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Financial Updates from the Alumni Association

Alumni Relations


The Big Red Bands operate on an annual budget of approximately $170,000. 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 2017 financial results and the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Fiscal Year 2017 Performance

Overall, the Band had FY17 income of $164,469 and expenses of $187,060. While income was 12% higher than budgeted, expenses were 35% higher than budgeted.

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Fig 1: FY 2017 Income and Expense budgets vs actuals. Performance significantly off from planned budget.

The Bands’ annual expenses have continued to rise as a result of the opening of the Band Center as well as increased operational needs. While annual giving increased in 2015 with the introduction of Cornell Giving day, annual income has not kept pace with expense increases in the past several years.

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Fig 2: Historical annual income and expenses. Expense increases outpace annual income trends.

Income Statement

The Band Endowment payout continues to grow, due in large part to a growing utility endowment and past share purchases, with the actual payout of $51,869 tracking 17% above budget, and 19% above FY16 payout amounts. Total gifts of $93,162 were 7% higher than budget, but actual FY17 gifts were $10,000 less than FY16. We are conducting additional analysis to better understand factors contributing to year over year gift fluctuations. Pep Band SAFC funding was $3,325 less than budgeted due to the PB missing a submission deadline. The bands benefited from a final University maintenance support subsidy of $6,000 toward utility charges. As of FY18, the Band is fully responsible for all building related charges. We anticipate the fully funded commitment to the Band Center utility endowment in FY 2020 will generate between $50,000 and $55,000 per year, covering most of the increased building utility expenses and maintenance charges.

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

Expense Summary

The Bands saw increases in every expense category from budget expectations. Marching Band travel was 120% of budget, equipment expenses were 125% of budget, uniform expenses were 232% of budget. Insurance and building overhead were being incorrectly budgeted in the past. This has been corrected going forward. Equipment was over budget mostly due to planned raincoat purchases and percussion equipment expenses. Pep Band travel was 25% over budget due to an unbudgeted Yale/Brown hockey trip.

Bus expense is a specific area of concern for the band. Harvard bus costs in FY17 nearly doubled the cost from two years ago and Columbia buses increased 30%. Bus expenses increased 40% for FY18 compared to the bus costs for the same travel in FY16. The Band is working with the new Cornell Athletics travel coordinator in an attempt to address this concerning trend for future travel.


The Band budgets a $21,000 yearly reserve expense to spread out the costs of uniforms, sousaphones and percussion purchases. Uniforms are on a 12 year purchase cycle, sousaphones 3 years and percussion 5 years. Due to the FY17 operational deficit, the Band was unable to put any new funds into the reserve.   However, the BRBAA Advisory Council hopes to make this deficit up by postponing scheduled purchases in future years due to the positive state of these assets.

Net Financial Standing

The Band’s current endowment value stood at just over $1 million as of July 1, 2017. Endowment shares payout based on the University Board of Trustees payout policy which considers a rolling performance average. The FY18 payout is $2.58 per share, down from $2.75 per share in FY17. Last year we moved approximately $21,000 from reserve accounts into the endowment to take advantage of market performance. Reserve accounts earn no interest. Cash as of July 1 stood at $61,000 and an additional $72,000 in booked equipment reserve is held in the endowment, representing approximately 6.5% of the total endowment value.

The Band received an unexpected $100k endowment gift from a donor this Fall. This new endowment fund is expected to provide approximately $5,000 in annual income for the band budgets in future fiscal years.

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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 2018 Budget

After a careful review of expenses and band needs, the BRBAA Advisory Council submitted a break even budget for FY18 based on $170,000 of income and expenses. The FY18 budget includes expenditures for four security cameras in the Band Center, travel costs for three Marching Band trips and 4 Pep Band trips, $15,000 in Pep Band playoff expenses, and $29,000 of Band Center overhead charges. Annual band giving has been budgeted even with FY17 and is expected to be the most critical component leading to the success or failure of breaking even at the end of the year. Student and Alumni leaders are committed to continued diligence in carefully managing organizational expenses to avoid a repeat deficit like FY17.  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 (

Marching out of 2017: Updates from the Head Manager

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni!Kathleen

What a year it has been– for both the band and myself! It has been an honor leading the Cornell University Big Red Marching Band with Jeff. As the year comes to a close, I can reflect upon my experiences with a true sense of gratefulness. It may have been exhausting at times, but the position has allowed me to grow so much as both a leader and a friend. My love for the Band has only increased, and I am so happy that I have another year and a half to be a part of this incredible organization.

The start of the season was a whirlwind of activity, with recruitment yielding a wonderful freshman class, several of whom are now members of our 2018 Bandstaph. Soon after First Night and Band Camp, we got fitted for uniforms in what seems like record time– in less than a week!– and we were able to perform at the Inauguration of Cornell University’s 14th President Martha Pollack. It was an honor to be a part of such a momentous occasion in Cornell’s history, and it was a fantastic event to start the season out with. Soon after, we participated in a new joint event with the Pep Band at CU Downtown, where we performed in the Commons to Ithacans and Cornellians alike.

Our first football game of the season was an away game at Yale. This was followed by a stretch of four home games, which included the exciting Homecoming game versus Brown in late October. Our biennial performance at Herald Square in New York City was an excellent first part of the Princeton away trip, and the Band celebrated with the football team at the exciting conclusion of the Princeton game. After a week’s break, we finished the season off with our last home game against Columbia and our last away trip to Penn(SUCKS).

I am extremely proud of the Band and how much we have grown this year– as musical performers and as an organization. It has been challenging for all of us, but I believe that we are in a good place and I am very excited for the start of the new year. One of the greatest honors of my life has really been having the opportunity to serve the Marching Band and being able to create the same experiences for the Band that I have enjoyed so much during my time at Cornell. Following the first of January, I will be returning to the field to march and play the flute for my last year with the only REAL marching band in the Ivy League, and I could not be more excited to see what great things are in store for next year.

Kathleen Won ‘19


A Fond Farewell from Drum Major Jeff Crosby

Alumni Relations


This year has certainly been one to remember. The Big Red Marching Band has had a lot of surprises this season – some we planned, and some not so planned. But above all, we were excellent and I am more than proud to say that I served alongside Kathleen during the 2017 season. My time in the Big Red Bands is coming to a close, and my time as Drum Major is almost entirely behind me. Studying Psychology has been the basis for my Cornell education, but it has been the Big Red Bands that I believe has prepared me the most for my future endeavors. I am very grateful for the experiences that this band has given me, and I hope my contributions served the band well.

The Marching Band has had a tremendous year! We have raised the bar in our shows by stressing the importance of fundamentals and working hard to project our sound. We kicked off our season at Yale and at home against Colgate with “THE MODERN BRITISH INVASION SHOW” starting with Bastille’s Pompeii. Our halftime show included a medley featuring Adele’s Someone Like You & Rumor Has It, which featured both our tones and alto saxes, and then finished that show Amy Winehouse’s version of Valerie brought to us as a student arrangement by our very own Katherine Curtis. `We then continued our season at two home games against Harvard and Bucknell with “THE DANCE SHOW” which featured the band in many different ways. We kicked off the performance with Michael Jackson’s Thriller where we had all instruments and guard members perform a short version of the dance while percussion and the tubas played. We continued this show of features with Men Without Hats’ Safety Dance, went into our percussion feature written by our fabulous percussion section during which the trombone section displayed awesome trombone suicides, and then we finished the performance with Disco Inferno.

The second half of our season was even more challenging, but also more rewarding when we moved into “THE UNDEAD SHOW” as our Homecoming performance during the Brown game as well as on the road to Princeton. For this show, we kicked off with Radiohead’s Creep, featuring our beautiful dynamic contrasts and music intensity. We then finished with Phantom of the Opera and of course JCS, our alumni song! During the Princeton trip, we also had the privilege of stopping in New York City to perform in Herald Square! We then wrapped up the season strong with our “ELTON JOHN SHOW” for our final home game against Columbia and for our last trip at Penn(SUCKS)! This show featured Funeral for a Friend, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, and “Your Song” with Luke Ellert-Beck ’20 performing a beautiful solo during the senior song.

This season was certainly full of amazing opportunities, but it also presented us with many challenges. We have really pushed through and truly have demonstrated a new potential. The band is an ever-changing group of people that always find a way to come together and stay strong during the toughest of times. I am honored to have been part of this amazing organization during my college career and I am even more ecstatic that I can call this place my home at Cornell forever. Thank you for the amazing life-long friendships and experiences! And thank you, band!

-Jeff Crosby ‘18



Putting Pep in Our Step: Reflections from the Pep Band Manager

Alumni Relations

Hi AlumSusan - PBMni!

We’ve had quite a semester of pep band merriment.  From recruitment to IC Football, we’ve done just about every kind of event a pep band can play at.  This year’s Harvard Men’s Hockey game may have been one of the best hockey games I have ever attended!  You really can’t beat a winning goal in the last 3 seconds of the game against our crimson menace.  It’s moments like this that show just why Cornell hockey truly is the best.

Now that the basketball season has also started, the pep band is sure to be a lot busier.  This year, we might even be lucky enough to make it to the Ivy League Tournament.  For now, we’ll keep cheering on our teams in Newman.

This semester, we travelled to the other hill far above Cayuga’s waters to play at an Ithaca College football game.  We cheered on the team as they defeated Union College in a 20-3 victory.  Our wonderful conductors, Ryan Ronzoni ‘19 and Kevin Linsey ‘18, even arranged the IC Alma Mater for everyone to play during halftime of the game.  Maybe we’ll return sometime soon to cheer on the Blue Bombers!

Our last event of this semester was a Women’s Hockey game in Lynah.  Big Red beat Colgate 2-1 in an exciting matchup!  During Red-White this semester, one of the women’s hockey players had to be taken to the hospital for a head injury, but luckily, there were no serious, long-lasting impacts.  It was great to see her back on the ice for this game and to wrap up our semester of pep band.

You’ll be seeing even more of the pep band in the spring.  We will be going to Colgate (1/20), Harvard and Dartmouth (1/26 and 1/27), Clarkson and St. Lawrence (2/9 and 2/10), and RPI and Union (2/23 and 2/24).  Hopefully, we will have a few more playoff trips to add to this list as well!

As my term as pep band manager comes to an end, I want to say thank you to the band and all of you!  I’ve loved having the opportunity to manage the pep and grow as a leader in this organization.  Pep Band Manager has taught me many lessons and has given me so many memories that have made me cherish my time in the band that much more.  I hope whoever follows after me will be able to have just as many exciting and memorable moments!

-Susan Eichhorn ‘18


From Lynah to IC and MSG: Conductors Review Fall 2017 in the Big Red Pep Band

Alumni Relations

Hey Kevin - PB conductorAlumni!

My name is Kevin Linsey and I am one of the Fall 2017 Pep Band Conductors. I am a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and I have really enjoyed conducting the pep band this semester. Initially, I was a pep band-only member of the Big Red Bands my freshman year, playing the alto saxophone, before joining the BRMB my sophomore year, so it was the pep band that first helped me appreciate the fantastic music and Cornell spirit that we generate here in the Big Red Bands. As such, I wanted to serve in a major pep band leadership position to give back to the band that has given me so much.

This fall, Ryan and I took advantage of a somewhat light events schedule early on in the semester by holding a Student Arrangers’ Day, in which we encouraged student members to arrange possible new songs and cheers for the band. Throughout the summer and early part of the fall semester, we worked with students and gave them feedback on their arrangements, culminating in a two-hour rehearsal where we sight-read ten new pieces. We added several of the best pieces to the folder and have played them at events to a great reception from the crowd. This event was a massive success and I have to thank past conductors Vincent Sheppard ’17 and Emily Miller ’16 for pioneering the idea two years ago and helping us do it again this Fall!

We had several field hockey games early on in this semester and then we transitioned smoothly into men’s and women’s ice hockey season. We had the home game against Harvard, and conducting that thrilling game was the definitive highlight of my term as conductor so far. We also had the Madison Square Garden hockey game against Boston University, and my fellow conductor Ryan and I enjoyed the chance to lead the band at that amazing event! Basketball season just started up as well, and we’re excited to fill Newman Arena with our sound over the rest of the season. We also stopped by an Ithaca College football game on November 3rd , cheering on our fellow Ithacans to a 20-3 win over Union College. In between all this excitement, we recruited an awesome freshman class and look forward to welcoming marching band freshmen to pep band in the spring, when marching band winds down for the season. This semester has been the most fun I have had as a member of the Big Red Bands and I made memories that will last for a lifetime.

-Kevin Linsey ‘18


Hey Alumni!

Ryan - PB conductorMy name Ryan Ronzoni and I am one of the Fall 2017 Pep Band Conductors. I am a junior in CALS and majoring in Environmental Science and Sustainability. This semester has been really awesome for the pep band! We have had a lot of events, and hockey is doing amazing!  We started off 6-0 with an incredible last second win against Harvard to keep the undefeated streak alive. I must say that was probably the most exciting sports game I have ever been to. On top of that, this year we played BU for MSG and we won! Playing at MSG is always a great experience and beating BU made this year even better.

This year was also really great in terms of attendance for the pep band. Rehearsals were always full, and we had great turnouts for all of our events this semester. I think the allure of getting into hockey games, with our team being so good this semester, definitely helped attendance. But I also think we were able to do a pretty good job getting people excited for pep band! We had student arrangers day where we were able to add several new pieces to the folder (Thanks Emily Miller and Vincent Sheppard for the help!), and we tried to make rehearsals more interesting by having things like scatter rehearsals. Overall I was really impressed (and happy!) about the excitement we had in pep band this year!

I am really excited to see where the band goes in the future. We were able to get a lot of committed freshman and the future looks bright! I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity to conduct the Big Red Pep Band. Working with Kevin and Susan has been and pleasure and I am definitely going to miss it. Thank you to all the past and present members of the Pep Band, looking forward to the future!

-Ryan Ronzoni ’19


Section Shenanigans

Alumni Relations

Flutes Small copy

The Flutes have had a great fall semester! We’ve added several new members to our ranks, meaning that all three are safe and secure (#neverforgetrankA). Thank you to all of the alumni who have visited us at football games; the only thing sweeter that your baked goods is getting to see you all again! When not at band, we’ve tried to keep social through events like Taco Tuesday dinners, movie nights, and CTB trips. All the flute traditions have been kept alive; most recently, boxer decorating night meant that all the flutes will be finding glitter in their clothes for the next several weeks, which really should be our natural state. We can’t wait to see what next year brings for the flutes!



The Clarinets have had very busy fall semester. With the new freshman class we nearly doubled in size and we have also added a few new horn moves to the concert songs. Our second cook-off was a blast and we also found time for making pies and carving pumpkins. Even without any games left we’re still going strong with secret santa and our final section dinner coming up. As always we’re sad to say goodbye to our seniors and we thank them for all the time they’ve put in!



The Saxes have had an incredible fall semester, and can’t wait to finish the season strong. We welcomed a committed group of new members this August and have had the pleasure of “Thriller dancing” throughout the Northeast on our trips. Between teaching other saxes how to ice skate, gathering for minty cocoa during breaks at rehearsal, climbing trees at Princeton, or playing mafia and assassins, the saxes have had lots of fun! We want to thank our seniors for their dedication and love for the last four years, and are excited to see where life brings them!


Trumpets 2k17

The Trumpets have gained a great group of new members and have continued to add members throughout the fall. We’re teaching a lot of people how to play trumpet at pep band rehearsals! Despite the occasional mishap (Davy for Trumpets four times, whoops), the section has sounded amazing. Just listen back to Spot Ellert-Beck ‘20 in his solo in Elton John’s Your Song. We’ve brought back old trumpet cheers like Monday Night Football and introduced new ones like The Office Theme and Gondor from Lord of the Rings. The return of alumni outside of Homecoming, including Woj ‘07, has brought fun times and a revival of The Worm in Doctor Worm. Thanks to trumpets Chris Sanchez ‘20 for his dedicated work as ShowComm, even if the trumpet seniors complained about all the dancing, and Molly Bergin ‘19 for killin it as Field Manager. Off the field we’ve seen many section dinners and chill times at Haus, sometimes with an accordion or guitar. In some ways the section is constantly changing, but in other ways it stays the same. Lastly, thanks to trumpets young and old for making this year what it was for the trumpet seniors. It’s been a memorable fall.


Horns 2_3

The horn section almost doubled this semester! Although we gained 5 new members, 3 of our seniors marched their last show this year. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to the wonderful Snigdha, Sachi, and Kristen Rose. When we’re not in a section huddle or putting on temporary tattoos, many of the horns play in pep band and other musical ensembles. Although we’re still a houseless section, we’re as tight as can be.



The bones are loving life as always this semester! Our freshmen are beyond incredible and we’ve even recruited 6 to live in the house next year. We’re blessed as a section. We had loads of fun at bonecoming and we’re hoping to see all of your lovely and not so lovely faces again soon (come visit pls). Other than that we’ve kept up with dress-like-another-bone night, night of the unknown bone, Hawaii 5-0, and the other traditions in our repertoire of bad ingenious ideas. Additionally, we’ve had pumpkin carving, movie nights, and video game nights for section bonding, and they’ve gone without a hitch. We’ve added a few bone cheers we found in our archives back into the folders, and they’re sounding great.  Now we’re wrapping up this year and we’re looking forward to bone caroling, bone christmas and to continue not sucking. We’re still the dominant presence in the pep band and that’s not gonna stop anytime soon. We can’t wait for bonerush. Come and visit!!


Tubas Small Right

The Tubae have had a fabulous 2017 season! We’ve welcomed four newbas: Alex, Becky, Ely, and Juan! This season, we kind of did the Tuba 500. We also won the annual band paper drive: after collecting 1720 sheets of paper, we won our very own 3 gallon tub of bavarian raspberry fudge ice cream. Thank you to our seniors for a great season. And congratulations to Zachary Brothers, our 2018 fearless leader!



The guard has had a great semester! From bursting out of volcanoes to dying in the name of Homecoming, we have traveled all over the field this semester. Every show had something unique, like a solo by Toni Sassano ’19, Emma Downey ’21 cutting the band’s chandelier, and Becca Rodell ’19 leading the rifle line a record of three times! We also managed to elect a new captain, Tara van Nieuwstadt ’20​, and a new co-captain, Marlaina Gehret ’20. Also, congrats to newly elected Publicity co-chair Emily Grigg ’21, Social co-chairs Toni Sassano ’19 and Rachel Bradley ‘21, Guard co-Captain Marlaina Gehret ’20, Guard Captain Tara van Nieuwstadt ’20, and BRMB Head Manager Becca Rodell ’19! The Color Guard takeover of the band has begun This upcoming year is sure to be full of fun times and good memories.


As usual, percussion is too cool for BandNotes, but here’s a cute photo of them.


Cornell Alumni Pep Band takes Quinnipiac University by Storm

Alumni Relations

When NYC/Connecticut area band alumni heard that the student Pep Band wouldn’t be able to travel for the Quinnipiac University Men’s Hockey game due to local Ithaca area performance duties, alums sprang into action to offer support.  Adam Drenkard, Adara Alston, Ali Rodriguez Healy, Andrew Distler, Cameron Glass, Chris Parkin, Danny Parkin, Dave Kelly, Dave Samuels, Emily Isenstein, Evan Holmes, Kathryn Abbott, Kim Gillece, Kim Salsbury, Kyle Preston, Liz Orelup, Louis Widom, Michael Lee, Michael Rosencrantz, Nick Janiga, Peggy Salsbury, Rich Hovorka, Scott Southard and Will Milne were deputized by the Pep Band as official members for November 3rd.  The crew dusted off/dug out their Pep Band shirts, scrounged music and instruments and reported for duty at TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Connecticut.

Under the direction of alumni conductor Adam Drenkard, alumni manager Nick Janiga, and alumni assistant manager Kathryn Abbott, the Pep Band cheered the team to a 2-1 victory. A good time was had by all!

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Life Beyond Cayuga’s Waters: Fall 2017 Alumni Beat

Alumni Relations
Fischell 1_2

Jen Fischell tuba ’13 with bridesmaids Sarah Johnson tuba ’11 and Jess Kelley tuba ’12.

Jen Fischell tuba ’13 and Ed Cormany PhD ’13 were married on Saturday, October 7th, 2017. The happy couple first met in 2010 at Cornell. Many BRB alumni were among their family and friends in attendance celebrating with them!




Katie Shaw_Green - Copy__1512596258_128.84.127.167

Left to right: Kate Wawro trumpet ’16, Geb Bastian tuba ’16, Josh Reichler ’16, groom Jason Green, bride Katie Shaw ’16, Alex “Simba” Schord horn ’16, Emily Isenstein horn/flute ’16, Emily Miller tone/flute ’16, Carolyn Maskin sax ’16, Christian Dauphinais sax ’16, Jordan Silver tuba ’16, Steve Salerno horn ’16, Louis “Luigi” Widom trumpet ’16


On October 7th, Katie Shaw horn ’16 married her high school sweetheart Jason Green (a former member of UNH Bands) surrounded by friends, family, and CU bandies. This perfect day was topped off with a rousing sing-a-long to Davy as news of football’s victory over Harvard reached the wedding partiers!


Amanda 1_2

She said yes!





Dustin Tiedemann sax ‘13 and Amanda Quain flute ‘13 got engaged in January in Ithaca, and celebrated by watching Cornell lose to Harvard in hockey that night. They’ll be getting married in Ithaca July 2018.





Newly engaged!


Frances Lu flute ’12 and John Flanagan horn ’15 got engaged on October 30th, 2017. While currently preoccupied with work, painting, and cello lessons, they will start planning the wedding eventually. Both currently live in Boston, MA.





Marc Weissman

May 2017 CAM Magazine, with Baron von Ezra marked with a red star.

Marc Weissman bone ’88 recently celebrated 5 years as a Technical Librarian at the Derby, CT Public Library. Last December he was blessed with the arrival of his 1st great niece, Jordyn Miriam Falk. There’s also a celebrity in the family: his pup Baron von Ezra was featured in the May 2017 Cornell Alumni Magazine.


Katie C

Katie, right, at the tailgate concert in Philly, with friend Hallie Klein clarinet ’14, left.


Katie Callaghan flute ’14 is a fourth year med student at Stony Brook Medical School. She is currently interviewing for pediatrics residencies, and was happy to see the band at the Cornell-Penn game before her Philly interview!


Big sister Emily.




This year Caitlin (Kehoe) Hart flute/trumpet ’07 ’08 gave birth to her second baby girl, Julia Elizabeth. Julia joins big sister Emily, who is pictured at left practicing for BRMB auditions.


Homecoming 2017 Information

Alumni Relations

Please RSVP using the form at the bottom of this page or by following this link

Friday October 20, 2017

  • 6:40 PM: Performance at Fireworks and Laser Lights Show, Schoellkopf Field: This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:00. More info here!

Saturday October 21, 2017


  • 10:00 AM: Annual Big Red Bands Alumni Association meeting in the Fischell Band Center: Come and get an update on what’s going on in with the Marching and Pep Bands, have some CTB, and offer your ideas.  We hope this new time (and location) will make it easier for alumni coming in on Friday evening.  
  • 11:00 AM: Rehearsal on Alumni Field: Come join us as we rehearse this year’s Homecoming song, JCS. Music can be picked up prior to rehearsal at the Fischell Band Center. We can’t guarantee instruments for everybody – availability is limited – but we’ll share what we have. Contact our section leaders with any questions about instruments.
  • 11:30 AM: Alumni TailgateFood! Fun! Enough said. If you want to parade with the band, we’ll be stepping off to parade the team at 12:30 and stepping off to concert on Ho Plaza at 1:00. 
  • 1:45 PM: Marching Band concert on Kite Hill: Rock out to your favorite tunes. 
  • 3:00 PM: Football game kickoff: Purchase your tickets at or call 607-255-4247. As always, alumni are welcome to storm the field at halftime to perform the Homecoming song with us! After the game ends we’ll return to the Fischell Band Center for a post-game concert. 
  • 5:45 PM: Red-White Hockey report time, Fischell Band Center: Red-White Hockey is one of the most popular traditions in the Big Red Pep Band. Each year, the men’s and women’s hockey teams take to the ice in a scrimmage game by splitting up into two teams- red and white.  To keep this competitive spirit alive in the band, we split up into the red and white bands!  We heckle each other, we play off against each other, and we try to prove that our band is the superior band. Alumni are traditionally part of the white band. Red-White Hockey will likely overlap with the Marching Band’s post-game concert – feel free to leave the concert early to go to Lynah, or to stay through the concert and be a little late to Lynah. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM in Lynah Rink. 

Please reach out with any questions! We can’t wait to see you back on the hill.

Your Alumni Relations Chairs,

Kristen Rose Baxter ’17.5,

Julia Klopfer ’20,


9/23/2017 Alumni Tailgate at Yale

Alumni Relations

Hey alumni!

The Marching Band is gearing up for their first game of the season this coming Saturday September 23rd at Yale! We’ll be hosting an Alumni Tailgate before the game from 11 AM-1PM, and we’d love to see you. We’ll be in Lot A – see the attached map for details. Please RSVP by following this link and direct any questions to Emily Isenstein ’16 at

yale map

Big Red Bands Reunion 2017

Alumni Relations

Our current Reunion schedule is as follows: 

Friday June 9th

  • 6:15pm – Performance at class of ’92 walk to dinner (Marching Band)
  • 7:00pm – Performance at class of ’87 walk to dinner (Marching Band)

Saturday June 10th 

  • 11:30-1:00pm – Reunion Luncheon (both bands)
  • 3:00pm – Performance at Fun in the Sun (Marching Band)
  • 7:00pm – Performance at class of ’97 dinner (Pep Band)

Want to come to the luncheon or play with us at any of our performances? Great, use the form below to let us know! We’ll get in touch again closer to Reunion with more details.

Notes from the Alumni Association

Alumni Relations

The Big Red Bands Advisory Council had its first meeting of the 2017-2018 term on February 25, 2017.  In attendance were the new advisory council membership and the 2017 student leadership.  As is typical, the meeting focused on financial stewardship of the Bands, with additional focus on advice and guidance for the Band leaders.  We reviewed this past fall’s Sy Katz parade – the first where the Alumni Association had an outsized role in its planning and organization – and developed a list of what should be maintained and what can be improved upon in November 2018.  Fortunately, there was broad consensus that it went fantastically, despite Drum Major Serge Preciado nearly having a heart attack when we had to add a few unscheduled blocks to the parade to beat the traffic!

Over the past few years, you’ve heard lots of positive news about gifts to the Band – YOUR gifts to the Bands.  From previous fundraising totals in the $55-65K range, we now target approximately $100K as our annual goal.  It would be easy to credit the addition of Giving Day (#remembertheband) for this change, but it’s thanks to the people to make those gifts: It takes dedicated alumni to give a second gift after the phonathon, to give if they haven’t done so in a while, or to increase their annual contribution if they are able.  This generosity has allowed the band to continue to thrive despite seemingly never-ending new financial challenges.  Over the past few years, the University has shifted to a new budget model that includes pushing out facility charges to individual units instead of covering these charges centrally.  Of course, this expense is compounded by costs associated with having a beautiful new building, such as the Band’s insurance (384% increase due to the new building), security expenses ($1100 annually for security cameras), utilities (projected to be $25k per year, but this year an additional $8k due solely to a leaky toilet that was not identified for several months).  Additionally, travel costs continue to increase.  Fall 2016 travel was 27% more expensive than Fall 2015, a very material rise that is expected to continue due to limited bus availability on busy Cornell sports weekends. Further, there are always new annual expenses that we feel are worthwhile (or necessary) investments to optimize student well being.  Most notably, you may be aware that despite the rising stock market, Cornell had a particularly poor performance of its endowment: You can read about this here and here.  Having weathered the recession reasonably well, we were looking forward to reaping the rewards of a larger return (the payout is based on a three-year rolling average of the endowment performance).  While our budgeting models will allow the Bands to operate, we were looking forward to the excesses that, alas, will not exist.

As mentioned in our last writing, David and Sarah Fischell have set up a utilities and operation endowment that will be fully funded in three more years.  We are especially thankful for this after their already demonstrating their transformative leadership with the Fischell Band Center (to say nothing of their insightful contributions to its design and recent enhancements).

Details of the 2016 fiscal year finances can be found here. At the end of the 2017 fiscal year we will be providing an update on the BRBAA webpage.  Our total expenses for the year appear to be an 18% increase from FY 2016.  We hope that our loyal alumni will continue to show the support through end-of-the-fiscal-year contributions that have allowed us to not only meet past expense increases but also generate a small boost to the band’s reserves.  On behalf of all the students, the Alumni Association leadership wants to thank each and every one of our supportive donors for helping to make the marching and pep bands the best bands in the Ivy League!

On a more somber note, you may have heard that Cayuga’s Waiters have been permanently dismissed from campus due to hazing activities.  While there have been no “incidents” of late from the student side, we think this is an important development.  Certainly current students don’t engage in anything close to what was described in the Daily Sun, but we all know that some Band traditions do not appear benign to observers, and at times, to students in the Bands.  Recent student leadership has done a commendable job in drafting and enforcing a code of conduct, and this news really drives home the point that there are no sacred cows.

One new initiative that was raised at the last Annual Meeting was the addition of networking and mentorship opportunities between BRB alumni and students (or older alumni and younger alumni).  For example, former Head Manager Emily Isenstein ’16 joined Alumni Association Chair Lowell Frank ‘99 MD ‘03 to observe his pediatric cardiology practice in Washington, DC.  Not all networking and mentorship needs to be in person; if you have expertise in a certain field and would be willing to speak with interested students over email or on the phone, that would be great too.  Certainly other career mentorship exists throughout Cornell, but there is something about the shared experience of being in the Band that may make these particularly useful.  Please contact Emily Isenstein ‘16 at if you are interested in talking to young alumni or current Band members!

Typically, we have our annual Alumni Association meeting on the Friday of Homecoming immediately following the Advisory Council meeting.  However, to allow as many people as possible to attend, we are considering moving it to Saturday morning after rehearsal – breakfast provided!  We know that many of you are either on your way to Ithaca on Friday afternoon or are making plans with friends.  We’d love to have as many attendees as possible to give you all an update and to get feedback on how you’d like the Alumni Association to work; please let me know if you think this is worth a try.  Either way, mark off October 20-22 on your calendars!

Until then, please feel free to contact the Alumni Association or the student leadership with questions or concerns.  And as always, thanks for your generous support that allows a new generation of Cornellians to have an amazing Big Red Band experience!


Chair: Lowell Frank ’99, M.D. ’03

Vice Chair: Brian Adelman ’09

Treasurer: Adam Mangano Drenkard ’11

Resource Chair: Nick Janiga ’00