also ran into the issue of not having enough instruments for the first few weeks, but a big Thank You to one of our lovely alums Sam Dean for loaning us her personal horn! Thank you to our Alumni for their continued support and (baked goods)! And Thank you to all of horn section for their continued dedication to the BRMB” Flutes

    The Big Red Flutes had a great season! We had a great group of active new members this season, and can’t wait to continue having them around. We continued the tradition of Fall Fancy Flute during rehearsal towards the beginning of the season, and we all looked fabulous. With parading, we have officially continued with the addition of the ripple at the end of the cadence. Overall, it was another great season filled with flove (flute-love) and fun!



The Big Red Tubae have had a great 2015 season! We gained three freshman, a junior transfer, and a sophomore, filling ranks Hammer and Sickle. This year the power bottoms not only sounded great, but pinwheeled and gate turned too! Many thanks to the seniors, Josh Reichler, Jordan Silver, Graham Bastian, Marek Kwaśnica, and T$. And now announcing your 2016 Fearless Leader, Lewis Haber!

The guard has had an amazing Fall marching season! This year we welcomed 4 freshmen students as well as one sophomore transfer. This has been a season of growth and hard work for the colorguard. We worked with Showcomm to put more drill in our shows, and had a lot of fun marching through the band during Star Wars! During the four shows of this season we have also incorporated a swing flag solo by Rachel Langley, ’16, a swing flag duet by Amanda Morrison ’17 and Toni Sassano, ’19, a short dance routine, and two rifle routines. Our dedicated members have had fantastic attendance at morning rehearsal and music rehearsals. We also have brand new show silks to show off! But on top of our hard work inside and outside of band, we still know how to have a lot of fun! IMG_20150919_174322 

Da Bones are having a great year! We welcomed 12 new members to the section. In fact, there were so many new tones that we got two new instruments this year – Purity and Chaos. As part of the sci-fi show, we marched Back to the Future arranged by bone alum, Beaker (’94). Keeping the arranger tradition alive, a current underbone worked on a new cheersheet, which debuted at Red/White Hockey and has become a favorite for starting goalie Mitch Gillam. Outside rehearsal and games, we’re enjoying the new house on University Ave, with its porches and awesome attic. Despite the new location, we continue to recognize time honored traditions like Hawaii 5-0, Guy Fawkes Day, Night of the Unknown Bone, and bone piling. As the season ends, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of this year’s bone apparel, Bone mittens, and looking forward to Grand Bonecoming next year. saxpyr2015

The Saxes have had the best season. We had an amazing, dedicated crop of freshmen, including enough tenors to fill up rank & and beyond! In addition, our Bari corps grew, and we have finally acquired a new Pickles (Cucumber? We’re working on it.). We also took ARCH 1102: Advanced Sax Pyramiding to finally pull off the sax coliseum, and then took to Montreal and Buffalo in some exciting games before thousands of people! Through games, events, and looong bus rides, the sax section has spawned what are unequivocally the dankest of memes (and memers) in the band. Finally, we are proud to have our co-section leader, Sergio Preciado ’17, as the new drum major for 2016!


12022498_1060048980671864_5714167681649612431_oThe Clarinets had a fantastic season! We welcomed an impressive class of 11 freshman plus one sophomore transfer who augmented the spamming of dank memes in the GroupMe. We started out the season strong by winning the Scavenger Hunt, although we didn’t catch a live squirrel (goal for next year?). We also added a few new events to our calendar like pumpkin carving and laser tag as well as introduce the new “Move JB” during parading. Overall, we had an amazing year filled with two-hour lunches, toot tickling, and lots and lots of fun!! The end of the season also ends our two year reign as section leaders and we just wanted to thank the current and past section members for their phenomenal support. It’s been our absolute honor and privilege to lead the section for the past two years.

  The Drumline abstains from BandNotes. But will still managed to get a picture of them. 12194807_891429920952866_9010340934925627944_o

Senior Perspectives: Thank You Band

Alumni Relations

12080319_883881781707680_8760907732699337326_oWhen I came into band as a transfer student, I could not imagine what I would gain over these past 3 years. Not only have I improved as a musician but I have also gained perspective of who I am. Band has become a therapeutic thing for me, where I can escape the stresses of the intensiveness of Cornell. I can just be myself in the company of the best friends a person could need. Leaving this organization is the hardest part about graduating. I will miss the raw school spirit, the silly traditions, and Pudgies pizza. However, I will always have the friendships I have built. Thank you Big Red Marching Band members and alumni, keep being you.

-Katie Shaw ’16


As a band senior, it’s funny to look back to the beginning of freshman year and think that I almost didn’t join band. After coming from a competitive high school marching band and winter guard, I was ready to look into new activities in college and leave my marching days behind. Fortunately, I ran into someone who was going to auditions and ended up going with him, and I’m so glad I did! Marching band has been the definitive part of my college experience (what’s a studying?) and I can’t imagine what my life at Cornell would have been like without it.

What stands out to me about band the most looking back is how welcoming band is to all different kinds of people. I have never seen a group that is as accommodating and friendly to everyone who seeks to join, and I don’t know that I will ever come across one again.

Some of the highlights from my four years have been parading through New York City, the football team’s miraculous victory at Penn two years ago, performing at the sesquicentennial Big Red Birthday Bash, and going to perform at the Buffalo Bills and Alouettes games. I’ve also had a lot of fun this year writing flag and rifle routines as colorguard captain.

In the coming spring, I am currently considering joining indoor percussion so I can spend my final semester dancing, spinning, and spending more time with lovely band people!

-Sarah Acre ’16



Seniors at Red/White Hockey

Freshmen Perspectives: Band New and Shiny!

Alumni Relations

Jessi Hersh’19 and Tone Fam

I recently told my old band teachers from high school, “Plot twist! I’m doing band in college.” My old high school didn’t have a marching band. They made the concert band pretend to be a pep band, and we begrudgingly played at games the football team didn’t want us at. When I graduated, I had decided that was all, band is over. So when one of my friends told me that he had gone to the first day of auditions and that I totally should too, my response was a firm heck no. But the promise of two hundred free friends ended up being too enticing for a freshman, and I found myself following chalkings to the band room. There I played bananagrams with a bunch of strangers, and got my first taste of what the BRMB was like: fun times, cool people, and lots of inside jokes. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go to First Night or not, but my roommate convinced me that I might as well try it out. I’d only been playing the tone for a year and a half, and I had trouble with most of the songs we played.
Between me asking “wait what did she say?” five times between every set, and me screwing up anything other than a whole note, I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for marching band. But after singing songs at the Nines and seeing everyone come together for the Alma Mater (I still don’t know any of the words), my opinion began to change. And after going to Bone House to hear stories from all the upperclassmen and meet the people in my section, I had decided that band was one of the best decisions I could have made. Sure, I struggled to learn to march, and then to march while playing. But now I don’t even think twice about dropping the word “bone” in front of phrases, and I can at least play all of the quarter notes in songs. I get to trick people into thinking that I’m an avid sports fan because I talk about the football games and the hockey games. I get to tell stories about the unique things I’ve done, like marching at an NFL game or meeting alumni at bonecoming (and then explaining what bonecoming is). But mostly, I get to brag about all my friends from band and how they’re some of the nicest and most interesting people on campus. – Jessi Hersh ’19



Pay no attention to the man in the Yale Sweatshirt.

I never did band in high school – I had a short stint of playing the oboe back in seventh and eighth grade, but really, I let the super good guy next to me carry the both of us. I wouldn’t even describe myself as musical. I surprised myself when I joined the Big Red Marching Band, convinced by my sophomore pre-orientation guide, and I doubted that I’d stay past First Night. But a senior sax told me, “Just try it for the first month or two. It’ll be great!,”and I thought “Why not? I have nothing to lose.”
Little did I know back then, that a “month or two” was the entire marching band season. I can’t imagine my life here at Cornell without band anymore. My love wavers ever so slightly during cold rehearsals/Saturdays, but sax tag is quick to warm me up. Band is a family.  I’ve never met a person in band that isn’t super friendly and into having a good time. It’s awesome going to rehearsals after a long day, to blow off steam, marching, and run around with a hundred awesome people.

I will eternally be grateful for the kind of organization that the Big Red Marching Band is, one that doesn’t take itself seriously, and has extra instruments and people that will make extra time you teach it to you. The kind that stuffs you with baked goods and takes care of you. The kind that does awesome shows in places I couldn’t have imagined going. Band established their presence from day one of O-Week, but I don’t think enough people here at Cornell know just how serious we are when we say that we’ll take anyone into our family. I was just one of the lucky ones that got to find out.

-Yeolim Jo ’19


How many chalk drawings are there!? Plastered throughout North and Central campus, urging passerby to be ‘boned and get saxy, the hundreds of messages had one message: JOIN BAND! After finally talking to some bandies holding instruments and signs, I finally realized this was too much fun to pass up. I still tell people today, if you need friends, just join band for a month, no music experience necessary. Yet, when I think about to how wild my first weeks were at band, sometimes I’m surprised I stuck with the band. I had never marched before, drill sheets looked like a foreign language, I could barely play any of the music that the whole section could belt out perfectly. But none of that mattered. Band is more than just gym credit and playing Davy a few thousand times: it truly is a home, a home for me. I mean that emphatically; seeing the seniors crying during the Senior Concert was emotional for the whole band. I already feel so close with the Bones after a few months, what about after a few years under the same roof?

And what an enthralling few months so far with the Big Red Marching Band. First Night brought the silly nonsense known as aardvarking, whirlwind horn moves for Pinball Wizard, and pizza delivered via dumbwaiter. Shows were new and exciting, and even though I continually forgot which way is right and left, circling Luigi for his epic Lord of the Rings trumpet solo is one of coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. Going on the road from Montreal to Buffalo Bills Stadium is probably what made me fall the hardest for the band: playing the grossest, funniest Mad Lib games possible, stuffing as many people as possible into one poor coach bus bathroom, and discovering how much I take Pudgie’s pizza for granted (seriously, Canada, it’s just bread,sauce, and cheese how could it go so wrong?). Tuba Halloween made charity fun and possibly painful for the poor tuba players who serenaded us with some Meghan Trainor while being pelted with change.

Yet, perhaps the finest moment I’ve had in band was just yesterday, at the last home game of the year in the Empire Bowl. For bones, that only means one thing: Hawaii Five-O day. Tropical bathing suit and Hawaiian shirt under my uniform, I was ready to sprint in 40 degree overcast weather. I just didn’t know we would do so barefoot, and it’s probably a good thing I couldn’t feel my feet after a half-minute. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly that this was the game I invited my parents to. I just remember as we all took off around the track, thinking how absolutely insane and crazy and perfect this was. And I feel that every time I turn on my band playlist and throw on some Everybody’s Everything or JCS: my pride to be part of something as unique and zany and downright fun as the Big Red Marching Band. My freshman college experience has been overwhelmingly positive because of Band. I know in the ensuing years, I will continue to make countless memories with my section and the band as a whole. Maybe I’lleven finally learn the words to Davy other than the BALLS BALLS BALLS BALLS part.

- Matt Barker ’19