Michaela here, your 2014 (and, as recently determined, 2015!) drum major. This fall was such an incredible season for the Big Red Marching Band! As it is Cornell’s sesquicentennial, the band has been extra busy with a bunch of extra events to celebrate our home on the hill. Certainly, the season has been a memorable one! First Night started off with an incredible amount of energy (seriously, I don’t think I ever stopped smiling), and was a dynamic welcome to the wonderful Class of 2018!
Our first road trip of the year took us to NYC to play in an event for the sesquicentennial. The band made a powerful appearance at the Lincoln Center, parading into the theater and blasting Davy and My Old Cornell for all to hear. The show also featured the Glee Club, a rather dapper Ezra Cornell and A.D. White, and the real star of the show (other than the band, of course): a miniature Hot Truck that drove across the stage! Along with that, the band made a guest appearance on the Today Show and got to see the Empire State Building lit up red and white for Cornell. Over all, a rather successful trip to the city!
The first field show of the year was the Broadway show. Pregame featured memorable tunes from West Side Story, while halftime resounded with songs from In the Heights and Rent. The band then took the show on the road, performing it a second time at a rainy day at Harvard (but certainly, we didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits!). The night before the Harvard game, the band played a concert in front of Quincy Market—something that was extra special for me as someone who grew up just outside of Boston and dined at Quincy Market many times as a child!
The second show was performed at homecoming. Filled with dazzling trumpet solos, the jazz show was a huge hit! Georgia on my Mind was one of my favorite songs of the year, and the absolute wall of sound it created during pregame was a huge hit with the alumni. Halftime continued with It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing), followed by a crowd favorite, Emerald Eyes. The band finished the show with creating a giant 150 on the field in honor of the sesquicentennial, and all of the alumni soloists joining in created an absolutely amazing sound!
When the band returned from Brown, they enchanted the audience with the magic show, which featured Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, themes from Harry Potter and Night on Bald Mountain. This show definitely contained the most challenging music of the year, but the band pulled it off with amazing flair! The final show of the year was the Pixar show, opening with driving music from The Incredibles, then slowing down with You’ve Got A Friend in Me and music from Cars.
This year also contained the memorable Sy Katz parade through the streets of New York City. With the melodies of Cornell Victorious still echoing in the air form the first (and, sadly, only) win of the season against Columbia, the band quickly made its way into the heart of the city to parade and concert in front of the Cornell Club. Standing atop that (extra) tall ladder and seeing all of the people there to watch is something I’ll never forget.
This whole year has been an absolute thrill for me. Life atop the ladder is even more incredible than I ever imagined, and I am beyond honored and thrilled that I’ll be doing this for another year. I know the season hasn’t even quite ended yet, but I’m already so excited to welcome the Class of 2019 (don’t worry Class of 2018—you guys will always be dear to my heart as well) into this wonderful family and only REAL marching band in the Ivy League!
-Michaela Olson ’16
Current students and Alums storm the field at this year’s Homecoming performance of Emerald Eyes!
Broadway show on the road at Hahvahd!