Latest News

August Update

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni!

August is quickly coming to a close, and students are heading back to the hill to start another year of studying, working, and most importantly, being a member of the Big Red Bands! We’re so excited to see our returning members and recruit new people into the best organization on campus. Looking further forward into this semester, we have several events at which we hope to see alumni.

2019 Homecoming

Homecoming this year is October 5, 2019! We hope to see many of you at the Big Red Bands tailgate luncheon, which will be held at 11:30 AM in the Fischell Band Center. If you plan on attending the luncheon, or would like to request music or an instrument to play during the halftime show, please fill out the form attached here.  As we get closer to the game, we will update the BRBAA website with a more precise schedule for the day.

2019 Marching Band Away Trips

September 27, 2019- performance at Herald Square, NYC 7:00 PM

September 28, 2019 at Yale

October 11, 2019- performance at Quincy Market, Boston 7:00 PM

October 12, 2019 at Harvard

November 9, 2019 at Penn

2019 Pep Band Away Trips

November 30, 2019- Madison Square Garden trip- Alumni seats will be in section 219 and 220!

December 6-7, 2019- Harvard/ Dartmouth trip

Additionally, we have recently learned from Athletics that Phonathon will be held in the fall rather than the spring this year. Expect calls on October 2nd and October 20th.


We hope to see you at some of the exciting events we have planned for this semester!


Julia Klopfer ’20 and Diane Sutyak ’20, Alumni Relations Chairs


Reunion 2019

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni!

Planning on returning to the hill for reunion this year? RSVP for the Big Red Bands luncheon, held on Saturday, June 8 at 11:30 in the Fischell Band Center. Hope to see you there!


Your Spring 2019 BandNotes

Alumni Relations

AR smallHey Alumni!

We are Julia Klopfer and Diane Sutyak, your 2019 Alumni Relations Chairs! We are excited to introduce ourselves and present the Spring 2019 BandNotes. Julia Klopfer is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from Marblehead, Massachusetts. She has previously served as Treasurer and Alumni Relations Chair. Diane Sutyak is a junior in the College of Engineering from York, Pennsylvania. She has previously served as ShowComm Chair and Flute Section Leader. We have both had phenomenal experiences on Bandstaph, and are happy to return as co-chairs.

We are excited to say that Band is full swing this semester. We’re very busy keeping old traditions, while developing new traditions. Observe some aardvarking during Spring Concert, or some fresh new moves parading on Dragon Day! It may not be Fall, but the Band keeps busy spreading spirit around campus.


Julia Klopfer ’20 & Diane Sutyak ’20

And now presenting the only REAL Spring 2018 BandNotes Articles in the Ivy League!

From your new Advisory Council Chair

Alumni Relations

Greetings Big Red Bands Alumni-

Welcome to this spring’s edition of Band Notes. I am honored to begin my term serving the BRBAA Advisory Council as Chair. We have many exciting priorities for the Big Red Bands in the coming years, and I look forward to working closely with the alumni, students, and Cornell support staff who help keep the bands going forward strongly year in and year out.

Before I share a few updates with you about the Advisory Council, I would like to first extend a thank you to my predecessor, Lowell Frank ’99, who has stepped down after almost two decades of service to the AC (the last 6 of which as Chair). Lowell has incomparable enthusiasm for all things Cornell and has a particular passion for the Big Red Bands. His energy will be missed by our group, but we know we can count on him to cheer us on from the sidelines. On a personal note, I very much appreciate the example Lowell has set for excellence in leading our organization.

Next, I am happy to announce that our slate of officers for the 2019-20 Advisory Council is now complete, with the addition of four at-large members. Thank you to each of these individuals for volunteering their time, traveling to Ithaca twice per year for meetings, and bringing their wisdom to the table as we advance the priorities of our organization:

Chair: Brian Adelman ’09 (formerly Vice-Chair)
Vice-Chair: Tom Seery ’09 (formerly at-large member)
Treasurer: Adam Mangano Drenkard ’11 (staying on)
Resource Chair: Nick Janiga ’00 (staying on)
Secretary: Michelle Yanda ’15 (staying on)
Events Coordinator: Emily Isenstein ‘16 and Cameron Glass ’13 (staying on and former at-large member)

At Large Members: Steven Albanese ’14 (returning), Ilyse Cody ’02, Duncan Perry ’84, and Scott Pesner ’87 (returning)

Next, at our February Advisory Council meeting, we established three work groups to create focus areas for 2019:

-Student & University Engagement: As some of you know, the bands have just completed a year-long review of their organizational practices with the Office of the Judicial Administrator and the Department of Athletics. Cornell’s new president, Martha Pollack, has identified the elimination of hazing on campus as a top priority for all campus groups, including Greek letter organizations and athletic teams. To supplement the hard work of our student leadership to amend the Constitution and ensure the bands’ activities comply with university standards, the alumni workgroup brainstormed ways to better support our student leaders in the coming years. We have found that opening lines of communication among students, alumni, and Cornell staff will be crucial as we continue to adjust to new expectations of conduct in the future. Keep your eyes peeled for further communication on this topic; we may seek additional alumni support for our students in this initiative.

-Uniforms: The Marching Band is due for a new look! The Band has been using the current uniforms since fall 2009, and this year’s leadership is excited to design, develop, and order brand new uniforms. Thanks to the careful planning by Adam (Treasurer) and Nick (Resource Chair), our finances are in order to make this purchase for Fall 2020. Emily Isenstein ’16 is working alongside current Head Manager Jill Crosby ’21 to ensure this project finishes on time!

-Long-Term Planning: I am happy to report that our organization is in a strong financial standing. The Band continues to enjoy tremendous support from alumni and friends who contribute annual gifts. In addition, the Second Century endowment fund supports more than a third of the band’s annual operation as well. Our Long-Term Planning workgroup began considering the next chapter of the Big Red Bands. Given the rising expenses of operating the organization each year, this group is working on how we can reduce our reliance on annual giving in the future and create a bit more cushion in our budget. Again, more to come on this exciting topic, so stay tuned!

Most importantly, I wish to thank all of our generous alumni and friends for your support over the years. Each of you who have contributed to the band, attended a game, marched with us along Fifth Avenue, or hummed along to Alma Chimes Evening on a Saturday night in the fall has had an important impact on the student experience.

I welcome any and all feedback or suggestions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at


Brian Adelman ‘09
Chair, BRBAA Advisory Council
Chicago, IL

Marching into the Next Era- Notes from the Marching Band Head Manager

Alumni Relations


My name is Jill Crosby, and I am honored to be the 2019 Head Manager of the only REAL Marching Band in the Ivy League. I am a sophomore Policy Analysis and Management major in the College of Human Ecology and am preparing to attend law school after graduation. I have been a member of the Sax and Tuba sections for the past two years since I made the amazing decision to join band! I am proud to serve the band with Buckets, our new Drum Major, and leading our very dedicated and growing Bandstaph! Almost all of my time is spent doing work for the band. When I see a member’s smiling face at an event, I know all of the energy I put into our organization is well worth it!

Our spring semester began with our annual Phonathon and live-streamed Giving Day concert. Thank you to the 432 donors that helped the band raise over $32,541 on Giving Day! The Band would not be the same without the consistent and overwhelming support of our alumni. We paraded for the first time in 2019 for our annual Hotel Ezra Cornell Kickoff performance. The Alma Mater could be heard throughout Statler Hall, and students enjoyed hearing the Marching Band as their Introduction to Wines class began.

The saxophone section performed cheers at the International Gala as part of the Band’s Philanthropy, Diversity, & Inclusion initiative this semester. The Marching Band will be more active in the Cornell and Ithaca community this year with special performances to support clubs on campus and volunteering opportunities. The addition of the Philanthropy Coordinator to our Bandstaph has allowed this initiative to be possible. Congratulations to Oscar Tendilla for being the first Philanthropy Coordinator of the Big Red Marching Band!

We had our first meetings for Our History in Photos initiative where band members, led by Alex Coy ’21, are scanning decades of scrapbooks in the band office to be uploaded to the band’s new photo storage site. We will be revealing the many photos prior to reunion. Also, the New Marching Band Uniform Committee met to discuss the redesign and purchase of new uniforms for the band’s future. I am overjoyed to have committed members donating so much of their time to improving our organization.

Prior to Spring Break, the band will perform for Dragon Day celebrations. We will conclude this historical parade with a special performance outside of Sibley Hall. When band members return to Ithaca, we will join together for multiple music rehearsals and practice for our performance at Relay for Life. Band members will participate in this meaningful event as we donate our time to this special cause. Of course, the band members will perform on Ho Plaza and another new location for Cornell Days. We will be performing on April 19th, 22nd, and 25th to recruit more members of our band family. This year we will also perform at CALS Day 2019! Bring A Child To Work Day will be hosted in the Fischell Band Center, and we will share our love of music with interested families. Finally, we will perform our annual Spring Concert in the Ithaca Commons on April 27th at 12:00 PM.

The Band will celebrate our amazing seniors as they hang up their uniforms and put on their Alumni sweaters during Commencement Weekend. Reunion will be arriving with the summer heat on June 7th through 9th, and the Marching Band will perform at numerous events for our alumni.

We are also ready to announce the schedule for the fall season! The band will be travelling to Yale where we will take a short stop in New York City for a performance in Herald Square on September 27th. Next, Cornell will celebrate Homecoming on October 4th and 5th. The Big Red Bands will celebrate 50 Years of Women during Homecoming with special performances, events, and recognitions. Mark your calendars and plan your return to Ithaca for this memorable experience. The Band will travel the very next week to Harvard on October 11th where we will perform at the Quincy Market! Our final trip will take place at Penn(sucks) on November 8th. If you have any questions about events, email, the BRMB’s new official contact, for any information needed.

It is going to be an absolutely phenomenal year as our Band continues to evolve and grow with new members. It is my pleasure to serve the Big Red and create enjoyable experiences for our members, audience, and alumni. Catch me wearing a red dress and singing Evening Song arm in arm with Buckets!

-Jill Crosby ’21



Spring 2019 Notes from the Drum Major

Alumni Relations

Buckets smallHey Alumni!
My name is Buckets (some of you may know me as Justin) Kozma and I am the Drum Major for 2019! I am a junior Animal Science major, on the Pre-Veterinary track, from Randolph, NJ. My home while at Cornell, however, is the lovable and mighty Trumpet section. Outside of the Big Red Bands, I am a Hunter R. Rawlings III Research Scholar, currently working at the Wildlife Health Center on a research project involving native wildlife and rodenticide levels. Furthermore, I volunteer my time at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital near East Hill Plaza feeding, handling, and treating the injured wildlife of the area.

Now that you know a little about me, it’s time to get into the current state of the Band! We started off the year strong in March by having our first music rehearsal where we not only worked on those beloved difficult concert songs such as “Firebird” and “The Hand That Feeds,” but we also said hello to the newest member of the folder, “Phantom of the Opera.” The following week, we paraded through campus and into the Statler Hotel to kick off the annual Hotel Ezra Cornell event! It was our first time parading and performing this semester, so the Band had a blast getting back into the swing of things. The next day, we had our Giving Day concert. Thank you so much for voting for your favorite songs and tuning in, it was a blast! In April, we have a lot of events and rehearsals to help spread school spirit, from Cornell Days to CALS Day. On April 27th, we will be having our annual Spring Concert in the Ithaca Commons, so if you are nearby or in town, make sure to come see us!

Looking ahead, Homecoming is October 4-5 this year and we are celebrating the 50th year of Women in the Band! We are making this a very large event and would love every single one of you to join us for this momentous occasion. Because of such extravagance, the Homecoming song this year is going to be a dedication to all of the women of the band rather than a song traditionally picked from the folder. The song will be “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin and it will be added to the concert folder as a tribute to the celebration of our history. The arrangement for the song will be sent out well in advance to give all a chance to practice! Other notable events occurring in the fall will be our Yale Trip and Herald Square Performance in late September, Harvard Trip and Quincy Market Performance in mid-October, and Penn(Sucks) trip in mid-November. I hope to see you all at least at one of the upcoming performances this year! Whether that be Spring Concert, Reunion, Homecoming, or some other game, feel free to come and say hi, celebrate your times in the Big Red Bands, and remember the good old days on the hill (yes, THAT hill!)

And most importantly…Go Red (Dammit)!

Justin “Buckets” Kozma, Drum Major, Class of ‘20

Hello from the Pep Band Manager

Alumni Relations

NatalieHey everyone!

My name is Natalie Parker and I already love being the 2019 Head Manager of the Pep Band! I am a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Biology and French and I am pre-med and pre-dietetics. I am from Ridgefield, Connecticut and I play clarinet in the band and absolutely love living at Clarinet House with my fellow ‘nets! Last year I had so much fun serving as your Alumni Relations Chair and Pep Band Historian. When I am not doing band, I am the Secretary for Cornell’s chapter of MEDLIFE and a student caller at the Cornell Annual Fund. I am also an active member of the Marching Band!

Everyone on the Pep Band board has already done such an amazing job and I am so proud of our two conductors, Emma Jacob ‘20 and Jeremy Miller ‘19 for their contagious enthusiasm! It would not be possible to keep the Pep Band going without everyone’s continued support, which I appreciate so much.

As expected, our Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams were fantastic this season. Our Men’s team was even ranked number one in the country for a little. We went on two weekend trips with the men’s team during their regular season to Yale/Brown and Northcountry (Clarkson and SLU). We hosted the first round of Men’s Hockey playoffs. Then, we followed the team to Lake Placid, where they competed in games for two days. A portion of the band also went to Hamden, CT, where the women played in the Frozen Four! It was so exciting that the women made it this far and was a very incredible experience.

We have really enjoyed playing at almost every home Wrestling match, the coaches told me “you guys have completely transformed the Friedman Wrestling Center environment. Everyone loves you guys, except the opposition who despise you more than you can imagine!” Our Men’s Basketball team also had a winning streak for a little while, and we were able to follow them to the Ivy League Tournament at Yale, which even earned us some money from Cornell Athletics! We are looking forward to seeing how our our Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams perform, since in the past we have been able to travel with them too. We were also invited to play at Baseball and are looking forward to playing for the Softball team soon.

So what’s new in the Pep Band? We have more members active than ever and have been performing at an average of four events each week, which the band is really enjoying! After several years of not playing at Track and Field, we got the chance to play for them again and the band and team really liked that and we got a lot of praise! We also got to play at a performance for Athletics which we got paid for, and are also planning on performing at Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland and will be compensated for that as well. The drumline has started performing the Big Red Rave, or their light show, before hockey games, and hopefully we will bring this show to our other sports! It really hypes up fans and is exciting to cheer along with the drummers.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. Next time you are in town or we travel to a game near you, please stop by and introduce yourself, I would love to meet you! See you soon and GO BIG RED!!


Section Shenanigans

Alumni Relations

The Flutes have already Fluteshad a lot of fun together this semester! Some of our notable events include Palentine’s Day Brunch, a trip to the Alley Cat Cafe, and Soup Sundays at Flute House. We’re also very excited to have six members on Bandstaph! Julia Klopfer ‘20 and Diane Sutyak ‘20 are Alumni Relations Chairs, Prajeet Sarker ‘22 is a Head Librarian, and Jamie Poole ‘ZI is a Historian. This semester, section leaders Sophie Zirkel ‘ZI and Bridget Childs ‘ZI are working on getting flute merchandise, buttons, and organizing flute cheers. We know this semester is just the beginning of a great year, but we would also like to congratulate our second semester seniors: Claire Schiefelbein, Marina Chang, Alex Wong, Caroline Dodd, Kathleen Won, and Steph Tarlowe. We know you are all going to accomplish so much, but what are we going to do without you?? To old flutes, we send you our flove!


The Clarinet sectClarinets copyion is up to great things as usual. We welcomed some awesome new freshmen and sophomores to the band, and we’re looking forward to gaining even more new members. This semester we had a lot of fun with one of our favorite events, Mean Girls & Nutella. If you couldn’t guess from the name, we eat Nutella-themed desserts and watch Mean Girls, a section favorite. We are also proud to see our section represent with many elected positions in both the Marching Band and Pep Band. Positions including Pep Band Manager (Natalie Parker), Pep Band Historian (Leigh Miller), Marching Band Secretary (Leigh Miller), Marching Band Uniform Chair (Carey Lau), Marching Band Treasurer (Audrey Guo), Pep Band Social Chair (Ava Soule), Pep Band Fundraising Chair (Caressa Swartz), Pep Band Conductor (Jeremy Miller), and Pep Band Secretary (Michael Earle) are held by members of the clarinet section. Even with all this going on, we can’t wait for more exciting times.



The Saxes have had a wonderful start to the year. We’ve put in a lot of effort into keeping the section active and engaged with the absence of Marching Band, and we are so excited for what is in store for the rest of the semester. From having a meet up in NYC over winter break to hanging out weekly off campus and even getting together to play sax cheers for former section leader, Alexis Stambaugh ‘05, we have kept ourselves very busy. We have even begun holding unofficial meetings to make sure everyone has a voice in how our section is run. Many of our members have also started taking a leadership role in our Band with 7 saxes on Bandstaph, one being Head Manager Jill Crosby ‘21. All in all, the section is really strong right now and we cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!


The Trumpets are ready to run the band in 2019. Our section boasts 12 members of Bandstaph in 10 different positions and 2 different positionTrumpets held by 3 trumpets on the Pep Band Board! Among these are the three most powerful people in the band: our section leader Spot Ellert-Beck ‘20, our Spinmaster (and ShowComm Chair) Peter VandeVort ‘21, and Cups ‘22. Oh, and our own Buckets “Justin” Kozma ‘20 will be waving his arms as the Drum Major of the BRMB this year (wow). Most importantly, we revere Andrew Ardizzone ‘20 as the 2019 Hannah Sollecito Trumpet Mom! We are super excited for our new weekly(ish) sectionals to get more time playing cheers and improving our glorious sound! When we’re not hard at work being the best, you can catch us hosting movie nights or tearing up the crumpets fields. As all things come to an end, we are cherishing our last semester with our wonderful ‘19 seniors: Hagan “Tips” Han, Claire Schiefelbein, Diana Herrera, Jeff “JEFF” Van, Molly Bergin, and Zeyu Hu. Be brave in your next adventures, and we will do the same. Here’s to a loud, awesome 2019!


BonesDa Bones are in the midst of a great Spring semester! We (Devin Smedira and Alex “Puffle” Loane if you do not know us), are having a great time section leading, and look forward to all the adventures still to come. We’re honored to be trusted to lead the section and are excited for a great 2019. Right now, the regular hockey season is coming to a close and playoffs are starting for most sports. Attendance is great for every event and a little balance breaking at some times. We’re trying to squeeze in as much time as we can with the seniors before they leave us in May. We had a great start to the year and have more fun events planned for the semester like a Spring egg hunt or a potential mac n cheese and crafts night. We’ve also been bridging the gap with other sections and hosting a couple of movie nights. In short, we’re making the most of the present and anxiously awaiting the future.


Horn BandNotesThe Horns are still as wholesome and Waluigi-obsessed as ever, and looking forward to a wahhh-nderful spring semester! This year’s Section Leaders are Emma Jacob ’20 (once more around the block) and Carrie Rucker ’21. Representation in Bandstaph is still strong, with Kassandra Patrick ’21 and Thea Shames ’21 serving as Equipment Chairs, and Kelly Grice ’20 as ShowComm Chair. In Pep Band, Emma is a Spring 2019 Conductor, and Carrie is Historian. It will be hard to say goodbye to our seniors Maria Komorowski, Lauren McBrearty, and Brandon Smith this spring, but we wish them the best of luck in the future. (Come back to visit!!) So far this semester we have had baking with the guard and flutes, pizza-making, and Horn-y Valentines, and we’re looking forward to plenty more wholesome horn events to get us through until marching band starts up again in the fall!


The Guard is enjoying their Guardcalming off-season, taking the opportunity to relax and focus on schoolwork. In a “something old, something new” leadership team, Emma Downey ‘21 returned as co-captain, and Emily “Eggily” Grigg ‘21 took on a new role as captain. We recently welcomed two new Guard Jesters, Shan Parikh ‘21 and Jessica “Wiki” Nardulli ‘21, in a fun afternoon of mac-and-cheese and memes. With events like Spring Concert on the horizon, we’re looking forward to refreshing our concerting skills at a small amount of guard rehearsals before showing the world what we’ve got. We would also like to give a shoutout to our three guard members who are partaking in Indoor Drumline this year: Toni Sassano ‘19, Angie Menjivar ‘22, and Shuya Zhao ‘22.


The Tubae are still doing fantastic in the spring of 2019. None of our freshmen left, and now they are both pep band librarians!



Percussion declines to provide any more information. We are, to quote the BRBAA website, “Too Cool for Band Notes”.

Big Red Bands Giving Day

Alumni Relations

Hey Big Red Bands Alumni!

Looking for an opportunity to reminisce about your days far above Cayuga’s waters? Cornell’s annual Giving Day is coming up on Thursday, March 14! As always, we’ll be posting some fun memories and photos on all of our social media pages. Check them out, and add your own! We love hearing about your favorite memories from your days on the hill. Use the hashtags #RememberTheBand and #CornellGivingDay to give us a better chance of winning bonus funds. This year, we are also celebrating 50 years of women in the Big Red Marching Band! We’ll be using the hashtag #50YearsOfWomenInBRMB in posts about all of the amazing contributions that women have had to the organization. Past Giving Days have been incredibly successful for the Bands thanks to your generous support. If you’ll be making a donation to Cornell on the 14th, please consider allocating some of your donation to the Big Red Bands by visiting our fundraising page.

In addition, we’ll be celebrating Giving Day with a concert, live-streamed from the Fischell Band Center! Tune in at 7:00pm ET on March 14 to hear your favorite Marching and Pep Band songs. Follow this link for the live stream!

Thank you for your continued support of the Big Red Bands! This #CornellGivingDay , #RememberTheBand !

2018 Fall Band Notes: A Welcome from the Alumni Relations Chairs

Alumni Relations

And now, presenting your only REAL Fall 2018 BandNotes in the Ivy League!

We have had a great season filled with more new members than ever and enjoying the adventures, friendships, and memories band creates along the way. It’s a bittersweet time for our seniors as they wrap up their last Marching Band season, but we look forward to more Pep Band this Spring!

We have loved serving as your 2018 Alumni Relations Chairs! This Spring, Maria be enjoying her last semester at Cornell by taking in all of the little things she loves about it here before graduating, and Natalie will go on to serve on further BandStaph positions. We are excited to see who will follow in our steps and take on next year’s responsibility of Alumni Relations Chairs!

All of the best,

Maria Komorowski ‘19
Natalie Parker ‘20

Maria (right) with fellow horn senior Lauren McBrearty (right)

Maria Komorowski (right) with fellow horn senior Lauren McBrearty (right)


Natalie Parker

For the Last Time: Notes from the Alumni Association Chair

Alumni Relations

I’m going to start off with the biggest news I have (for me, anyway): this is the last BandNotes article I’ll be writing as Chair of the Big Red Bands Alumni Association. On one hand, this is not a big deal. BRBAA, for all the passion of our alumni, is but one small instrument to help the students run The Only Real Marching Band in the Ivy League. On the other hand, I’ve been doing this for a heck of a long time, so please indulge me for a moment while I reflect a bit on where the Alumni Association is and where it is been. But before that, first a few words on where we are going: at the September 22, 2018 Homecoming annual meeting of the BRBAA, the 2019-2020 slate of officers was approved. Your new officers will be:

Chair: Brian Adelman ’09 (formerly Vice-Chair)
Vice-Chair: Tom Seery ’09 (formerly at-large member)
Treasurer: Adam Mangano Drenkard ’11 (staying on)
Resource Chair: Nick Janiga ’00 (staying on)
Secretary: Michelle Yanda ’15 (staying on)
Events Coordinator: Emily Isenstein ‘16 and Cameron Glass ’13 (staying on and former at-large member)

Additionally, Brian will appoint four at-large members to the Advisory Council, which includes alumni and student leaders as well as Cornell staff. You can reach out to Tommy or Brian if you are interested in serving in this capacity. Having worked with these loyal bandies – many as both student leaders and later alumni volunteers – I’m excited about the work they will do supporting and empowering the next generation of students as well as connecting with alumni who want to reminisce about their time on the hill.

As for where we are now, I’ll start with a focus on our finances. At our Homecoming meeting, we reviewed our FY18 finances and approved our FY19 budget. FY18 was a good year, with income of $181K exceeding our budgeted income of $170K. Our expenses were favorable to budget, coming in at $23K under the projected $170K for a $23K net profit. As always, that excludes an additional $21K reserved for uniforms, tubas, and percussion, resulting in a FY18 cash flow of $44K. The $23K profit was obvious great to see, but there was a nearly identical deficit the previous year, so it was needed. For FY19, we projected $174K of income and $164K of expenses for a net profit of $10K. This includes the typical $21K of reserve funds budgeted for uniforms, tubas, and percussion; however, the tubas and the percussion have lasted longer than we initially budgeted. One could adjust the reserve expense lower and have a larger profit projected, but we chose to budget conservatively as we did not yet estimate costs. A point worth noting is that income from the LTIP (“endowment”) is projected to rise from $58K to $63K despite a decrease in per-share payout from Cornell. This is largely due to increased funding of the endowment for Fischell Band Center operations. Trends in LTIP value, LTIP shares, LTIP payout/share, and Expenses/Gifts/LTIP payout are shown in the accompanying graphs.





While financial stewardship is a large part of what BRBAA does, it is not all of it. As the advising situation has evolved over the last two decades, the Alumni Association leadership has taken on varying amounts of advisory roles. We have been fortunate to work more closely with Athletics over the last few years through our work with Steve Caraher. Steve will be leaving Cornell to pursue other career opportunities. We are lucky to have had his development expertise, dedication to the students, and steady approach to the Bands during his tenure.
Megan Ramey will be replacing Steve as our Athletics advisor. Megan has a coaching background and has been working in Athletics operations for the past few years. She is eager to work with students again, and has already seen – and enjoyed! – the spirit, energy, and inclusivity that the Bands represent. This last point is key, as you may be aware of an increased scrutiny on hazing throughout the Cornell community. We spent a fair amount of time discussing this at both the Advisory Council and Annual meetings. I think we are all aware of some colorful traditions that the Bands have that may not be fully understood by outside observers. While I firmly believe that no Bandie should ever be forced to do something they are unwilling to do, the definition of hazing in today’s environment specifies that hazing may still occur even if participants are willing. We feel that there is a lot of ambiguity in the definition, especially as many traditions that are intrinsic to the personality of the band are outside of simply marching and playing music, thus making them subject to increased scrutiny. There have not been any major repercussions, but certainly this is a situation that warrants ongoing discussion. I’ve been particularly impressed with how Becca Rodell, Katherine Curtis, and Zach Brothers (the Head Manager, Drum Major, and Pep Band Manager) have navigated this new landscape while keeping things fun for the students.
That sums up the future and present of the BRBAA. I’d typically sign off with some trite band joke here, but in lieu of that, I’d like to run through a list of Band and BRBAA highlights over the last 16 years. There are too many people to thank to name them all, so I’ll just say thank you to all the students and alumni who have dedicated their energy to allowing the Big Red Bands to thrive over the past 16 years I’ve been involved in the Alumni Association. I’ve seen the return of the Quincy Market concert after alumni shared how great it was with students; the start of the Herald Square concert in NYC for those non-Sy Katz years. We’ve worked with multiple staff advisors and helped the band transition to a music graduate student advisor when Music Department support was no longer available.
Seeking to better our alumni relations, we’ve transitioned to electronic newsletters, collaborated more closely with Alumni Affairs and Development, and maintained a steady and useful website. We continue to work with the University and regional offices and have taken on an important planning role in the Sy Katz parade. We’ve focused annual BRBAA meetings to once-yearly, and changed the format to an informative presentation with focused discussions rather than just repeating the agenda from the Advisory Council meetings. We’ve moved these meetings to Saturday mornings to better integrate into game day festivities and bring the meeting to you.
On the financial front, we’ve consolidated formerly simplistic separate Marching and Pep Band budgets into a comprehensive financial document that allows for a better understanding of our overall fiscal health; this has allowed for better Pep Band playoff planning, a consolidation of endowments, the conversion of non-interest-bearing accounts to LTIP, and active reinvestment in the LTIP by the Advisory Council (leading to higher endowment value and annual payout). All of this helped withstand a massive economic impact with little effect on the operations of the Bands. We’ve completed multiple uniform, percussion, and tuba acquisition cycles. We’ve been leaders in Athletics and at the University level in engaging alumni on Giving Day, which has lead to an increase in annual gifts to the Bands to nearly $100K each year and culminated in the Big Red Bands Alumni Association winning the 2016 Cornell Alumni Association Cup. Most impressively, we’ve helped the Band through one of the most significant changes in the past few decades, the construction of and move into the Fischell Band Center. Its existence is possible because of the passion, dedication, and generosity of so many alumni.
I’ve been a part of the Big Red Marching Band, Big Red Pep Band, and Big Red Bands Alumni Association essentially continuously since 1995. I’m honored to have been a part of all of this, a bit saddened to leave it behind, and excited to come back (without responsibility!) and see what the future holds for the Bands. As always, GO RED, DAMMIT!

Lowell Frank ’99, ’03

Fall 2018 Financial Updates from the Alumni Association

Alumni Relations

The Big Red Bands operate on an annual budget of approximately $165,000. Aside from a small, past subsidy related to the Band Center, the University does not provide any annual support to the Band. In general, all band expenses, including travel costs, music advisor compensation, instruments, and Band Center costs are supported by annual alumni giving and payout from the Band’s endowment funds. Each fiscal year, the BRBAA Advisory Council establishes a budget for the Bands’ operations based on student and alumni input. This budget is presented to Band Alumni at the annual Homecoming BRBAA meeting. The following summary provides highlights of the fiscal year 2018 financial results and the fiscal year 2019 budget.

Fiscal Year 2018 Performance
Overall, the Band had FY18 income of $182,706 and expenses of $159,335. Income was 7% higher than budgeted and expenses were 6% lower than budgeted.


Fig 1: FY 2017 Income and Expense- Budgets vs Actuals.

Over the last 5 fiscal years (2014-2018), the bands’ income has grown an average of 11% per year. This is mainly due to the introduction of Cornell Giving Day in 2015; income growth has slowed down significantly since then. Over the same period, the bands’ expenses have grown by an average of 6% per year. This is due to Band Center-related costs as well as increased costs for bus travel.


Fig 2: Historical Annual Income and Expenses.

Income Statement
The Band Endowment payout continues to grow, due in large part to a growing utility endowment and past share purchases. The actual payout of $58,725 was 13% above the FY17 payout amount, even though the payout rate per share dropped by 6%. Total gifts of $99,024 were 13% higher than budget, but actual FY18 gifts were $4,200 less than FY16. Pep Band SAFC funding was within 3% of budget, while Marching Band SAFC funding matched the budget. Marching Band fees were almost 30% below budget for unknown reasons. Despite this, the Marching Band student leadership is confident that it will meet their budget this year due to the large freshmen class and fees already received.


Fig3: Band Income Sources. The Bands rely primarily on annual alumni giving for operational funding.

Expense Summary
The Bands’ expenses in FY18 were mainly at or below budget. Notable differences between actual and the budgeted expenses were:

  • Marching band uniform expenses (under budget by $3,300) – The dry cleaning expense prior to the 2018 Fall season was budgeted for FY18 but occurred in FY19. The FY19 uniform budget will therefore by higher due to the possibility of having two dry cleaning charges in the same fiscal year.
  • Marching band equipment expenses (under budget by $6,100) – We encouraged the student leadership to use this budget to ensure that the bands’ instruments stay in a state of good repair.
  • Marching band miscellaneous expenses (under budget by $3,200)

Net Financial Standing
The Band’s current endowment value stood at over $1.4 million as of July 1, 2018. Endowment shares payout based on the University Board of Trustees payout policy which considers a rolling performance average. The FY19 payout is $2.48 per share, down from $2.58 per share in FY17. Cash as of July 1 stood at $105,000 and an additional $84,000 in booked equipment reserve is held in the endowment, representing 5.8% of the total endowment value.

Fig 4: Endowment Value and Total Number of Shares. Endowment Value is a function of the number of shares and share value. The Band is the beneficiary of the Fischell Endowment Fund, created to offset annual operational costs of the Band Center.

Fig 4: Endowment Value and Total Number of Shares. Endowment Value is a function of the number of shares and share value. The Band is the beneficiary of the Fischell Endowment Fund, created to offset annual operational costs of the Band Center.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget
The BRBAA Advisory Council submitted a budget for FY19 based on $177,000 of income and $166,000 of expenses. The FY19 budget includes travel costs for three Marching Band trips and four Pep Band trips, $14,000 in Pep Band playoff expenses, and $21,000 of Band Center overhead charges. Annual band giving has been budgeted about 11% below FY17 to maintain a conservative estimate of income available to the Bands. Alumni with financial questions are encouraged to get in touch with Adam and Nick, the BRBAA Treasurer and Resource Chair, respectively.

Let’s go Red,
BRBAA Treasurer: Adam Mangano Drenkard ’11 (
BRBAA Resource Chair: Nick Janiga ’00 (