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Around the Band: Section Shenanigans Part 2

Alumni Relations

The Big Red Flutes had another great season! One new thing we tried this year is Fall Fancy Flute. During an early September Tuesday rehearsal, the flutes dressed up in their best attire (formal dresses and suits) andflutes marched the rehearsal like nothing was different. (What can I say, we are super classy.) Musically, we had important roles in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and we even had a “solo” part for us in “The Incredibles.” Ok, we all played the solo because why would we deny the band and audience any flute sound? Finally, in order to celebrate the sesquicentennial at the last home game we did 150 flute ups! It was a full band effort, but we made it! Thanks for a great year!


The Saxes have had an awesome season. This year we had a HUGE freshmen class of more than 20 new saxes!  Additionally, we have introduced two new cheers into ousaxesr repertoire: Game of Thrones (Anita Mbogoni ’15) and Seize the Day (Courtney Stokes, PhD).  This has also been the season of many sax solis.  In the Broadway show, the saxes were featured in “Seasons of Love”, and in the Pixar show, Ben Siper (’17) and Sergio Preciado (’17) blew the audience away with an awesome duet in “The Incredibles”.  Thanks for an amazing season saxes!


The Clarinets had another amazing season. We got an awesome class of freshman (plus a junior transfer) who created a new tradition of all ordering strawberry smoothies after Thursday rehearsals from Libe Cafe, much to the bewilderment of the baristas. We’ve continuclarinetsed our long-standing traditions of laying down during Throwdown and Move 99 while parading, while also formalizing a few new ones, most notably: “Scatter-9” during Firebird and the “Swag-Surf” while parading. All in all, we had a great year full of shenanigans, laughter, and glazed ho’s!


2014 was a fantastic year for the only REAL Horn section in the Ivy League. We graduated our horn mommas of two years, but we’ve been under the strong leadership of our two horn dads, or “manmoms” as they are commonly known. This year, we have welcomed three freshmen and a junior transfer (the third straight year we’ve added a transfer studhornsent!) and they have all been fantastic additions to our horn family. We’re also proud to say that we are one of the best represented sections at pep band, as almost every single one of our members is active in the Big Red Pep Band. Whether it’s spontaneously creating new parade moves every game day, losing our voices at Lynah, pickle dancing or laughing at our absurd jokes, the horns will continue having wacky, yet memorable adventures with our band friends.

It was another exciting year for Da Bones of the BRMB! We were happy to welbonescome 10 new bones (and tones) to the section in August. Among them was the long awaited appearance of Chopper! We continued traditions like Talk like a Pirate Day, Night of the Unknown Bone and the weather during Hawaii 5-0 was actually a bit chilly.  Additionally, we’ve announced the relocation of Bonehouse. After 10 years in the current Bonehouse, we’re look forward to a fresh start at our new house, as well as the rest of the exciting events in the coming year.

The Big Red Tubae had an excellent 2014! We started the year with six new members (five freshmen and a junior transfer), making us quite possibly bigger (and uglier) than ever before. With the record growth in the past couple years, Rank ? was even reinstated, so that the tubae once again form ranks Hammer and Sickletubas! Many thanks to seniors Nate Floro and Kevin Mollica, who guided us through the trials and tribulations of 2014, and will be sorely missed. Looking to the future, Istvan Burbank ’17 is taking the reins as Liaison, and we couldn’t be more excited for next season!



The Trumpet Section has continued to be as loud and proud as ever. We were lucky to have a great group of new members join our ranks this season, bringing great new energy to the section! We held up our tradition of excellent performance on the field. This year our soloists included Melissa Harbert ’15, Schwegger Htrumpetsolmes ’15, Tim “Big Time” Coda ’16, Luigi Widom ’16, and Pinto Smith ’17. The Trumpets are also proud to have one of our own start her second term as Drum Major; congrats Michaela!

The Guard had a great season!


The Drum Line is still too cool to be in Band Notes!

drummers II


Freshmen and Seniors Share

Alumni Relations


We asked freshmen to share why they stayed with the band, and if they had any favorite traditions. Here’s what they had to say!

Well, I found the band when you guys hounded me on move-in day (so I guess you all found me?) and decided to stay because it quickly became my home. With the Big Red Band, I am unafraid of being myself and am surrounded by genuine friends who care about each other. I love meeting everyone, getting creative, and just chillin’. It really brings the whole band together! Marching band is and forever will be a passion of mine!

– Stephanie, Guard

I decided to stay in the Big Red Marching band due to the great atmosphere that it provided. On First Night, I decided that the band was the place to be. My favorite band tradition was meeting Josh.

– Erick, Tuba

During orientation week the band covered campus with “JOIN BAND! FREE HUGS! 200 INSTANT FRIENDS!” chalkings. Those chalkings weren’t kidding! Being a part of the Big Red Marching Band means joining a community of crazy-friendly-happy people. What’s not to love?

– Kristen, Flute

Marching band has become really important to me because it is a family away from home. Although I did not initially intend on joining, I can assure you it was the best decision I have made since coming to Cornell. I have found a place that makes me feel like I belong here.

– Grey, Bone

I decided to stay in the Big Red Marching band because of all the great music we get to play, but more importantly, I stayed because all of the people in my section (and in band in general) are so amazing and supportive! Ellen Patridge is the best!!!

– Kari, Percussion

I was originally unsure about doing marching band, but First Night and the awesome people of the trumpet section changed my mind. Oh and music and band are pretty cool, too. It’s hard to choose a single favorite tradition…. the parading traditions are the best (BRING THE NOISE).

- Mary, Trumpet


We asked seniors what thing they will miss the most, and if they have any favorite memories. We got some amazing responses!

One thing I’ll miss? The people. Always having friends around to have fun with not just in rehearsal, but for any activity. I feel that people in the band make any activity, regardless of what it is, about ten times more fun. My favorite memories? One of the two that I can think of are playing at the Montreal Alouettes game my junior year. It was my first time in Canada, and we performed maybe the best we ever have. The other was the last game my junior year, Jeff Mathew’s final game. Penn(SUCKS) had come back to make it 42-41 with a minute left, but on the extra point, the band screamed at the top of our lungs “SLIP AND DIE” and we blocked it, and we won the game.

–Andrew, Horn

More than anything else, I will miss the people I’ve met through the BRMB. For me, playing music is only a tiny part of what band is; the friends I have made and kept through my four years are something so much bigger than any show we could march. In particular, I will miss the Big Red Tubae, the best (and ugliest) friends anyone could ever have.

– Nate, Tuba

I’ll miss my trumpet family! We’ve all gotten to be really close so it’ll definitely be hard to be away. Love em!

– Michelle, Trumpet

Important Homecoming Times

Alumni Relations

Greetings Everyone!

Homecoming is only two days away! Here are some fun band events on the big day which alumni are very welcome to attend and participate in!

Friday, October 17th

Big Red Bands Alumni Association Annual Meeting

  • Where: Kaplan Family Room, Bartels Hall (above the basketball court)
  • When: 3:30 – 4:45 PM
  • What: Band updates, alumni association updates, approval of the budget, and election of new officers

Saturday, October 18th

  • 10:30 am – Morning rehearsal at Alumni Field. Join us in practicing this year’s Homecoming song “Emerald Eyes.” Instruments and music folders can be picked up at the Fischell Band Center.
  • 12:30 pm – The band parades our team from the Statler.
  • 1:05 pm – The band leaves for the Ho Plaza parade.
  •  2:00 pm – Tailgate Concert.

Hope to see you all there!

Anjum & Emily.

Homecoming Music

Alumni Relations

Hello All!

Homecoming is just a week away and we are as excited as you are for both Football and Red-White Hockey! If you plan on playing music with the band, you can find the sheet music for most of our songs at this link:

The song for this year’s Homecoming is “Emerald Eyes.” Fun fact: this year marks the song’s 30th anniversary!

We are all extremely enthusiastic to welcome our Big Red Marching Band Family and can’t wait to meet you. Till then, happy practicing!

Anjum & Emily.

Homecoming Football Tickets

Alumni Relations

Breaking News!

Cornell is offering discount Homecoming football tickets to alumni this year! To purchase your tickets, just follow the link below:

We are also arranging the reservation of a few rows in the stands behind the band for our marching band alumni so please come and join us, regardless of what the seats on your tickets are. As a reminder, please be sure to register yourselves for our Homecoming Tailgate in the official email we sent out if you haven’t done so already. We want to organize this special Sesquicentennial Homecoming to bring the utmost enjoyment to our alumni!


Anjum and Emily.



Book Your Hotel for Homecoming 2014 Now!

Alumni Relations

Welcome to Fall 2014 and a new semester of band-filled fun and excitement!

Recruitment and First Night were a complete success and may I say on behalf of all the previous years’ band members how thrilled we are at the turnout we received! The Big Red Marching Band is currently busy with Band Camp and working hard to give a show-stopping performance at this season’s Homecoming, scheduled for the weekend of October 17-18, 2014. Homecoming is one of Ithaca’s most jam-packed times of the year as throngs of Cornell alumni, friends, and family make a beeline for the campus. Roads are blocked, hotels reach maximum capacity, and many times there is unfortunately no place for people to spend the night.

To avoid such a mishap, our Big Red Bands Alumni Association Events Coordinator Kathryn Abbott has reserved a block of rooms for Homecoming 2014 at the Fairfield Inn (359 Elmira Rd., Ithaca, NY). If you plan on coming, please make a reservation by 4:00 pm on September 19, 2014 so as get the group rate. We have 20 rooms total – 5 standard king rooms, and 15 standard queen rooms, both having a rate of $249/night. The block is 2 nights, with check-in on Friday, October 17 at 3:00 pm and checkout on Sunday, October 19 by 11:00 am. All room rates are subject to local sales tax and occupancy taxes, and individuals are responsible for making and paying for their own reservation. The hotel does not have any roll-away beds available.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please email Kathryn Abbott at You are of course, also very welcome to email the Alumni Relations Chairs, Anjum and Emily (see the “Governance” tab on the top left corner for our email addresses).  We are hoping to see MOST, if not ALL, of our Big Red Band family at this year’s Homecoming!

Looking Forward to the Fall

Alumni Relations

Reunion was a blast! It was so good to meet those of you who came up to Ithaca for the weekend as well as hear your stories from thDSC_1371e band in the past.

Here are a couple of our favorite pictures from the luncheon:

If you could not make it up for reunion, never fear. The band has a busy fall planned and we will be playing in several locations!

The Big Red  Bands Coming Soon to a City Near You!

Sesquicentennial Event in NYC, 9/13: SSSSH! The band will be participating in the New York City sesquicentennial event at Jazz at Lincoln Center, but it’s a secret so don’t tell non-band alumni. If you’re interested in attending, the evening event is sold out, but you can register for the afternoon event here.

Quincy Market Concert and Harvard Game 10/10 -10/11: We will also be playing a concert at Quincy Market Friday evening at 7:00 pm. The band will of course be playing at halftime and a post-game concert at the Harvard game. Kickoff is at 1pm on Saturday. If you are in the area come check us out.





Homecoming,10/17-10/18: It’s a special Homecoming this year as we celebrate the sesquicentennial in Ithaca We’ll start with a tailgate on the Katz-Vanneman Plaza right outside of the Fischell Band Center beginning at noon.(register below) Then join us for a halftime celebration (we’ll be performing “Emerald Eyes.”) Additionally, the stars have aligned and also that evening is the Red/White hockey exhibition. Football and Hockey, what more could you ask for?

Register Here l See Who’s Coming

We have also reserved a room block for band alumni, which will be available for reservations through 9/16. For more information, click here.

Brown Game 10/25: The band will be in the Providence area for the Brown football game the weekend of October 25th. Kickoff will be at 12:30 pm.

Columbia and Sy Katz Parade, 11/15: The band will travel back to New York Columbia football game and the Sy Katz Parade. Football kickoff will be 12:30 pm and the parade will start around 5:00 pm at Rockefeller Center and work its way down to the Cornell Club-New York. The parade is always a great time and will be even greater with our alumni in attendance!

Frozen Apple at Madison Square Garden. 11/29: Last but not least, the pep band will be traveling to NYC as Cornell takes on Penn State in hockey game! The puck will drop at 8:00 pm!

For more photos and information and updates about the bands please check out the Big Red Bands Facebook page.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

We hope to see you at one (if not all) of these events sometime this fall!

Emily and Anjum

Greetings from your 2014 Alumni Relations Chairs

Mike Stuhlmiller

emily-anjum-topWell, we survived the “Polar Vortex” and the “100 Year Winter.” We may have spent a good portion of the semester huddled up in Lynah but never fear; we can finally hear birds and detect no snow, for now. In case you needed another sign that spring was here, it is time for the spring edition of Band Notes! Allow us to introduce ourselves: Read More →

Alumni Communications – the Path Forward

Mike Stuhlmiller

lowell-communicationsAs many of you reading this know, paper newsletters are becoming a thing of the past. For various reasons – most prominent among them a University-wide dropping of the practice – we have moved to fully electronic communications. With the rise of social media, there may be some questions about the what, when, and where of the Big Red Bands (the “why” is easy: because we say so).

We have devoted a large portion of the last two spring BRBAA Advisory Council meetings to developing a communications roadmap. The core of communications will be in a newly revamped (but not quite finished) website that will be located at Bookmark it now! The bulk of the content will be newsletter articles, and they will arrive in large content uploads twice yearly, with smaller uploads at the beginning of football and hockey season. With that sort of (in)frequency, we know you won’t be starting each day looking at the site; as such, there will be a blast email from Cornell (similar to what you received during the building campaign) alerting you to what is available. The website will be mobile friendly, which I hope will at least in part address some people’s concern that a newsletter is the type of thing you read while in the bathroom (don’t deny it). There may be smaller content updates in between “issues,” and we’ll let you know via email when there may something of interest to you. One important obstacle we’re working on is how to adjust your communications settings with Cornell so that you get those emails – obviously, if you’re reading this there’s not a problem.

The website will be structured as scrolling articles with links to jump to whichever post interests you. We will also keep contact info for Alumni Association officers, student leaders, sports schedules, and other things that are important but relatively static. In essence, webpage = newsletter.

This brings us to social media, and it’s kind of a mess. Right now there are four Facebook sites, including Cornell Big Red Band, Cornell Big Red Pep Band, and Big Red Bands Alumni–Let’s Go Red.  This is in addition to section and other smaller group sites, which people are free to run as they see fit. We tried as best we could to minimize the number of destinations, but they serve different purposes. Starting with the easiest to address:  BRMB historian is, essentially, the 21st century version of reprints. It’s an unfiltered photo dump of every picture of the band you can imagine. It is for the students, but feel free to poke around if you like. The two most important sites are Cornell Big Red Band and Cornell Big Red Pep Band, and they are “pages.” They are open to the public. The students update them regularly, with some input from the alumni officers. I strongly encourage you to like them, as this is where we will post official announcements (in addition to the blast emails). If you post here everybody else who likes the page may not get a notification (but you will when the administrators do). Lastly, there is Big Red Bands Alumni–Let’s Go Red. This was to be the victim of the bunch, but a small vocal group has protested. We’ll likely keep it around, but it will not be used in an official capacity. It is, in Facebook parlance, a “group,” meaning it is meant for frivolous discussion that everybody can see and contribute to. Clearly, this is an essential component of being a band alum, but please go ahead and like the two band pages as well. There’s also a LinkedIn group and two Twitter feeds (@BigRedMarchingB and @BigRedPepBand), but they are not as frequented now.

That addresses the “where” and the “when,” but not the “what,” and having a good communications system isn’t particularly helpful if your content is poor. Historically, Band Notes has almost entirely focused on the student experience. That will still be there, but what we hope to expand significantly is the kind of information that you care about as an alumni and supporter of the band that perhaps you didn’t as a student.  We are, after all, an alumni association, and you deserve to know what’s going on with a group that you have such a strong connection with. This means information on what big picture issues the band is facing, where your generous gifts are going, and how you can be involved. There should be something for everybody, whether you want to know what kind of music the band is playing (more Dr. Worm!) or how the band’s endowment is performing (charts and graphs!).  I think we did a good job with this at the fall BRBAA meeting, the presentation from which you can view here.

Most importantly, none of this is set in stone. The most important reason to have a clear communications system is so that you can chime in – let us know what you want to know! I hope this brings some clarity, and I’ll see you on the intertubes.

Lowell Frank ‘99
Chair, Big Red Bands Alumni Association

Big Red Bands Advising Update

Mike Stuhlmiller

At the Big Red Bands Alumni Association general meeting this past fall, I wanted to use the outstanding alumni attendance as an opportunity to bring people up to speed on some of the larger issues facing the Bands. One thing we talked about then was the tumultuous advising situation the band has been dealing with over the past few years. For those of you who couldn’t attend, I’ll provide a quick summary. I’m also happy to report that we’ve moved forward and have recently reached what I think will be an excellent solution.

Below is a rough timeline of the band’s advising situation over the last 65 years or so that was discussed in the fall.  Most alumni from the last 25 years or so will be familiar with the two-headed system that was in place: a music advisor who worked on, well, music, and an Athletics staff member who served as an administrative advisor. Cornell was not immune to the recent recession, and both of these positions were impacted. The Assistant Director of Bands, who served as a conductor in the University wind groups as well as music advisor, was cut in 2009. Similarly, as Athletics staffing became stretched, the responsibilities associated with advising the band became unassigned.  At the time, Matt Coats was the band’s advisor in Athletics, and while he continued to handle field scheduling and other similar duties under his purview, the support that such a large student group requires was lacking.

President Skorton, an avid supporter of the band and First Night attendee, admires our new facility!

President Skorton, an avid supporter of the band and First Night attendee, admires our new facility!

There were some stopgap solutions. We entered into an agreement with Ithaca College in which they would provide a graduate student to assist with music and performance aspects and we would financially support a proportional part of a graduate assistantship. Many of the administrative tasks, however, became fragmented. For budget issues, the students would turn to some combination of the Advisory Council and a handful of financial staff members at Cornell.  For travel, there was the Athletics travel office. Sue Detzer – herself reassigned to the ticket office – helped out in a variety of ways where she could. And on like this it went. Read More →

Financial Update

Mike Stuhlmiller

One of the important roles the BRBAA Advisory Council plays is ensuring the financial stability of the Big Red Bands organization year in and year out.  We work together with the undergraduate student leadership to ensure that band is in a strong financial standing for years to come, while allowing the current band members to enjoy a busy and productive year supporting Cornell Athletics.

Financial Operations Review

The bands have two primary sources of income: annual gifts to operations and payout from endowment. Throughout the course of a typical year, band alumni and supporters commit an average of about $60,000 in gifts to the organization. The majority of these gifts is donated directly to the bands’ operations, and is used within the year. In addition, the bands generate about another $40,000 in income from long-term investment payouts from the Cornell endowment.  The Bands spend about $80,000 each year on operations and $20,000 on reserve expenses, which is money set aside for long term purchases (such as uniforms, tubas, and percussion). The largest expense for both bands is travel, which, including playoffs, accounted for 55% of expenses in FY2013. At the end of each fiscal year, the bands typically break even, with any surplus saved to re-invest in endowment shares in the future.  These are very rough numbers.


The summary of the Bands’ budget is shown below. Read More →

Hey Baaaaand! It’s the Drum Major and Head Manager

Mike Stuhlmiller

michaela-alex-dm-hmHey all! We’re Michaela Olson and Alex Settle, the 2014 drum major and head manager of the Big Red Marching Band! I (Michaela) am a sophomore double majoring in Materials Science Engineering and drum major (okay, maybe I’m just majoring in Materials Science). I’ve been playing trumpet in the band for the past two seasons, and I served on the show committee this past year. I (Alex) am also a sophomore studying Chemical Engineering. Formerly of both the percussion section and sax section, I also served as treasurer in the fall. Our terms have only just begun, but we’ve already gotten involved in many wonderful opportunities, and also have some very exciting events coming up!

We began the year by performing at the opening ceremony for the brand-new Computer Science building, Gates Hall. Much to the chagrin of the brass players (well, specifically, their frozen valves), the march from Fischell Band Center to Gates was done in single digit weather, but the performance was a rousing success, and added Gates Hall to the list of buildings that the Big Red Marching Band has paraded through. A rather successful January day! Read More →