Monthly archives "November 2016"

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


On the Road Again: Fall 2016 in the Pep Band

Alumni Relations

Hi Alumni!liz

The Fall semester began quite slowly for the Pep Band, as it usually does, with occasional FieldHockey and Volleyball games. The games went well and the band sounded great, as always. Thankfully, the Field Hockey team ended its streak of losing games that we attended. It had been getting a little sad that they would never win when we came. At one game, the volleyball coach brought pizza for the fans – although, it really must have been for the band as there were only about 15 other students in attendance. This semester’s conductors, Brendan Duffy ’17 and Jeff Crosby ’18, have had a good time getting comfortable in front of the band and learning to deal with all of the weird events that get thrown our way. Outside of athletic events, members of the band have had several opportunities to get to know people across the sections through weekly dinners at Ivy Room, lunch gatherings at Trillium and our second “Duct Tape and Ice Cream” social where people can artfully design and decorate their construction paper folders to protect against Ithaca’s weather. Over Fall Break we recorded a CD similar to the one produced in 2012. Stay tuned for more information about the CD and possible purchasing options.

In recent weeks, just as the Marching Band season is coming to a close, the Pep Band’s has begun to ramp up. The winter sports are now in full swing and we are starting to have home games in both Basketball and Hockey. The Men’s Hockey home season opens on November 18th with what is sure to be an exciting game against Quinnipiac.  This game will mark our first home hockey game three weeks. Fortunately we have not been completely deprived of Cornell’s favorite sport for almost a month. We have had the opportunity to travel to Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown. While we have been on the road, we have been the only band at every single game proving once and for all that we are the best and only real Pep Band in the Ivy League. We travelled to Madison Square Garden to cheer for the Big Red at Colgate on November 29th and in the biennial Frozen Apple game on November 26th. This year Cornell will take on the University of New Hampshire.

The Women’s Basketball team has had a strong start to the season and we are excited to go to our first game on November 22nd. The Men’s Basketball team is still finding its feet, but we are looking forward to seeing more of their games and to cheer them onto victory. When we return for the spring semester we are hoping to attend more of their games as well as some wrestling matches and other spring sports. We attended baseball and softball games last semester and the teams were excited to see us and were very accommodating. Hopefully, we will be able to get to some more of their games. Next semester, we will have at least two more trips with the Men’s Hockey team visiting the Albany region at the beginning of February to face Union (2/3) and RPI (2/4) before heading to North Country two weeks later to play St. Lawrence (2/17) and Clarkson (2/18).

As my term as Pep Band Manager comes to a close, I hope to see some of you at our upcoming games.

–Elizabeth Martinson ‘17


From Recruitment to Recording: a Fantastic Fall in the Pep Band!

Alumni Relations

Hello Alumni!

jeff-crosby-editedMy name is Jeff Crosby, and I am one of your Fall 2016 Pep Band Conductors! I am a junior Psychology major preparing to attend law school after graduation. Some of you may remember me from my position as one of the Alumni Relations Chairs last year. I have had an amazing experience conducting the Pep Band so far, and I’m so excited for upcoming events in the near future!

This season, Elizabeth, Brendan and I were challenged with an extra push to find new members because we had lost a large senior class to graduation last spring. The Pep Band held recruitment events with performances and quarter carding at Move-In Day, Club Fest, and the newly established North Campus Safety Fair. The Band’s efforts proved successful as we now have a wonderful group of new members from all classes including many transfer students and freshmen that are exclusively members of Pep Band!

With the sudden higher amount of new members that had never played with us before this season, preparing for a CD Recording Session proved to be a challenge, but it was a challenge we were willing to take on! After jam-packed, fast-paced rehearsals and a long recording session rehearsal, we recorded our 2016 Pep Band CD over Fall Break! I’m so excited to share the result with you soon!

Preparing and recording a CD for the band was probably one of the biggest challenges I had to endure as a Conductor because we only had four weeks to prepare. Although it was stressful and we didn’t have the opportunity to ease new members into the music as we had previous years, our efforts proved to be worth it. Elizabeth, Brendan, and I are very excited to share it all with you in the coming weeks, so look out for an order form!

In addition to recording a CD, we had a filled schedule this fall! We have performed at Weddings, Alumni gatherings, Rallies, CU Downtown, Field Hockey, Sprint Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Women’s Hockey, and Men’s Hockey. We already had the chance to perform Hawaii 5-0 at Men’s Hockey and Davy in 3 at Women’s Hockey this season! We recently appeared at Madison Square Garden where Men’s Hockey took on the University of New Hampshire. Leading the Pep Band has certainly been an amazing adventure during this busy fall season!

Jeff Crosby ‘18



brendan-duffy-editedHey Alumni!

My name is Brendan Duffy and I’ve had an amazing time conducting the Pep Band this fall! It was so great to see so many of you at Lynah East for the Harvard hockey game – and the band sounded amazing! The onset of hockey season is distracting me from finishing up my senior year in mechanical engineering… but I’m loving it! It truly is an honor to stand in front of the band.

The pep band put in a lot of hard work this semester to prepare for and record a new CD. This was definitely one of the biggest challenges Jeff and I faced. But everyone brought their excitement and energy to rehearsals and we had a lot of fun. Preparing over 30 tracks with the band really paid off and the CD sounds incredible!

Red/White hockey was as loud and fun as ever. The amount of energy the band can bring into Lynah Rink is truly incredible.

Although I have missed getting to play trombone at every event, I am so glad that I was able to be a conductor. I am incredibly excited for where this band will go in the coming semesters! Our recruitment efforts have resulted in a sizeable group of dedicated newcomers. I can’t wait to see where the band takes them… and where they will take the band!

- Brendan Duffy ‘17


Section Shenanigans

Alumni Relations

trumpetsThe Trumpets welcomed an astounding number of new members to replenish our ranks, which severely dwindled after the class of ’16 said their goodbyes. We have sounded fantastic in each and every one of our shows, blasting out Malagueña, España, and Power (Oh!). We got to play on the field of the Buffalo Bills where the wind stole hats and music, but not our spirit! Special thanks to the alumni for all they do for the trumpet section on away trips! We had the joy of watching our fellow trumpet compatriots Bethany Angeliu and Jeff Van lookin’ snazzy by the ladder as Head Manager and Field Manager respectively. Great job guys! But we need your horns back on the field! Special thanks to Mary Amper and the rest of Showcomm for all their hard work with the shows this year! Off the field, we had a great time making our own, puffy, giant, slightly undercooked, but delicious pizzas, watching some great movies and playing lots of games, both video, and board! Can’t wait to be back next season for more! Stay hairy my friends.


clarinetsThe Clarinets have been having a fantastic and very busy fall semester! At the end of the summer we welcomed nine outstanding new freshmen who fit with our unique brand of craziness. This semester, in addition to the usual trips, we traveled to Buffalo to perform at a Bills game which was an incredible experience. We started the season strong by continuing our scavenger hunt winning streak. We added a new dance move in Everybody’s Everything and continue to rock the old ones. We’re enjoying the frequency with which our alumni come back to visit as well as continuing to see alumni still in town for grad school. It’s been an amazing year – thanks to all past and present section members for making it so incredible!



hornsThe Big Red Horns are still going strong as the smallest but mightiest section in the BRMB! Between performing for the Buffalo Bills game and marching at the Sy Katz parade in New York City, we’ve had a fun and eventful marching season. We’ve also had the pleasure of welcoming three of our section members’ pets into the horn family as unofficial mascots: Shark the bunny, and guinea pigs Davy and Schaefer! As the season draws to a close, we’re excited to see what the new year will hold for the only real 8-mile-wide section in the Ivy League.


tubaThe Tubae have had fantastic semester! First off, we came, we saw and we collected some paper! 7000 sheets! After a tense season, Rank Hammer snatched the inaugural ultimate frisbee title from Rank Sickle! We’re also very happy to welcome our new freshman, Zach Brothers, to the only ugliest section in the Ivy League!


flutes-editedThe Big Red Flutes have a lot going on this semester! We welcomed 18 new members to marching band and pep band this fall. We continued our traditions of flute-ups, flute naps, and chopsticks, and even created some new traditions (ask us about taco-ing). We’ve had a semester full of rain and shenanigans, but the flutes haven’t let that keep us down! We’ve managed to put four difficult shows together on the field, and we’ve never sounded better (seriously, you can hear us now). The season finished strong and we eagerly look forward to gearing up for next season! Congratulations to our seniors for completing their last marching season, and good luck on figuring out the real world!


bones-editedDa Bones have had an action-packed semester! We picked up seven new freshmen and one transfer sophomore! Grand Bonecoming went really well and we enjoyed seeing many of our alums back on the slope. This semester included some classic traditions like Night of the Unknown Bone and Hawaii Five-O, and we added to our bone restaurant repertoire by trying Pizza and Bones in Dryden. We’re currently working on adding new songs to the bone cheers folder and we can’t wait for Bone Caroling!


saxesThe Saxes are on a bit a killing spree right now (we’re playing Sax Assassins.) This year the game involves temporary partners, prisoners’ dilemmas, and lots of hidden secrets! (If any saxes see this, tell Brian “it’s not all black and white.”) Aside from that, the Big Red Saxes having been arranging and trying out new sax cheers. We’re also arranging ourselves into some new shapes: namely, sax colosseums!


guardThe Guard has had a fantastic season this fall. We welcomed three freshman guard babies and adopted two IC seniors into our ranks. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we’ve never looked better as we show off our new show silks and our brand-spanking-new rifles! This year, we moonwalked our way into the hearts of every bandie during the 80s show, than accidentally fell in love with Becca Rodell ’19′s solo in the Shrek show. Though we couldn’t spend the semester in Spain, the rifle line led by Suzannah Bretz ’16 in our third show brought us pretty close. Our Hipster show featured several new guard moves (cough drop… you’ve probably never heard of it) and was a great way to end the season. Shout outs to our graduating seniors: Odile Maurelli ’17, Suzannah Bretz ’17, Amanda Morrison ’17, Laura Young IC ’17, and Ellie Holleran IC ’17!


As usual, the drumline is too cool to be in BandNotes!



Freshman and Senior Perspectives

Alumni Relations

Freshman Perspective

'20 Freshman Clarinets

’20 Freshman Clarinets

When I packed for Cornell I brought my instrument with me but I only had intentions of joining a low-commitment music group where I could still be active with clarinet. I didn’t want to take too much time of my time up with activities. I didn’t participate in a big marching band in high school, and could’t really see myself doing it in college either. I never dreamed I would join the Big Red Marching Band, or more importantly, would join the group of people that have made me the most happy since I arrived on campus.

On move-in day, I decided to show up for marching band “auditions” and it was probably the best decision I have made since choosing to attend Cornell. I was greeted with a huge “Join Band Natalie Parker” poster. I didn’t know any of the people but they all knew who I was and were super excited to see me there! Their happiness was contagious and I had a great day meeting all of the band upperclassmen who I soon realized I would be spending 3 nights a week and my weekends with.

My band experience only went uphill from there. I had an amazing First Night and met so many new people as we stayed up late making jokes and sitting around playing card games. Once practices started, I made a ton of friends. I was so happy to be meeting people so early in the year; it was amazing find such a great group right at the start. Now I always look forward to practices where I can see everyone together.

A huge part of the reason I love Cornell so much is because of the amazing band and the positive people in it. I feel like I have a band family. Everyone is so welcoming. I have made so many great friendships through band and have met people who I know I will stay close to for the rest of my time at Cornell.  I love my fellow bandies and could not have asked for a better group of people to spend my time here with. I look forward to many more great times and can’t wait for all of the memories to come.

Natalie Parker ‘20

Senior Perspective: Two and Through

amanda-seniorFor me, being a part of the band was a relatively short journey. After just two semesters, I was already a band alumna. As a China and Asia-Pacific Studies major I spent my junior and senior falls away from campus in Washington D.C. and Beijing, respectively, and thus had to say goodbye to marching band…but the band never left me.

Freshman year (2013) I walked up to the Fischell Band Center (no ‘old’ band room for us) and indecisively inquired about joining band. I didn’t know if I should continue playing clarinet or saxophone but in the end I chose the saxophone because 1. duh, and 2. my clarinet was too nice to be exposed to the elements. It was the best decision I made in my college career.

The Big Red Marching Band has always given me a sense of belonging despite feeling like that small fish in a big sea. I’ve met some great people. I’ve had some great moments. I will cherish these people and moments for the rest of my life. Even though I am a senior who really only participated in band for a two years, I feel as close to it as ever and I hope that future generations of Cornellians get to share a similar experience whether they are in marching band for one year or four.

Because the Cornell Big Red Marching Band is more than a marching band and more than a student organization, it really is a family.

Amanda Williams ‘17