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Give My Regards to the Best and Only Real Marching Band in the Ivy League…

Alumni Relations

My first interaction with the Big Red Marching Band came in the spring of 2001.  I was an incoming football recruit attending the spring football game.  I was with my Dad prior to the game in the Cornell bookstore.  I had turned down the chance to play at Harvard a few months earlier, despite a strong connection to the school and community pressure to attend.  I knew Cornell was the place for me, but on that spring day in 2001 the Big Red Band completely confirmed it.  My Dad and I were standing in the bookstore (it was probably also during Cornell Days) when suddenly the Band stormed through the doors and marched through the store playing Davy.  I was hooked!

As a player I loved “The Schoellkopf March” as I refer to it – the pregame tradition of the marching band playing and leading the football team to the field prior to the game.  As an assistant coach I developed tremendous respect for the countless hours they band members play on game days, the travel to away games, and the late Tuesday night practices during the season.  And now as the head coach I am so thankful to the Big Red Band for the intense loyal support they show our team through some tough years as we build a championship program.

In my opinion you are the greatest symbol of or university.  Like our academic colleges, you are many different parts (instruments and flags) with different skill sets, that when brought together you create something inspirational and outstanding.  Thank you to members past and present, for your time, tremendous talent, and support of Cornell University!


David Archer ’05

The Roger J. Weiss ’61

Head Coach of Football

Mystery Photos from the Archives

Alumni Relations

We need your help with these mystery photos! Who are these people, and what’s the story? Email us at and to tell us and we’ll publish your response! 

1992 Aardvarking


The top photo (Aardvark off of Olin), the bandie to the far left is Fred Archer ’94.”

- Nicole (Vantuno) Wagner ’94

“That photo on Olin Library is of the tuba section.  I believe the two Aardvarkers are Greg Carlson ’93 and me. The others, from left to right, are Avi Agarwal ’95, can’t tell who this is,  Adam Reeve ’96, Eric Smith ’94 and Ralph Ciotti ‘95.”

Thomas P. LaFalce, Jr. ’94


1992 Trumpets


The second photo of the trumpets, bottom row with blue jacket sleeves is Jason Moore ’94. I’m sorry I don’t know more names off the top of my head, or stories behind the photos.  Fun to see though, thanks for sharing!”

- Nicole (Vantuno) Wagner ’94


1995 Clarinets


1997 Flute Ups


1990 Tubas


I wasn’t around this particular year, but in 80′s one of the fraternities ran a charity fundraiser called “Ugly Man on Campus”.  The Tubas would campaigned as a section, play some Tuba tunes, and shake their instruments which were filled with coins and the audience would respond by throwing more money into their bells.  The winner of the Ugly Man on Campus contest was determined by how much each raised.  The Tuba section always did well.”

– Kurt, Bone 1980 – 1985


1993 Drumline


“The Tic/Tac/Toe from ’93 has Chris Stuhlmiller in the middle (her married name). She used to live in Cleveland with her husband Chris (also a BRB alum.)”

– Kevin Stark, clarinet ’91 


1958 Bill Campbell and Drillmaster Henry I Romersa


“In the photo from 1958 the gentleman on the left is William Campbell, the director of bands for many years including ’47-‘52 when I was a clarinetist-member of both the Big Red Band and the Concert Band. He appears to be laying down the law to his companion, but I have no idea what it was about . He was a pretty gentle and congenial person.”

- John Wootton, Class of ‘51

“In the 1958 photo, that is Prof. William Campbell on the left, head Band Director, pretending to chew out Henry Romersa who was just hired to be the new assistant director in charge of formations.  Maybe someone stepped out of line or didn’t do 8 steps to 5 yards? The sign in the background was used for taking pictures of each of the band members along with Prof. Campbell to send to the students’ local newspapers. I vaguely remember seeing that photo when it first came out. Lots of water under the bridge since then!! (or should I say ‘over the falls’?)”

-Bob Hoyler, clarinet, EE ’63 (started in Fall 1958 on 5-year engineering program)

“I’m probably the 4,328th person to ID this pic.  It’s “Mr. C,” and “Mr. R,” more specifically Professor William Campbell (Left), head  of the band program and Director of the Concert Band — and Chairman of the Music Department — and Professor Henry Romersa (Right), Director of the Rep Band and the Big Red Dancing Turkeys.”

- Tom Atwood ’63 1/2

“I very much enjoyed the picture in the latest BRB Notes of Professors Campbell and Romersa from 1958, the year I arrived at Cornell. They were talented taskmasters. They knew how to work us and make us love them at the same time.”

Marc A. Gerber ’62 


1973 fall concert


1942-1943 Cornell band




In the 1989 photo, the guy holding the orange sign looks like Doug Onsi.”

- Joshua Abelson

From left to right: dersk, Marc Goldman, Jon (whose last name I’ve forgotten), Marshall Kohen, Doug Onsi all class of 90. Jon was the head field manager and was super stressed out, so we had a small “We appreciate Jon” rally to cheer him up.”

- dersk, bone




“You’ve got Dana Gerrard in two of the photos – one as an alum (with the crazy trombone thing) and with the apple and his Tuba-Partner-In-Crime Cliff Strat.”

- Stacey Montalto

“The main people in the picture are likely alumni.  The white painter’s cap was passed out to alumni in my day.  This trombone hung out in the back or on top of a cabinet in the old Band Room in Barton Hall.  This picture was taken in the Band Room and was likely taken during Homecoming weekend during the morning rehearsal as there are coffee cups in this picture.  I tried it once.  It sounded awful.  I don’t know who owned it or what became of it.  I’m wondering if this is from slightly before 1984 as I don’t recognize the people in the picture – even in the background. It is possible the guy in the background on the far left with beard might be Rich Gordon ’85, a former pep band directory and clarinet.”

- John van Gelder ‘87, Baritone Horn

I believe this was at taken at Homecoming with an Alumnus trying out the “Turkey-bone”.  This multiple slide/valved/Bell instrument sat atop the lockers for most the season, but traditionally was taken out and played by the senior trombone player for the last home game of the season.  Unfortunately I don’t recognize the player in the photo.”

- Kurt, Bone 1980 – 1985 


2000 - Homecoming


circa 1976-1980

Dana and Cliff – the heart and soul of the Tuba section, in either ’78 or ’79.  No two people wreaked more havoc on the drum major and other responsible bandies than these two.  This may have been the beginning of the ‘Ugly’ era of the tuba section.  I only spent one year in their section, but still have the scars, both physical and mental, to prove it.  I still laugh out loud when I remember watching and sometimes participating in their antics.  “Tea for Tubas” solo anyone? Good times.”

- Stephan Roy 

“You’ve got Dana Gerrard in two of the photos – one as an alum (with the crazy trombone thing) and with the apple and his Tuba-Partner-In-Crime Cliff Strat.”

- Stacey Montalto

Brings back memories (I can almost remember the player with the “unknown bandsman”, a variation of the “unknown comic” from the TV game show “The Gong Show” where the comedian wore the paper bag over his head.”

- Kurt, Bone 1980 – 1985 


2004 Homecoming


“From left to right, the people are: Michael “Deuce” Borzcik ’05, Nathan Olson ’05, Ben Johnson ’04, Tori Ball ’05, Joel Villanueva, Jason Scott ’04, and Bri Olson ’07. They are all trumpets, and Tori was the drum major at the time.  We had found a bunch of old uniforms in the back room of the old band room, and so they decided to all try them on.  I am not 100% sure, but I think they were all old drum major uniforms.  There isn’t really much more of a story than that, but it was cool to see all the different types of uniforms that the band had used in the past.”

- Jeremy Kerman ’06

Mark Your Calendars: Fall 2016 Schedule

Alumni Relations

June 9th-12th: Reunion!

September 24th: Homecoming! vs Yale

October 8th: Away @ Harvard (with an appearance at Quincy Market)

October 15th: Home vs Sacred Heart

October 22nd: Away @ Brown

October 29th: Home vs Princeton

November 5th: Home vs Dartmouth

November 12th: Away @ Columbia

November 19th: Home vs Penn (SUCKS)

Reunion info

A reception will be held on Saturday, June 11th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at Fischell Band Center. Stay tuned for more details!

Homecoming Hotel Block Info

Hotel: Best Western University Inn

Address: 1020 Ellis Hollow Road

Phone number: 607-272-6100

Rate: $189/night+tax (rate applies to the night of September 23rd and September 24th)

No minimum number of nights required.

Block size: 20 rooms

Expiration Date: the rooms in this block will be held until August 23, 2016.

Instructions: Call the hotel and request the “Cornell Big Red Band Alumni” rate when making reservations.

Contact Us: 2016 Bandstaph and Pep Band Board

Alumni Relations

2016 Bandstaph

Head Manager:

Drum Major:

Head Field Manager


Show Committee Chairs

Alumni Relations Chairs:

Uniform Chairs:

Equipment Chairs:

Head Librarians:

Publicity Chairs:


Fundraising Chairs:


Social Chairs:


2016 Pep Band Board

Pep Band Manager:

Conductors (Spring 2016):





Equipment Chair:

Fundraising Chair:

Social Chairs:



Lift the Chorus, Speed It Onward into 2016!

Alumni Relations

Hello Big Red Bands Alumni!

After a fantastic fall semester, the Big Red Bands are gearing up for the spring! Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll be up to in the near future:

The Big Red Bands Annual Phonathon will be held on the evenings of February 1st and March 2nd. Watch for a call from a current Bands member! We love talking to you and appreciate your generous support!

If you would like to give to the bands by alternative means, please feel free to follow this link or contact our Fun(d)raising Chairs Alex Wong ’19 ( and Claire Schiefelbein ’19 ( with any questions.

The Big Red Pep Band has planned three trips to regular season Men’s Hockey games. Come and join the Lynah Faithful as we cheer Big Red to victory!

  • January 29th and 30th at Clarkson and St. Lawrence
  • February 5th and 6th at Quinnipiac and Princeton
  • February 19th and 20th at Harvard at Dartmouth

Don’t forget to mark Reunion (June 9-12th) and Homecoming (September 23rd-24th) on your calendars!

Finally, we’re always looking to learn more about the band’s history. If you have any photos or stories that you wish to share from your time in the band, please get in touch! We can be reached at and


Looking forward to a great year,

Your 2016 Alumni Relations Chairs,

Kristen Rose Baxter ‘18

Odalis Flores ‘19

AND NOW, Introducing Your 2016 Alumni Relations Chairs

Alumni Relations

Enjoying pizza at Yale!

Fall 2015 was a wonderful season: We basked in the sunshine at band camp, shivered through trips to Montreal and Buffalo, and filled Lynah and Schoellkopf with joyful noise as we cheered on Big Red. But now 2016 is upon us! With a new year comes a new Bandstaph. It is our pleasure to introduce ourselves as your 2016 Alumni Relations Chairs!

Hi, I’m Kristen Rose! I’m a sophomore biology major who plays piccolo in the marching band. Although I love the piccolo, I eventually got tired of trying to tune it, so I also play horn in the pep band. If I’m not at band, I’m probably counting fruit flies.

Hello, I’m Odalis! I’m a freshman in ILR interested in pursuing a career in immigration law. I’ve played the flute since I was in elementary school and I’m glad I was able to continue that hobby by playing with the only REAL marching band in the Ivy League! In addition to music, I’ve always had a passion for dance.

We are thrilled to see what 2016 has in store for the Big Red Bands.

Please reach out to us at and with any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!


Kristen Rose Baxter ’18

Odalis Flores ’19

In Memoriam: Marice Stith

Alumni Relations

3345372_mWe are saddened to report the passing of Cornell Professor Emeritus Marice Stith. For a generation of Big Red Band alumni, Professor Stith will be forever linked with their time in the band. From 1966 through 1989, he was the music advisor to the band, leading music rehearsals, handling auditions, and making sure the band sounded in top shape (make sure those notes are short, crisp, and stacat).

Professor Stith was also the leader of the Cornell Wind Ensemble and, for his retirement, brought them, the Big Red Band, and hundreds of Band alumni to join him at Carnegie Hall on May 24, 1989. That became a special memory for many, as nearly 500 alumni played on stage, from “76 Trombones” to the Cornell medley (“no stingers!”)

Professor Stith is one of just three people to receive the BRBAA’s Lifetime Achievement, and his love for Cornell will also be remembered every time the Big Red Band plays the “New Cornell Fight Song” (NCFS), as he composed it.  He definitely made the band the best in the Ivy League.

Professor Stith is survived by his wife, Shirlee,  his four children, 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Welcome to BandNotes Fall 2015!

Alumni Relations

Thanks so much for your continuing support of the Big Red Bands. It’s been a pleasure being your Alumni Relation Chairs for 2015. We can’t believe it’s flown by so quickly. From Reunion to Homecoming, it was great to get a chance to meet you all. The best part for us is to see just what an impact band can have on so many Cornellians. Band is a very special place and we are glad to get the opportunity to share it with you. If you have any feedback on what you would like your Alumni Chairs to do next year or how we can improve the website, please let us know! We want to make this the best experience for you.

We hope to see you again next year at Reunion (June 9-12, 2016), Homecoming (September 23-24),  and More!

Enjoy this edition of BandNotes!

-Angie Estevez Prada’17 & Jeff Crosby’18

Have some snippets of Homecoming and Reunion Below and remember to follow the BRMB & Pep Band Historian on Facebook for more!


Notes from the Alumni Association Chair

Alumni Relations

By Lowell Frank ’99, M.D. ‘03

Greetings, alumni and friends!  As I type this, the football team has one more game remaining in its… some-sort-of-adjective season.  It’s moments like this that I’m thankful for Columbia, whom we beat by a not-a-baseball-game score of 3-0.  Of course, the Band always wins.

The Advisory Council had its Fall meeting on Friday, September 18th, followed by the annual Big Red Bands Alumni Association meeting, and I’d like to thank all of those who attended.  Rarely in the history of our alumni association has the annual meeting been a destination - it’s usually something to do before you head to the band’s rehearsal, or if you aren’t out wine touring, or if you’ve just gotten in and haven’t checked in to your hotel yet.  I understand all the demands on everyone’s personal and travel schedules, but if you have any suggestions as to how to make this worth your while, please let me know.  Off campus location?  Make it later?  Serve dinner?  I’m open minded.  The best way to disseminate information is still in person.  With that in mind, the next meeting of the 2016 Big Red Bands Alumni Association will be (around) 4 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2016.   Make plans now!  I would love to have a great turnout.

This past meeting, we reviewed a number of important landmarks for the BRBAA and the Bands.  On the strength of the first Giving Day, the Bands had a record year for income of $165,344, including $100,466 in gifts towards operations.  Thank you!  Of course, FY15 was also a record year for expenses at about $130K.  The expenses are driven by a number of things beyond control, notably recent drastic increases in travel costs and partial Fischell Band Center operations costs.  However, the goal of fundraising for the group is not merely to keep up with rising costs, but also to do more to enhance the student experience.  To that end, there have been some equipment purchases, including approximately half a set of new raincoats (which apparently are thin, warm, waterproof, make you play and march better, and oh yeah, let you fly).  The Bandstaph also went to a leadership retreat at Greek Peak (and no, they didn’t get in trouble first).

We ended the year with the sum total of the multiple long-term investment pool (LTIP) accounts at their post-recession high of around $904K.  More importantly, total shares in the endowment are also at their second highest level ever (16,151) despite the loss of some non-Second Century Fund shares the previous year.  We believe that there will be another Giving Day in the spring, and if we can replicate the enthusiasm on social media that we had in 2015, we can approach the level of gifts we received.  Importantly, a significant number of Giving Day gifts were from non-alumni!  This is the best way to follow up the alumni phonathon, of course – by engaging new friends of the groups.   We also expect the LTIP payout to remain where it is or increase, and that should allow us to meet our budget for 2016 of approximately $146K in income over $124K in expenses.  We hope that the recent overages compensate for many years of extremely high pep band playoff expenses that had the budget in the red (see my last article elsewhere on the site for details).

Probably the most exciting news shared is a Human Ecology design class will be collaborating with the Bands to enhance the interior design of the Fischell Band Center.  Many of the remaining “punch list” items are those that will allow the space to better reflect the sense of history and tradition that we all have felt.  The class will be studying what the band does, how the space is used, and come up with upgrades that reflect this.  Importantly, two large photomurals that were given as named gifts will be designed in the course of this project.  This is exciting for everyone on the Advisory Council, and is expected to occur mainly in the spring semester.

Lastly, I have two requests.  If you are interested in learning more about the Alumni Association and how we work with both Cornell and the Bands, please reach out to me.  There is never a shortage of work to be done.  Additionally, if you are a veteran of BRBAA boards past – especially prior to the aughts – please let me know.  I’m trying to compile a roster of all our previous officers.  We have scant official records, and we’re trying to change that.  Importantly, we’re trying to proactively reach out to those how have contributed (as well as those who want to contribute) to the organization.

The Advisory Council will meet again in February, and if you have important issues you’d like us to address, please let me know.  Until then, let’s go red!, and I’ll see you at Penn, reunion or next fall!


Drum Majoring Away the Year: Olson Says Goodbye

Alumni Relations

12087125_878341745595017_2666193038923953909_oHey, all! In case you still haven’t heard enough of me, it’s Michaela, your 2014 and 2015 drum major! This season has been equally as exciting as the last (if not more so!) and the band has really accomplished an incredible amount. As a reminder of my background, I am a senior studying materials science engineering. I am formerly of the trumpet section, and still spend a lot of time there for pep band. In addition, this past summer, I marched trumpet for 7th Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, touring and performing all over the country (but that’s a story for another time).

Our first show this year was The Who show, in honor of their 50th anniversary. Pregame featured a medley of Who Are You and Won’t Get Fooled Again, where the band struck many dynamic poses on the field (to the immense approval of our alumni audience at homecoming!). Halftime shifted moods with I Can See For Miles and, of course, closed with Pinball Wizard, with the band crowding the podium for the final chords of the piece. Conducting Pinball Wizard at homecoming with the alumni band was an experience like no other. The absolute wall of sound as hundreds of instruments crowded the podium almost blew me right off! The show was then taken on the road to Yale where it continued to impress!

The second show was the ever-clever (K)Night show. Pregame was Knights of Cydonia, and the song featured a new drum break where the band marched some impressive pass-throughs. This show was also unique in that it was played at our home game against Colgate, which was Cornell football’s first Friday night game in its entire history! The band certainly held its own under the Friday night lights, continuing with a halftime of Some Nights and Nights in White Satin (featuring a thoroughly gorgeous trumpet duet). The show was performed again at the home game against Harvard, where, from the podium, I was able to hear the Harvard band cheer as the band knelt midway through the song. Clearly, they were quite impressed, as was I! In addition to the regular season Cornell football games, the band made appearances at not one, but two, pro football games! Okay, one of them was a Canadian football game, but still exciting. The band adapted well to the 55-yard line as we brought parts of both The Who and the (K)Night show to Montreal. Then, the following week, we made our appearance at Ralph-Wilson Stadium to perform at the halftime show for the Buffalo Bills! Getting the chance to perform at an NFL game was both terrifying and exciting, but overall, certainly unforgettable.

Also Check out our Preformance at the Bills Stadium on Facebook. Read More →

Inaugurations, Alouettes, Bills, Oh My! – Head Manager Update

Alumni Relations

EmilyIf I were to choose two words to sum up the past year, it would be these: pleasantly exhausting. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and my love for the only REAL marching band in the Ivy League and each of its members has only grown stronger with every game. Working with Michaela has been an absolute delight, and I could not have imagined running this Band with anyone else by my side. Being Head Manager has not only been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but it has also been one of the most thrilling and educational adventures I could ever imagine. As a Human Development major I study human behavior and individuality, but my studies pale in comparison to what this job has taught me about the human experience as both a leader and a friend.

After finishing up the Sesquicentennial celebrations in the spring, we once again played a part in making history at Cornell as we performed for the inauguration of Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell’s first female president. We were all thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to such a significant moment in the story of Cornell, and after having the new president speak at First Night a few weeks earlier, the entire event was even more meaningful to us.The very next day we had a successful Homecoming, then hit the ground running and took on a whopping five trips during this fall season! Three of these were our typical football trips to Yale, Princeton, and Penn; during which the Band put on phenomenal performances that put the other bands to shame.

Outside of our typical season, we also had the incredible opportunity to travel Montreal to perform for the Alouettes, and the entire Band had an amazing time performing in front of such a large crowd (even with my constant reminders about passports). But the fun didn’t stop there! After a surprise call at the end of August, I was able to book the Big Red Marching Band as the halftime entertainment at a Buffalo Bills game! The 4:00 am report time before the game was a bit daunting, but everyone made due and a group of freshmen had the adorable idea to sleep over in the band room—chaperoned by me and Michaela of course—to avoid an early hike from North Campus. A few hours later and after nearly a decade without an NFL performance, the Band had the chance to perform in front of over  70,000 fans in one of the most energetic stadiums in the country. While putting two pro- game trips together was no easy task, the looks of awe on everyone’s faces and Michaela’s borderline manic grin as the crowd cheered them on made the constant emails and stresses of working with professional football teams incredibly worthwhile.



This year I put a strong focus on giving more responsibility to the Bandstaph by holding a retreat that focused on leadership skills as well as trust and courage (as demonstrated on a high ropes course). We also met to review the Band’s Constitution to ensure that it remains current and pertinent to the organization. I also achieved a personal victory when I put into a place a plan that will replace our 26-year-old raincoats and provide the Band with an entirely new set within the next two years.

While my time as Head Manager of this amazing organization draws to a close, I have been thinking back on what drew me to this Band in the first place; the sense of family and community that (in my own opinion) is unmatched. Because of this, I know that stepping down and returning to the flute will only strengthen my love for this group, and that the piece of my heart that this group has claimed will never fade.

-Emily Isenstein ’16

Peppier Than Ever – Managing it All

Alumni Relations

11225101_925444370860988_2523051827537918183_oWhile the Marching Band season winds down, the Pep Band Season is surging into full swing as the Men’s and Women’s Hockey clubs began ECAC play just last weekend. Even though hockey is just starting up, the Pep Band has been very active already this fall. On top of Field Hockey, Volleyball and Sprint Football, the Pep Band has played at a wedding ceremony, the Big Red Blowout during orientation, as well as for notable Cornell Alum and decorated veteran, Frederick Crow ’51. We welcome new membership this semester and they are already gung ho about joining the Lynah Faithful.

The conductors for the spring are Emily Miller ’16 and Vincent Sheppard ’17. They are two of the most enthusiastic pep band members I’ve ever met. They rejuvenated the band this semester with all sorts of ideas like a day for Student Arrangements and some great new rehearsal ideas. Conveniently, having two conductors in two years means that each can conduct their own band at Red/White hockey. This year was a hard fought battle between the bands. There was playful animosity from both sides and creativity in rewriting Taylor Swift lyrics to insult the other group. Ultimately I’m pretty sure the Red Band won, as all juniors and sophomores know, though you may hear another story from elsewhere.

The rest of this semester holds even more excitement! There are three more hockey weekends in our future, with Colgate bringing a band to Lynah, Clarkson coming in during the last weekend of the semester, but most of all, Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden is coming up! The Big Red takes on Boston University on the biggest stage of the year (besides the NCAA championship, of course). The Pep Band will be out in full force to support our team during the game, so come stop by and say hi!

Keep an eye on the Pep Band next semester as we travel on three away trips, to North Country (1/29, 1/30), Quinnipiac and Princeton (2/05, 2/06), and of course, Harvard and Dartmouth (2/19. 2/20). Otherwise how will Cambridge know who loses and who dies?

This is the last Band Notes I will write as the Pep Band Manager, so I just wanted to thank everyone who made this year so spectacular. I’ll never forget the innumerable lessons that bossing around a couple hundred people taught me. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester plays out and I can’t wait to see all of you at our various events. Let’s Go Red!

-Henry “Pinto” Smith
2015 Pep Band Head Manager