This year, the Big Red Marching Band has significantly expanded its outreach and community service efforts. This increase has been met with a very positive reaction from both band members and the community itself. The wide range of events that the band participated in were a lot of fun for everyone involved, and gave the band great exposure in the Cornell community.
The spring semester has included three large events so far. The first was Relay for Life, the well-known fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Although the marching band has registered a small team for the past few years, this was our first opportunity to perform. The event held in Barton Hall, so the band paraded around the track and performed a concert on the nearby stage. It was a big hit, and the organizers invited us back “next year and every year after that!” The band also registered its usual team of students to walk in the relay. Highlights of the night included a small crowd of band members attempting to do Zumba at two in the morning, donating money to pie the drum major and head manager, and raising a total of $800 for cancer research.
The second event was a Bone Marrow Donor Drive through Be the Match, an organization that helps add people to the bone marrow registry. Band members handed out quartercards on Ho Plaza in front of Willard Straight Hall, helped sign people in, and even registered as members themselves. The band added 20 people to the registry and raised a total of $700. Michael Garbin, the visiting representative from Be the Match, was so impressed by the band’s effort and enthusiasm that he offered to write a community service related letter of recommendation for anyone who helped out.
The band also had a performance inside the Statler Hotel to kick off Hotel Ezra Cornell, an annual conference hosted by Hotel Administration students for leaders of the hospitality industry. To start the event with a bang, the band paraded through the Statler on the students’ lunch break, and then played a concert inside the building’s entryway. The performance was a great surprise for all the hard working students! They crowded around, took pictures with Touchdown the Bear, and sang the Alma Mater as the band played. It was a lot of fun to play in a different building to a different crowd, and we’re happy that the hotel students enjoyed the show.
We were involved in several more community service events throughout the rest of the semester, including playing host to a blood drive. This involved raising interest before the drive, helping people sign in, and handing out juice and snacks to donors during the drive. We also volunteered at Expanding Your Horizons – a program for seventh to ninth grade girls that aims to stimulate their interest in math and science, and participated in Nate’s Run for Smiles, a 5K in memory of a Cornell student that raised money for a new children’s hospital playroom. Our final service projects of the semester involved building trusses on Ho Plaza with Habitat for Humanity and working in the Plantations with the YMCA Making Trails Project.
As you can see, it’s been a very busy semester, but the community service events have been a great experience. Whether the band is performing or volunteering, it’s exciting to know that we’re putting the famous Big Red Band energy into supporting some amazing causes.
Iona Brockie ’14