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BRBAA Updates – Spring 2022

Alumni Relations

The BRBAA Advisory Council held its spring meeting on February 19, 2022.
Minutes from the meeting can be seen here.

Some highlights, takeaways, and dates to note include:

  • There will be a BRBAA General Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 12 at 1:00 PM EST. Action items include confirming Kayla Altland ’10 as our new Communications Chair and ratifying a new Elections Procedures Document.
    • You can read Kayla Altland’s candidate statement here.
    • There are currently four proposed Elections Procedures Documents available for review - versions 2, 3, 4, and 5. If no new document is ratified, we will continue to operate under the provisions of our existing EPD.
    • The only differences between the proposals relate to (1) how voting is conducted (be it exclusively in the form of e-voting – or a hybrid of e-voting and in-person voting), and (2) whether voters will confirm a slate of officers or vote on individual positions.
    • Versions 2 & 3 allow for e-voting only; versions 4 & 5 allow for hybrid e-voting and in-person voting.
    • Versions 3 & 4 ask voters to confirm a slate of officers; versions 2 & 5 ask voters to vote on individual positions.
  • Giving Day is on Wednesday, March 16 and will include a livestreamed concert c/o the undergraduate bandies. (Plans are also in the works for a post-Giving Day Trivia Night. Stay tuned!)
  • Reunion will be held in Ithaca this summer from June 9 – 12. The band alumni reception / luncheon will be held on Saturday the 11th.
  • Homecoming will be in Ithaca on September 24.
  • The 50th Anniversary Sy Katz Parade in New York City will happen immediately after the Columbia game on November 19.

Notes from the Ladder: Your 2021 Drum Major

Alumni Relations

IMG_7159Hey Alumni!

My name is Oliver Matte, and I had the fortune of being your Big Red Marching Band 2021 Drum Major! I am a junior in the College of Engineering, and I study Computer Science. Conducting has been such a joy, I have loved being able to lead the band through such unique times.

The spring semester was quite a fun one! Though we had a slow start while we were still navigating how to handle the university’s COVID policies, we were able to get back to rehearsing towards the end of the semester. We were also able to host some of the more important activities for the Class of 2021 that were not able to happen last fall, these being Senior Concert and Non-Sectarian.

As we went into the summer, we were unsure what band would look like in the fall, but our optimism never faltered! We started to plan our trips for Yale, Harvard, and Penn during the upcoming semester, and we were in close contact with administration to ensure that these would be able to happen. Towards the end of the summer, the band was given the okay to travel to every location, provided we follow safety protocol. We took this opportunity and made some further adjustments to ensure that we could bring as many people as we could on these trips.

In coming back to campus, we had to make sure that our transition to in-person activities would once again be safe and fun for everyone involved. We made sure that we had proper protective equipment for everyone, and were able to host First Night outside! This meant that we could welcome all of the new members in the same way we usually do, which was fantastic. For the first few weeks, rehearsals and events were held outside to ensure proper COVID protocol and safety for all of our members.

A week before homecoming, however, COVID cases started to spike around campus. Luckily the band was largely unaffected, but for safety reasons we had to change much of our traditional homecoming activities. The administration wanted to make sure that we were safe, which unfortunately meant that our homecoming was not able to be held in the same way it usually is. Even though this news was disappointing to many, I am proud of the way we pushed forward and continued to adapt to make sure that we could continue doing what we loved.

After Homecoming we were planning to go on our bi-yearly trip to Yale. Unfortunately, under their protocol, they did not want any outside bands coming to visit, so we were unable to visit them. Instead, we decided to have the first ever band “field day” which ended up being a super fun time for everyone involved! Along with this, COVID cases started to reduce around campus, meaning that we could loosen some of the restrictions for our members.

The next big thing planned was our trip to Harvard. Everyone was extremely excited for our first trip of the year. The night before the trip however, we were informed of a scheduling error by the transportation company, meaning that we did not have buses for the trip. We tried to find any possible alternative, but unfortunately there were no achievable alternatives.

After this we had a series of home games. Though the football team did not win very often, the band was able to have a fun time and put some incredible shows on the field! As the year progressed, we still tried to keep our rehearsals outside as much as possible to aid with COVID safety. With the year getting colder, we did have to start doing more activities and rehearsals inside, so we restocked on protective equipment to be able to do these activities safely.

The next big thing that we had planned was the trip to Penn, and we made certain this trip would happen! Between talking with the bus company (multiple times) and talking with Penn to make sure we were allowed onto their campus, we knew this trip would happen, and that it would be a fantastic experience. And it was! The band was able to perform the first away show of the year. Although some scheduling mishaps on Penn’s side prevented us from performing our pregame show, we were still able to do halftime, and the show turned out incredibly well

As soon as that first trip was cancelled, we started getting into talks with athletics, bussing, and hotel companies to see if we could plan a trip to Dartmouth, a trip that has not been done for many years. Through weeks of effort, we were able to plan the trip, and the band had a fantastic time! This was our last away game of the season, and we were able to perform our whole show! Along with this, we were invited to play with the Dartmouth band in the 4th quarter, and both bands had an awesome time! This was definitely a highlight of the season for many of our members.

Finally, our year wound down with our last game, which led into our Senior Concert. Additionally, we were able to hold Non-Sectarian for all of our seniors (this happened to be very fortunate timing as the university shut down all campus activities due to a spike in cases the day after this event!)  It was so great that we were able to give the Class of 2022 the events they deserve this year.

This year has been unlike any other in BRMB history. It has had so many ups and downs, especially dealing with the pandemic, but when I look back on our season, one thing stands out to me. The band spirit is still alive, and it is stronger than ever. It shows how amazing this band is, and proves to me that we can overcome anything if we put our minds to it. Thank you for letting me be your Drum Major, and it has been an honor.

Oli “Carry the spirit with pride.” ver Ma “How lucky we are to have such a strong thing binding us together.” tte


Notes from the Office: Your 2021 Head Manager

Alumni Relations

IMG_0453Hey Alumni!

My name is Carey Lau, and I served as the 2021 Head Manager of the Big Red Marching Band! I’m a senior majoring in Biology & Society and minoring in Global Health in the School of Arts & Sciences. I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity to lead the band during this unique year!

Looking back on the spring semester, it’s amazing to see how far the band has come. Oliver & I planned a whole slew of virtual events, including Second Night, HM/DM Office Hours, game nights (Tetris is a band favorite!), and a series of music workshops, including sessions on how to read music and how to conduct for our new members. Later in the semester, we worked with our advisor Megan Ramey to create Covid policies for the band. Beginning in April, we were approved for outdoor, socially distanced rehearsals, capped at 30 students. We wore personal protective equipment, including specialized face masks designed for use with instruments, as well as bell covers or instrument bags. Later in the semester, we were approved for 60 students at rehearsals. We were even able to host a Senior Concert and Non-Sec for our Class of 2021 seniors, a few events they had missed out on during Fall 2020.

Over the summer, Oliver & I began to plan for the fall semester, although we were uncertain about whether or not the band would be allowed to hold in-person events and what restrictions we would have to follow. Ultimately, we were approved to have outdoor rehearsals with masks, bell covers, and bags. Later in the semester, as cases around campus decreased, we were approved to have outdoor rehearsals without masks, and indoor rehearsal with masks, covers, and bags. It was great to finally meet some of our new members in person!

Our first game of the year was a home game vs. VMI, and our Homecoming game! Although some Homecoming and alumni events on campus were cancelled at the last minute due to Covid cases, we were grateful for the opportunity to perform for the first time in nearly two years. We also marched in our new uniforms for the very first time! The new uniform process began in 2019 and was later put on hold because of the pandemic, so it was exciting for the band to finally wear them.

However, Homecoming wasn’t the only event impacted by the pandemic. We did not end up going to Yale, as they did not allow visitors. Our trip to Harvard was cancelled the day before, as the bus company was experiencing a shortage of bus drivers. Additionally, the Harvard hockey portion of the trip to Penn was cancelled, as Harvard’s visitor policy changed at the last minute. However, the band spirit persevered, and we were able to plan some other fun events! Oliver & I planned a Field Day in place of the Harvard trip, and we even planned the band’s first trip to Dartmouth in many years. On the way to Dartmouth, we stopped in Boston for the night and performed at Faneuil Hall, which ended up being one of the most memorable performances all year. The game at Dartmouth was a blast as well, and we were given a warm welcome by the Dartmouth band. This trip was definitely one of the highlights of the season, and we were happy to make so many new friends in the Dartmouth band!

We also continued to promote inclusion and diversity throughout 2021. At the beginning of the year, Bandstaph attended a diversity training for student leaders, as well as completed a training on how students can help others through mental health crises. We also hosted an instrument tutoring program at the beginning of the fall semester, which made learning a first (or second!) instrument more accessible for students in the band. We also provided free menstrual products in both bathrooms in the Fischell Band Center. We also provided gluten-free options at games, and Pudgies even special-ordered vegan cheese for the band, so our vegan bandies could enjoy pizza!

Prior to DM elections, our wonderful Philanthropy Coordinator & Diversity Chair Melissa Montejo ‘22 hosted a Pre-Election Forum, where band members were able to discuss which parts of elections they appreciated and which parts could be improved. Ultimately, we decided to make a few modifications to elections to help foster a more welcoming and positive environment. We created a set of community guidelines that were emphasized and followed throughout the election process, and used an online form to submit questions. Although elections were quite long, they remained respectful, and we hope that these changes will continue making the band a more welcoming place for everyone.

We finished up our season with our last home game, Senior Concert, and Nonsec. The day after Nonsec, all student activities were cancelled due to the rise in Covid cases, so we were extremely grateful we were able to host the event in person. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to our seniors, but we know we’ll see them back on the hill soon!

Although we experienced many disappointments throughout the year, the band’s spirit, sense of community, and love for making music together was so inspiring as we kept pushing forward. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity to serve the band in a year unlike any other.

Thank you to Oliver & Cups for being amazing leaders of the band this year. I couldn’t have asked for a more positive and spirited pair of students to lead the band with during this uncertain year. And best of luck to Bella Burgess and Zack Kozma, our 2022 Head Manager and Drum Major, and the rest of the 2022 Bandstaph! I know they will accomplish amazing things and continue to make the band the most fun-loving and welcoming organization on Cornell’s campus.

Flove always,

Carey “wow, what a year it’s been!” Lau


2021 Section Updates!

Alumni Relations

As we have gotten back to marching, dancing, and playing together after our 17-month hiatus, each of our sections has been hard at work to make everyone’s band experience as enjoyable as possible. Our section leaders have put together short blurbs to update everyone on the state of the band from the bottom up:

image_6483441Guard: This has been a very special semester, as guard has been able to make a comeback from the COVID year and spin on the field once again! We performed 4 shows total with one of the themes being “The Precedented Circumstances Show” to celebrate our return to semi- normalcy. Though we were only able to go on two away trips total this year, we made history by traveling to Dartmouth College for the first time. We first stopped in Boston to deliver a dazzling performance at Faneuil Marketplace, then went to New Hampshire where we became friends with the lovely Dartmouth band. Despite having almost no members who had ever seen a full normal year of band, we did our best to remember and maintain some of our classic traditions such as a strong dedication to Mac and Cheese, delicious guard snack, and pineapples. This year we even brought in a new mascot, a stuffed pineapple cat named Catnapple, to accompany us on trips and be our emotional support animal. We’re looking forward to spinning in the spring and continuing to revive the original passion and traditions of the Big Red Color Guard!


IMG_0988Flutes: Mamma Mia, what a year! Despite COVID, the Flutes have continued to thrive. In February of 2020, the new tradition of a Valentine’s Day concert was born, called Flalentine’s. This past February, we continued the tradition with a virtual concert. We also held a virtual wedding with the Clarinets, sent each other letters, and had many a game night on Zoom. This fall, it was really exciting to be back in-person and welcome a lot of awesome new members to the section. We donned some snazzy masks, bagged our instruments, and got to step out in cool new uniforms. We continued our beloved traditions, like stealing the Tubas’ hats during Power, flute-upping, and boxers, and returned to Faneuil Hall to dance the Time Warp. We really missed having our alumni on the field with us this year, but are greatly looking forward to seeing you all next year! Flove <3


IMG_0910Clarinets: This fall, the Clarinets have had an amazing semester getting back on the field. We welcomed an absolutely incredible group of new members who have contributed greatly to the energy and enthusiasm of the section. We won the scavenger hunt yet again this year maintaining our winning streak. Many of our old traditions continued this year even after last year’s hiatus and shattered many pelvises during Everybody’s Everything. We continued some new traditions this year as well including Taylor Swift night and chill game nights. As we wrap up the semester, we are about to hold our annual gift exchange and send off our beloved seniors with a toast. We hope to see you all soon, and hope you can join us parading and during halftime at homecoming next fall.


IMG_4590SaxesThe saxes are a quirky bunch of people new and old who have really come together this semester to create a tightnight community full of friendship, inside jokes, and memorable traditions.  From sax pyramids between sets to drinking minty cocoa on cold nights, rehearsals have been a blast and full of all the chaos and fun that is indicative of sax culture.  Outside of rehearsals, we’ve spent our time together watching the Bachelorette, having “productive” nights during work Wednesdays (who said board games aren’t productive?), and some great food at our seasonal potlucks.  Through this all, we’ve really come together as a group, and we are so happy to have had so many amazing new members from all grades who have really added so much to our section.  It is amazing seeing our crazy family grow with people with all sorts of interests and talents, all of whom have really left their mark on the sax section.  Having gotten to come back to the band after a year of uncertainty, we are so happy to see the sax section thrive, and we know that we are watching friendships form that will last for years to come!


IMG_3282Horns: After an all-around rough 2020, the horns are making a great comeback! Although instrument covers make it hard to prank each other with chicken wings, we’ve loved playing in-person at all the football games this season. We held our annual practice once again, and have continued our love for Waluigi (to a sometimes unhealthy level). We loved meeting up again with many of our alumni at Penn and Dartmouth, and can’t wait to (hopefully) welcome everyone back next fall for homecoming!


IMG_7642TrumpetsThere was a lot of uncertainty coming into this semester, but with a fleet of amazing new members, the trumpets have remained the most powerful section in the band. It’s been a little funky getting back to in-person events. Scheduling concerns, instrument mask shortages, and just your general band-related chaos (i.e., Cups ‘22) kept us on our toes. Trumpet attendance has been through the roof at pretty much every event and we’ve been sounding amazing! A few new songs have been added to trumpet cheers, with a number of arrangements from Pony ‘20 and Eric ‘22. We continued the Over the Garden Wall tradition this year with a full Thanksgiving meal organized by Iceman ‘23, and we just celebrated Trumpet Christmas with a taco bar. It’s been an amazing season and we couldn’t be happier or prouder with how the section has evolved and persisted through this wild time, and we can’t wait to see what happens next!


image1DrumlineDrumline has been absolutely boolin’ this semester. There was the excitement of having our first in-person season since COVID. While it was definitely a challenge, we spent the spring semester building our chops with Cadence “Weekly Bars” to encourage members, new and old, to learn each section of the Parade Cadence. This definitely helped when we got back to marching in September. It made us happy to see members who joined their freshman year have their first ever marching season this fall as sophomores. We also had the privilege of welcoming new freshman, sophomores, and masters students to the Drumline during auditions in August, and they are just as talented and as quirky as you’d expect. They are super active and some of them were even recently elected to Bandstaph! We made a lot of great memories this year: from go-karting, to apple picking at Indian Creek Farm, to cheating at a corn maze at Stoughton Farm. With our first in-person season since 2019, we also had a first-time away trip to Dartmouth! We had a great time playing with the Dartmouth marching band and getting told not to say “Dartmouth sucks” in record time. We stopped at Boston on our way to Dartmouth (don’t think about it too much) and got to parade at Faneuil Hall. Even though they didn’t have t-shirts at UPenn and we got yelled at by their band director yet again, that was such a fun trip since we got to see some alums! We really wanted to focus on fostering an inclusive community and giving our new members the freshman fall that we had, and we are so excited to have accomplished that!


IMG_1290BonesDa Bones have been chugging merrily along in most ossiferous comportment this year. We picked up a number of jolly frosh to bolster our RanKS, with so many tones that we had to even use Academic/Integrity every now and then (yeahhh tonarchy!!!). We went on our first away trips in 2 years to Penn and Dartmouth and attempted to sell many a duck and gravy boat on the Happy Bus. We’ve also added a few new bone cheers to the repertoire, including a reworking of Underbones. Whether making and playing Jeopardy boards, collaging, watching Evangelion, or getting up to our trademark cantankerous silliness at rehearsals or game days, da Bones have had a rather hearty return to marching. Can’t wait to continue that spirit with pep next semester, and we look forward to seeing y’all next year for Grand Bonecoming!!!


Tubas: The Tubae have declined to comment. They are too busy with confidential business, evidently.IMG_4443

Post-Homecoming Update

Alumni Relations

It was a pleasure to see so many band alums for Homecoming this past weekend – both in-person and online. We trust that anyone who made it to Schoellkopf on Saturday will attest that it was a true thrill seeing the band back in action. Marching over 200-strong, the band looked downright dashing in their new uniforms - and the students exuded tremendous joy as they rocked out to “Everybody’s Everything” at halftime.

Not only was it a big weekend for the band, it was also a big weekend for BRBAA, as we ratified a new set of bylaws for our association. Over the past year, dozens of band alums provided feedback on our existing bylaws and met to craft new language. The result is a set of bylaws that moves BRBAA forward, committing the association to diversity, inclusion, improved communications, and greater involvement of the general membership. Many thanks to Emily Isenstein for her leadership on this project – and to the many, many alumni who joined her in making this a true team effort.


For those who are interested in learning more about what’s going on in the wild world of BRBAA, we welcome you to review the minutes of this past weekend’s meetings. Feel free to reach out to any members of the Advisory Council with questions or feedback. (Email addresses are linked in the minutes.)


For those looking to get more involved with BRBAA, we have two important invitations to extend:

  • With ratification of the new BRBAA Bylaws, there is a brand-new open position on BRBAA – that of Communications Chair. Please reach out to Brian Adelman (BRBAA Chair) if interested in taking on this role.
  • We have also created a Stewardship Committee, which is working to promote fundraising and engagement within the band alumni community. Please reach out to Tory Bredt (BRBAA Resource Chair) if interested in serving on this committee.


And lastly, the band is making music again! We’re hopeful that many of you will have occasion to hear the sweet sounds of the Big Red Band at some point this year. (Whilst longing, yearning, and maintaining appropriate social distance, of course.) The marching band’s planned trip to Yale has been canceled (due to restrictions imposed by Yale Athletics) – but the band does plan to travel for the events below. (Please note that this travel schedule is subject-to-change, given evolving policies around campus health and safety. BRBAA Events Chair Lauren Russo will keep us all posted regarding opportunities for fraternization at these games, where possible.)

  • Marching Band Road Trip! Football @ Harvard - Oct. 9, 2021 (game at 1:00 pm)
  • Pep Band Road Trip! Women’s Hockey @ RIT - Oct. 16, 2021 (game at 1:00 pm)
  • Marching Band Road Trip! Football @ Penn - Nov. 6, 2021 (game at 1:00 pm)
  • Pep Band Road Trip for Red Hot Hockey! Men’s Hockey vs. BU @ Madison Square Garden (game @ 8:00 pm)

Highlights from the 2021 Giving Day Town Hall

Alumni Relations

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Giving Day Town Hall – and to everyone who invested in the future of the band by making a donation. In the end, we raised $39,036 in a single day. Not too shabby!

If you weren’t able to make it to the Town Hall (or if you’re just eager to relive the thrill), here are videos of the stories, memories, and music that were shared:

  • Alumni Reflection Video (featuring Adara Alston ’99, Bethany Angeliu ’18, Kathryn Abbott ’12, Katherine Curtis ’19, Dana Muir-Preston ’07, Marshall Kohen ’90, Bill Welker ’73, Nathan Olson ’05, and Bri Bamford-Olson ’07)
  • Undergrad Reflection Video (featuring Amy Chen ’23, Keshav Ram ’22, Michael Bai ’24, Clover Moisanu ’21, and Christian Romero ’21) 

Looking Back: Reflections from 2020 Band Leadership

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni!IMG_6512

My name is Christian Romero and I am the Big Red Marching Band’s 2020 Drum Major! I am a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Sociology and Performing & Media Arts. While it’s been great to do more conducting, I miss jamming, grooving, dancing, and moving with my fellow saxes.

This spring semester has been an interesting one. We kicked off our spring performance schedule a little earlier than usual with a small performance in the Tompkins County Library. This event was organized by our amazing Philanthropy Coordinators for mid-February and we were able to show many children in the area the joys of band! After playing a short set, we were able to share some band memories, show off each instrument, and give the kids a closer look at each instrument. Although the event wasn’t too long, the kids and the band had a blast and we look forward to partnering with the Tompkins County Library again in the future.

The band then had their first music rehearsal to prepare for our annual Giving Day Concert in mid-March. We practiced some of the more difficult concert songs as well as our newest concert song, Brooklyn (dance break included)! The Giving Day Concert itself was a very bittersweet moment for everyone involved. Prior to the event we were a bit stressed, as we did not know if it would actually be able to occur, but once we finally got the okay and found a way to operate under university guidelines we did everything we could to make the event unforgettable. The band dressed up in uniform and we added an extra pep band and marching band set than what we usually have. By evening song we were all left feeling very emotional. The event was even more special having so many alumni tuning in and sending us support!

As the university started to shut down and classes moved online we did all we could to keep the band spirit alive. Showcomm and I were able to devise a schedule where we would send out our new show music to the section leaders to be distributed to the members of their section. In addition to sending out music, we also worked with our publicity chairs to create a social media series called Music Mondays. We created this series to share some of our favorite songs with newly admitted students since we were not able to hold any Cornell Day performances. Marissa and I also held our first HM & DM Office Hours via Zoom as a way to reconnect with some of our members. To close out the semester we made a video honoring our graduating seniors and worked with BRBAA to host the first Big Red Bands Town Hall.

The fall was just as eventful as the spring semester. With university protocol changing throughout the semester we focused our efforts on online events. We kicked off the fall by recruiting new members with chalking, a virtual clubfest, and a more active social media presence. We got interest from about 100 new members and welcomed them through a virtual First Night. The rest of the semester we focused on finding ways to get the new members involved in band and to meet other members. We hosted office hours every week, set up a weekly speed friending system, held zoom events with other Ivy bands, created the “BRMB Olympics” (ran by 3 band seniors), did virtual music performances, and hosted various other zooms as a way to keep everyone connected.

Throughout the year we also took time to reflect on what it means for us to be a truly inclusive organization. As one of the largest student run organizations in the Ivy League we felt it as our duty to take a more active role in addressing what is going on in our university and the world around us. In order to best support our Black and Indigenous band members of color we decided we could no longer shy away from these conversations of racism and human rights. While we have by no means fully addressed the issues of racism in our university and our organization, we have started a dialogue that will without a doubt contribute to the band becoming an even more inclusive and anti-racist organization.

While the year was not what we expected, I think we still were able to make the band special for all of our new members and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to welcome so many new faces into our band family. Thank you all for your continuous support and thank you to Marissa, Lynn, and all of our band leaders for all your work and remaining adaptable throughout this difficult year. It’s been an honor to serve as your Drum Major. While I never would’ve guessed everything that this year had in store, I’m proud of the band for coming out stronger. No matter what happens the band always wins!

Chris “Feel free to reach out to me whenever!” tian Ro “I’ve got a lot more free time now that I’m not running a band” mero

Christian, Marissa, Lynn, and the rest of the 2020 BRBAA Advisory Council at a virtual meeting.

Christian, Marissa, Lynn, and the rest of the 2020 BRBAA Advisory Council at a virtual meeting.

HEY ALUMNI!134516991_884012359004122_1060642780115902928_o

My name is Marissa Gailitis, and I had the pleasure of being the 2020 Head Manager!  I have completed two years of my degree in Environment and Sustainability with a concentration in Environmental Economics through the College of Arts and Sciences, but I decided to take a gap year in New Zealand half way through my term due to COVID-19.  In the band, I am a proud member of the Drumline (Bassi Bois for life!!).  2020 came with a unique set of challenges that forced us to think creatively and come together as an organization.

We began the year with a goal to increase events channeled towards giving back to our Cornell and Ithaca communities by further establishing the role of the Philanthropy Coordinator (“Phil Coor”, formed in 2019).  We began working towards this goal with a Tompkins County Public Library Event, put together by the 2020 Phil Coor, Kai Chen ‘21 and Arya Saksena ‘22.  At this event, the Band pursued our love for playing in libraries by performing a small concert for children and their families at the Tompkins County Public Library in the Ithaca Commons.  We completed the afternoon with an “instrument petting zoo”, where children were able to get up close to the instruments to learn how they work.

In February and March, we began rehearsing for Giving Day.  There was also talk of not coming back to campus after Spring Break due to the pandemic.  Just a day before the event, we were given the first of many event-limiting guidelines put forth by the University.  We worked with these guidelines by ensuring that no more than 100 people would be in attendance at the event by requiring students to RSVP before attending and by managing the number of people in the band center at the door.  With these guidelines changing every couple of hours, we had no idea if we would be able to move forward with our event until about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled livestream.  The University closed for the rest of the semester the next day.

When we were told to leave campus, we began asking ourselves the question that would haunt us for months to come: if we aren’t together, how can we still be a band?

We began to try to answer that dreaded question by hosting band bonding events, like band-wide Zoom calls and virtual events for each section hosted by section leaders.  Some of these sectionals were movie nights with Netflix Party, hang-outs over Zoom, or even performing virtual cheers!  Additionally, we were able to work with BRBAA to host a Big Red Bands Zoom Town Hall, where we connected with Bandies past and present, reminisced on the old days, explored how the band functions logistically, and went over the current state of the band.  Upon hearing about the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black individuals, the Band also came together to stand with our communities by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, providing resources and ways to help the cause through our many social media platforms.  We also began to re-explore ways we can make the Band a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Upon hearing the changes to the Fall semester, we had many questions.  Can we still perform while social distancing?  Can band still happen this Fall?  Should band still happen this Fall?  To answer some of these questions, we formed a COVID Committee to brainstorm ways to keep Band as safe but active as possible the Fall ‘20 semester.  It was a tough call, but at the end of the day we decided to stick to virtual events through the semester to maximize the safety and comfort of our band members.

Months after being away from campus, I finally found an answer to the question that haunted me last March.  Although we may not be able to play together for a little while, the Band will always be a Family because we stand together in times of need.  Instead of viewing the virtual changes to the Band as a negative, I am thankful to view the situation as an opportunity for the Band to bond more as individuals and look towards other things that bring us together.

Managing the Band in a pandemic has certainly been a learning experience, so I thought I would share some of the things that I have learned from 2020:

  1. Just because you don’t know what’s coming does not mean that it won’t turn out alright
  2. Even if we are apart, the Band will always stand together
  3. You can take us away from our instruments, but we still won’t be quiet
  4. The flove is real
  5. The Band always wins!

Now some shout outs:

Thank you so much to Christian and Lynn for being the best co-leaders I could have possibly been paired with!  The band is so lucky to have had such passionate and hardworking leaders, and I hope you enjoy retirement and the rest of your senior year!

Thank you to BRBAA for working with us through all the difficulties that came with 2020.

Thank you class of 2024 for being absolutely wonderful, I can’t wait to get to know you guys better in person!

And of course, Thank You Band!  2020 was definitely a memorable year with many ups and downs, but thank you for staying with us through it all!

Good luck to Carey, Oliver, Cups, and the whole of 2021 Bandstaph!  I can’t wait to see what you guys will accomplish this year, I have faith that all of you will do amazing things!


With Flove, Drumstix, and Surgical Masks,

~Marissa, 2020 Head Manager

Hey Alumni!!78171087_3234436029961799_7848815483741536256_o

My name is Lynn Jeannoute and I had the utmost pleasure of being your 2020 Pep Band Manager! I am a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in business. I am originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey, and play trombone in Marching Band, as well as Pep Band. Before assuming my role as Pep Band Manager, I was one of the pep band historians for two years!

Everyone on the pep band board has been really great this past year despite the circumstances, especially all of our new board members who brought with them a really great spirit and enthusiasm onto the board and all did amazing jobs in their new roles.

This year ended up being really crazy but also started off similar to many others. Both hockey teams had amazing seasons and the pep band was able to cheer them on at all of the men’s games and most of the women’s games as well! Last spring we were able to go on two overnight trips for the Princeton/Quinnipiac and Yale/Brown games and also take a day trip to Colgate. These trips were super fun and everyone had a great time! Unfortunately, the end of the hockey season took a hit due to COVID-19 and all the playoff games were canceled, but both our teams were ranked No. 1, which was incredibly exciting.

Even though there is a lot of hockey in the spring, we still make time to attend some other events. The pep band was happy to be able to go to most of the home wrestling matches and a few basketball games as well! A lot of the band members really enjoy wrestling and basketball. It’s really great being able to support our other amazing teams on campus.

As I mentioned earlier, our in-person semester was cut short due to COVID-19, so we weren’t able to go on any playoff trips or do any of our usual end-of-the-semester events like last rehearsal and conductor elections. This was definitely a bummer for all of us, but I’m super grateful and happy that we got to have such an amazing first half of the spring semester.

Also due to COVID-19, the Ivy League had decided to cancel sports for the Fall 2020 semester. This led us to the question: “If there are no sports, is there still band?” We spent so many months trying to figure out what band would look like for the fall semester and how we could bring people together virtually. In the end, we decided that even though we could not meet in person or play together normally, we could still foster a fun and supportive environment for all our members. We did this by holding virtual events throughout the semester, including holding office hours each week, rotating hosting between the drum major, head manager, and pep band manager. Even though we weren’t able to meet in person, we were still able to meet the new members and interact with each other safely.

Another goal we had this past year was trying to promote diversity and inclusivity within our organization. We want band to be a safe place for everyone to feel welcome and appreciated. This year we tried to build on these values by addressing things head on and fostering discussion around social justice issues. Though we took some progressive steps this past year, building an inclusive community is an ongoing process and there is still a lot to be done. We can all participate, regardless of leadership position by continuing the dialogue and holding each other accountable.

Through the continuation of the pandemic, many things are still up in the air, but there is one thing that will always be certain and that is the band always wins. The Big Red Bands is composed of some of the smartest, kindest, friendliest, and most passionate people at Cornell and I am confident that we will continue to come together to make the best of whatever situation we come across in the future.

Good luck to Cups and the rest of next year’s leadership team, I know that you will do amazing things this year! Thank you to the BRBAA council and the rest of the alumni for your never-ending support. Thank you to Marissa and Christian for your help throughout the year; I could not have asked for a better leadership team to get through this strange time with! Finally, thank you band, it has been an honor being your PBM this past year.


Lynn Jeannoute, 2020 Pep Band Manager

Notes from the (Virtual) Office: Introducing Your 2021 Head Manager

Alumni Relations

Hey alumni!70313767_2382128471882996_1471041082157432832_o (4)

My name is Carey Lau, and I’m the 2021 Head Manager for the Big Red Marching Band. I’m a junior Biology & Society major and a Global Health minor in the College of Arts & Sciences. I’m also from Freehold, New Jersey, and I’m a member of the very lovely clarinet section! Outside of the Big Red Marching Band, I’m also a Cornell Chimesmaster (ding!) and work for the Center for Teaching Innovation. I’m so excited to lead the band along with Oliver Matte, our 2021 Drum Major!

Although the band hasn’t seen each other in person for several long months, we’ve managed to stay connected through Zoom and social media. We plan to continue our virtual events this spring, with Zooming with other Ivy bands, HM/DM/PBM Office Hours, speed friending, and more! We’re also planning a virtual music tutoring program and more virtual performances to keep everyone musically engaged. If you haven’t already, follow the BRMB Instagram to stay up to date with information on events like Giving Day and more performances this spring! Later in the semester, we’re planning to host some small in-person, socially distanced rehearsals on Schoellkopf Field with specialized instrument masks, if permitted by Cornell’s COVID-19 guidelines.

This spring, we’re also anticipating the arrival of our new uniforms! Our wonderful uniform chairs are planning a fundraiser for the band involving the old uniforms, so stay tuned for more information and a survey about the fundraiser in the coming weeks.

Additionally, Oliver and I are working with Melissa Montejo ‘23, our Philanthropy Coordinator and Diversity Chair, to better address diversity and inclusion within the band through related training for Bandstaph, EARS discussions for band members, COVID-19 mental health workshops, and more. We’re so grateful for the opportunity to help our band evolve and grow, even as we spend much of our time apart.

This fall, we’ve got our fingers crossed in hopes of traveling to Yale, Harvard, and Penn for away games. If we don’t end up seeing our alumni on the road this year, we hope to see you at Phonathon this fall!

Although we may be spending much of our time apart this semester, I’m so excited for the opportunity to help the band stay connected, welcome new members during Spring Club Fest, and plan lots of exciting new events for our members. Please continue to stay safe and healthy, and we’re looking forward to seeing all of our alumni again on the hill! It’s going to be another great year with the BRMB!

-Carey Lau ‘22


Notes from the Ladder: Introducing Your 2021 Drum Major

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni!oliver2

My name is Oliver Matte, and I have the fortune of being your 2021 Drum Major! I’m a Computer Science major through the College of Engineering, and I’m from Minnesota. I’m also a drummy boi, where I play the tenors! When I’m not doing band related stuff, you can find me on the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team, and this summer I’m going to be interning with Amazon! I am thrilled to get to work with Carey Lau, our Head Manager this year!

The current state of the band is an optimistic one. Though we haven’t been able to have any in-person music activities for a while, we are excited to be trying out some new ideas this semester to allow for more music engagement! We are currently working on music education Zoom events to help people remain involved with music before we’re allowed to meet again.

Once we do have the go-ahead to do more things in person, we also have some plans on how to approach rehearsal. These rehearsals will have to be limited to 10-20 people depending on location per Cornell policy, so we are planning to make our rehearsals this spring more section-based. I plan to work closely with the section leaders to ensure that the new members get to experience a slice of the band experience, as well as start to get familiar with some of our more well-known music and our marching technique. This will hopefully give us a better-prepared class of sophomores next year than there would be otherwise. Of course, these rehearsals would be limited in size, so we’re also planning to give virtual opportunities to get the same sort of practice for those who aren’t able to make it to rehearsal or for those not in Ithaca.

As for the fall, Showcomm and I have started discussing some ideas about how to create a show that allows newer members to learn the music we already know while allowing the older members to focus more of their energy on the newer members. Enter the Folder Show (working title). For this show, we plan to use songs that are already in the folder in order to help ease the transition into marching band for two student classes that will have less BRMB experience as a result of the pandemic. More info will come on what other show ideas we come up with! If the college lets us have a fall season, you can be sure to see us at Yale, Harvard, and Penn!

I am more than excited to get to lead the band this year, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!


Oliver Matte, Drum Major, Class of ‘23


Your Spring 2021 Band Notes

Alumni Relations


Picture1My name is Liam Tully, and I am honored to serve as your 2021 Alumni Relations Chair. I am a sophomore in the School of Hotel Administration from Mobile, Alabama, and I am a proud member of the only REAL saxophone section in the Ivy League (and Rank $)! Outside of band, I am an assistant director for Hotel Ezra Cornell as well as in the Hotel Leadership Development Program.

As disheartening as it was to halt all in-person band events last March, return to our homes, and adapt to the reality of a virtual college experience, we have found so many ways to stay connected and deepen our relationships as a band family. I especially want to give shoutouts to Christian Romero ‘21, Marissa Gailitis ‘22, and Lynn Jeannoute ‘21 for working tirelessly to recreate the fall marching band experience as authentically as possible.

It is a pleasure to work alongside Oliver, Carey, and the rest of the Bandstaph to make this year as great for you as we can. We hope to bring back in-person experiences in the year ahead, so we will keep you updated of exciting events to come. If you have any questions or suggestions, I encourage you to reach me at I am looking forward to getting to know many of you over the course of this year, and GO RED!

All the Best,



… and now presenting the only REAL Band Notes in the Ivy League!

Your Fall 2019 BandNotes

Alumni Relations


Dear Big Red Bands Alumni,

As we celebrate another successful season of the Big Red Bands, we are excited to share some of our best experiences with you. We’ve brought our Big Red spirit to games in New Haven, Philadelphia, and Cambridge as well as Ithaca and are looking forward to finishing out our semester with some final band events. We’d like to thank you for your support during our annual Phonathon and at all of our performances- we couldn’t do all that we do without our alumni!

We’ve loved serving as your 2019 Alumni Relations chairs, and look forward to passing the role down in December.


Julia Klopfer ’20 and Diane Sutyak ’20

And now presenting the only REAL BandNotes in the Ivy League!

Your Guy on the Ladder: Notes from the 2019 Drum Major

Alumni Relations

Hey Alumni!

buckets It’s your guy on the ladder, Buckets, here to tell you a bit about how our marching season has been going!  From Day 1 of recruitment, all hands were on deck as we chalked for the first time in recent memory without any rain washing away our beautiful art.  We auditioned 140 new members, with a high retention rate shown in our 160 member Yale trip and 140 member Harvard trip attendances by the band. All these new members is what has kept me bright-eyed and spirited as I truck-away at finishing my pre-vet requirements and submitting my applications for the next phase of my life.

And now to go into the shows for the year.  Our celebration of 50 years of Women in the Band included a show centered around the power women hold and the impact they have had on our organization.  Keeping in spirit with this, our very own sax section leader Kyra Butler ’20 arranged the pregame song of “Woman” by Kesha. Halftime consisted of “Confident” by Demi Lovato, and an arrangement of “Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)” by Aretha Franklin done by ShowComm member Josh Mooney ’20.  The turnout for homecoming was incredible, and we dedicated “Natural Woman” to all of the women in the band the past 50 years and added it to our concert folder. During our trip to Yale, we were blessed with the opportunity to perform in Herald Square. Seeing the empire state building above and conducting in a spot I grew up visiting throughout my life was an experience I will never forget.

The second show we performed was that of the Empire State Show.  The Band takes the audience on a tour around New York State, starting in the Adirondacks with “Welcome to the Jungle,” for pregame.  As halftime approaches, we move to New York City, where we perform an arrangement of “Brooklyn” by the Youngblood Brass Band done by former Head Manager (’14) Alex Settle ’16, and finally come back home to Ithaca with “Bare Necessities.”  We performed this show at Harvard, and showed them who is boss, even during their 100th anniversary of their band’s existence. During the Harvard trip, we performed in Quincy Market, and even with the rain, the Band persisted and sounded great in yet another iconic location, making memories for the books.

Our third show was the Rockin’ Through the Generations show, where the Band took you through 3 generations of people found at Cornell and the songs they grew up listening to.  First we started out for pregame in the 80’s, the generation many of the bandies’ parents grew up in, and performed “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. For halftime, we moved into the millennial era, our recent grads, and performed “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” by Fall Out Boy, and closed with a Gen Z favorite of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.  Both performances of this show were done at home, so we enlisted help of our Indoor Drumline President and Bell Subsection Leader Elena Fernandez ’20 to put together a front ensemble featuring a drum kit, adding a fun element to the show.

The final show we performed was the Victory Show.  We started the show off with “Victorious” by Panic! at the Disco for pregame.  For halftime, we performed the infamous “Sweet Victory” as seen in the famous Marching Band episode from Spongebob Squarepants.  For the second song of halftime and our senior song, we performed “How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox 20. This show was performed in part during our final trip to Penn on November 9th as well as two weeks later, the 23rd, during the last game of the season, followed by the traditional senior concert.

It is hard to believe that the very position I have devoted so much of my life to the past year is soon to come to a close.  Having the honor of being the Drum Major of the ONLY real marching band in the ivy league has given me the greatest of moments I could have never even thought of.  I have gotten nostalgic and sentimental almost every game so far, and am sure I’ll be even more emotional as the season comes to a close.

Thank you Jill, section leaders, show comm, librarians, all of bandstaph, the trumpet section, and most importantly THANK YOU BAND for giving me experiences of a lifetime and for giving me a reason to always be longing and yearning and always returning to my old, Corn-ell.


~ Justin “Buckets” Kozma