Bass Drum Journal 2003
Bandies for Lifeby Dave Nierenberg '04, Manager 2002-2003
The Band continues to thrive because of the enthusiasm of its members and the loyalty of its alumni. Before I came to Harvard, I read about the 80th HUB Reunion that brought more than one hundred and fifty former members back to Cambridge. As I started to think about all of the wonderful qualities that make the Band unique, I realized that to understand why so many people come back every five years I need only look at why our new members join.
I was drawn in by the spirited and energetic members who greeted me at the freshman activities fair. I originally had no intention of joining the Band. While I enjoyed playing the saxophone, I also wanted to explore new interests and was slightly skeptical about the whole "marching" concept. After talking to several Bandies, I soon realized that the HUB is much more than just another music group. It is a unique blend of humor, tradition, service, student leadership, and fun that inspires more enthusiasm than any other organization on campus. I used to skim through old copies of the Bass Drum Journal when they arrived in the mail (my father is a '71 Crustie). I remember marveling at the passion and excitement of the students who wrote in its pages. Now that I find myself in the challenging yet immensely rewarding position of managing the Band, I hope that I can convey the same sentiments about a group that has become one of the most important aspects of my life at Harvard.
My previous job as treasurer gave me the opportunity to meet with all of the new members after they auditioned. I asked them all what brought them to the Band, and most of them explained that they simply loved playing and performing. Although we emphasize more than just our music, we have never lost sight of the fact that our sound is one of our most important priorities. We recruited an exceptionally talented freshmen class. Almost half of our new members are active in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Bands or other musical groups. The new student conductor doubled the usual number of winter rehearsals, and Bandies supplemented our usual favorites with more than thirty new arrangements. I'm not sure if we'll ever stop playing "Born to Run," but we have tried to update our music so that it remains fresh for us and relevant for our audience.
Other members are drawn to the Band because we are quite simply the most spirited and fun group on campus. Part of our recruiting efforts were specifically targeted toward prop crew, which had been in a state of decline for several years. After an extended absence, the white jump suits have made their triumphant return. We are also in the middle of a golden age in Harvard athletics, and we've capitalized by attracting a core group of loyal sports fans. The football team followed its undefeated 2001 season with a strong second place finish. Three of our winter teams are perennial title contenders. While campus interest in sporting events has waned over the years, we always provide more than enough energy and enthusiasm to compensate for the lack of a student fan contingent. The letters of appreciation we received from the coaches and players were extremely gratifying. I was amazed by the number of Bandies who postponed their spring break plans because of winter playoffs, even after travel complications forced me to do some last-minute rescheduling.
Of course, we do much more than just attend sporting events. The community service gigs consistently draw higher numbers than any of the regular games. We continued our annual traditions of Christmas caroling at Shriner's Hospital, kicking off the MS benefit walk, and marching with the children in the Duckling Day Parade. Our music also entertained and inspired at alumni gatherings, campus performances, and other local events.
Music and fun draw people into the Band, but the feelings of camaraderie and acceptance inspire the amazing dedication our members. The HUB provides an incredibly supportive and welcoming environment. Last year's manager described how our Mt. Auburn Street headquarters have become a second home for many Bandies. The new senior staff has worked to maintain this sense of community within the Band. The student conductor created a competitive foosball league that currently has more than thirty members. The drum major organized our annual post-finals ski trip in Canada. The Schneider has hosted countless social gatherings, movie nights, and outings. Whenever I go to my office, I can always expect to find a group of people working or socializing in the main room. The Band is close without being cliquish or insular. All of our members are involved in other activities, and the drill master has taken pains to make sure that our inside jokes stay in the Band Room and out of the shows.
Tradition provides the bridge between the Band's past and current members. New Bandies know that they are joining an organization with a rich and proud history. Our staff reinstituted the position of HUB historian, and a dedicated freshman has spent many hours pouring through our extensive archives. It has been fascinating to look back and see how the Band has evolved. In the past year we have eliminated some our more esoteric cheers, changed the rehearsal format, and modified the staff structure, but our core values haven't changed.
It's hard to believe that our seniors will soon be joining the ranks of the HUB alums. In so many ways, the outgoing staff exemplified everything that is great about the Band. Courtenay, Chris, Erin, Courtney and Bud were an amazing group of people who led with dignity and vision. I expect that the new senior staff of Chris, Jack, Diana, and Matt will also be able to leave its unique mark on the Band. We have set high goals for the rest of the year: we plan to reevaluate our winter schedule, improve our long-range financial planning, strengthen our relationships with other campus groups, start preparing for the 85th Reunion extravaganza, and lay the foundation for a 2004 spring tour. Judging from the dedication of the senior staff and the enthusiasm of our underclassmen, I am confident that the future of the Band will be in good hands.
"Womens' Voices Just Get Lost" and Other MythsCourtney A. Roberts, '03, Drill Master 2001-2002
I can still remember the butterflies in my stomach in late November 2001 as I retreated to my tiny dorm room in Lowell to read my aged and fragile Drill Master manual for the very first time. What time-honored and cherished secrets was I about to discover? How to hold the band's attention from the dizzying heights of The Pole? How to slip obscene innuendos past Tom? How to subtly undermine the authority of the manager to get your way with every show? Well, okay, there was some of that. But the part that really got to me was the ominous recommendation: "don't let a woman do the announcing if you can at all help it." Well, great. There's a real confidence booster. It was daunting enough to be the first female Drill Master to potentially make it through an entire football season. Having your own manual doubt you, well, that was terrifying.
But as it turned out, I needn't have worried. My voice carried, the band listened, and more often than not, the audience laughed. No longer does the realm of Drill Master necessarily need be a man's world. Looking back, it was a fantastic year, even if those butterflies never did really go away. Allow me to reminisce
Holy Cross: Crimson 28 - Crusaders 23
For our first show of the year, we focused on changes being made to the well-known Let's Go travel guides, published by Harvard students. We first picked on Worcester, but frankly found that just too easy to be much of a challenge, so we moved on to our second-favorite local population to rip on - freshmen. The new guide "Let's Go on a Date" suggested heading to the Quad (those kids are desperate), but the frosh just couldn't find their way, no matter how hard they tried.
Brown: Crimson 26 - Bears 24
The next week the Band faced its first road trip as well as the aftermath of Columbia's faux pas at Fordham and the resulting wrath of the Catholic Church. We focused our show on an entirely different focal point for millions of followers - Fox's summer reality show American Idol. Our suggestions for new "idyllic" spin-offs were going fine until Providence major Buddy Cianci showed up and took his frustration out on my kneecaps. Luckily, a spectacular musical finish, an arrangement of Sweet Home Alabama contributed by frosh Darryl Campbell, '06, spared me from having to whimper through another joke.
Cornell: Crimson 52 - Big Red 23
For our showdown at home with the Big Red, we decided on a psychology-themed show. After Hannibal Lecter graced us with a pregame guest appearance, we attempted to explain the superiority of Harvard grads over Cornell grads using Freudian psychoanalysis. After an inkblot test and a word-association exercise we closed with a number guaranteed to challenge the sanity of even the most type-A students among us - It's a Small World - complete with full-band animatronic motion.
Northeastern: Crimson 14 - Huskies 1
This week we began to experiment with a show format that would be a trademark of the 2002 season. We modeled the show after an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music," weaving in much little known HUB history, including our influence on the Protestant Reformation, the lyrics to Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady," and the 8 missing minutes from Nixon's Watergate tapes. Utilizing leitmotifs and short strains of songs arranged just for this show, we were able to successfully integrate musical moments into the text to create a thoroughly theatrical and attention-grabbing halftime experience. For our finale, we invited 3 famous HUB "alums" out onto the field to play with us one last time: Ron Jeremy, Richard Simmons, and everyone's favorite dancing attorney general, Janet Reno.
Princeton Crimson 24 - Tigers 17
This week the Band truly outdid itself. Taking a clue from one of my personal heroes, Jon Stewart, we modeled our show after a late-night comedy monologue, relying on short current-events related humor interspersed with abbreviated tunes. We felt this would be more entertaining for the audience, and it allowed me to write jokes about such varied subjects as Cornel West's defection, Anna Nicole Smith's mental vacancy, President Bush, Lex Luthor, the state of New Jersey, and the summer's spying scandal between Princeton and yale. All in all, after traveling to NYC the night before for our annual Harvard Club concert and leaving for New Haven at 6am, the band learned no less than 9 formations and parts of 6 different show tunes in a cold morning drizzle. At halftime, despite being interrupted on the field by an impatient Princeton band, we didn't miss a single cue! Bravo, Band!
Dartmouth: Crimson 31 - Big Green 26
This week saw another halftime innovation. We combined the rhyming style of Dr. Seuss with the plot template of a Scooby-Doo episode for a wholly unique Dartmouth creation. Four teens and their sheep, Scooby-Ewe, were called upon to solve a case of beer tampering at the Dartmouth frats. While clues first pointed to everyone's favorite neighbor, Mr. Rogers, the whole situation turned out to be part of a bitter dispute between 2 candidates in the New Hampshire senate race.
Columbia: Crimson 28 - Lions 7
This week's show was a true collaboration an astonishing four drill master candidates contributed independent show ideas that I somehow rolled into six and a half semi-coherent minutes of hilarity. During pregame we went on a bit of an offensive against a timeless thorn in our side, The Harvard Crimson. At halftime, we confused Columbia the university with Colombia the Latin-American nation, which led to quite a few amusing comparisons. My personal favorite: "Both share a rampant drug problem, both are ruled by unstable governments, and both have literacy rates of just over ninety percent." To put the icing on the cake, after nearly freezing to death the past week in Hanover, we were blessed with a beautiful Indian summer afternoon in which to initiate our freshmen and new members. Nat Dickey seemed to especially revel in his "sophomore" status, as frosh Brett Wortzman will tell you (once he gets the rest of the shaving cream out of his hair).
Pennsylvania: Crimson 9 - Quakers 44
Much media frenzy surrounded the game this week, which was a rematch of the 2001 Ivy League title game. ESPN gameday provided live pregame coverage and the game was broadcast on the YES network. While the football team didn't live up to the hype, the Band continued its streak of great performances. Doing my best Chris Berman impression, the text imitated an over-the-top SportsCenter broadcast that happened to confuse UPenn with Penn State. In addition, the band got to form perhaps its favorite formation since the 2000 Princeton game. Which school is still fuming 3 months later? Penn is!
yale: Crimson 20 - Bulldogs 13
Ah, yale. Both a Drill Master's greatest showcase and worst fear. After an interminable week filled with extra drill meetings, tense negotiations with the athletic department, long nights of prop construction, midnight invasions by drunk yalies, little sleep and absolutely no class attendance, the day of The Game dawned crisp and cold. During field rehearsal bitter winds and flurries had bandies huddled in packs instead of spread into letters and I worried that my frozen hands wouldn't be able to grip the rungs on my way down the pole. But by gametime helpful crusties had arrived with extra clothes, gloves and blankets, and we were ready to beat the yPMB at their own game.
Knowing that the crowd would be loud and crazed, our show kept text to a minimum and focused on awesome music and shocking visual stunts. For the first joke I was joined in the booth by a favorite professor among Bandies, Bert Vaux, who satirized the keg ban with his spoken-word song "No Booze Blues." Then we brought out a giant paper-mache bulldog suspended from a 12-foot gallows as the crowd's cheers escalated to a roar. Our effigy was first flogged by Dean of Students Harry R. Lewis, who received a standing ovation, and then mutilated by its very creator, chainsaw-wielding Keith Berkoben, '04. While the crowd chanted "yale sucks!" the Band rocked out playing "Get it On" and I received a final handshake and hug from all my new friends up in the press booth. Realizing that all good things must end, I slowly returned to the stands to douse my successor in champagne, surrender the black coat, and pick up my long-neglected tenor sax.
All in all, it was a fantastic season. We made great creative strides, both in arranging new music and experimenting with fresh show formats. Despite horrendous weather, our numbers and sound remained strong. Through thick and thin, Courtenay, Chris, Erin, Bud and I remained a cohesive unit, working day in and day out to make the Band the best that it could be, and I have enormous respect and admiration for each of them. Turning the Band over to a new administration was a bittersweet experience, for I will miss all the wonderful times I had over the past year, but I sleep easy knowing that the new Senior Staff will only continue to improve upon what we have done, and I look forward to the fruits of their labors. From where I stand, the future of this organization looks very, very bright.
Courtney A. Roberts, '03
Finding a Home at the HUBby Chris Lamie '04, Student Conductor 2001-2002
For a new freshman, Harvard can be a pretty overwhelming place. I can still remember trying to find my way around, and finding classes to take and a concentration to pursue. However, I didn't have to worry about finding extracurricular activities, because the extracurriculars found me.No matter where I went those first few weeks, I was bombarded by student groups recruiting their newest members. Activities fairs, open houses, comp meetings, flyers, students door to door.... One of the ways Harvard has changed over the years is that while the student population has not increased dramatically, the number of student organizations has. There are nearly a hundred student groups, with several added every year. Of these, a third are musical in nature. For the freshman, this means having to say no to an awful lot of people. Fortunately, I decided to stick with the Harvard Band. After a fun fall of football and road trips (not to mention passing freshman cuts!), I was hooked. Since then, I've always had a place to go, people to talk to, and things to do outside of schoolwork. Leaving home and coming to a completely new place can be scary, so it's very helpful for a new freshman to find a community, a subgroup, a niche. I found that place in the Harvard Band. But while I'm now comfortable with my place at Harvard, my experience on Senior Staff has given me a chance to reflect on how the freshman challenge - finding a niche - is very much related to the challenges facing our own 83-year-old organization. Sure, some things about the Band never change. We still play Ten Thousand Men of Harvard and cheer on the football team. And we're still both a musical group and a social group. But we've also adapted to the growth of winter sports and women's sports, and we've tried to keep our repertoire up to date with new arrangements every year. And over the last year, with input from the Foundation, past senior staffs, and our members, we've given a lot of thought to how we can adapt to new challenges, like the proliferation of student groups on campus. Not only do we face ever-increasing competition for freshmen recruits, but we also face increasing pressure to stand out in a crowded field, both for numbers and for our reputation as a special part of Harvard. In short, finding the Band's niche is still an active process in a changing community. Returning for football games, many alums have remarked that the Band seems smaller now than it was at many times in the past. We marched an average of 50 or so this fall - a far cry from the days of well over a hundred on the field. Our core group of Bandies is as dedicated as ever, but there just aren't as many of us. Why? Some will point out that in a social context, pop culture has put an increasingly negative stigma on being a "band geek;" or that at Harvard, the general student populace has lost interest in traditional notions of "school spirit," like attending sporting events. But it certainly doesn't help that we have many other organizations competing for the same limited pool of musicians (not to mention that many of Harvard's best musicians are also sought-after as athletes, actors, etc.). In response, the Band has already identified ways it can step up recruiting, and it is developing more. Projects include a new mailing targeted to incoming freshmen, an increased presence at activities fairs, and a new fight-song teach-in that we coordinated with the Crimson Key and the Glee Club during this past September. Our new staff will undoubtedly bring a wealth of additional ideas to the table. Yet the Band already has a number of unique "selling points" that we can emphasize to new members. As a musical group, the Band offers a chance to perform often. Sure, we rehearse, but our performance-to-rehearsal ratio is much higher than, say, an orchestra that rehearses twice a week for one concert per semester. While many groups are student-run, the Band offers students an unparalleled chance to arrange music, to create shows, and to set the tone and direction of the group. And of course, we run around the field, throw flowers, and dance around in the stands. We're a musical group, but we're not afraid to show that we really enjoy what we do! Because we purport to provide both entertainment and music, we have the difficult task of convincing the Harvard community that we're both a legitimate fun/humor organization and a legitimate musical organization. This is no easy task at Harvard, where students tend to be rather critical of everything, from the administration to world leaders to other student groups--just pick up a copy of the Crimson! And it's particularly difficult to gain respect as a musical organization at a college in which some of the world's greatest young musicians perform in world-renowned orchestral and choral groups. But we can start by convincing ourselves that we care how we sound! This year, we worked hard to improve our use of rehearsal time, taking time to warm up thoroughly and to really polish our songs. We created some exciting new arrangements for full band, including some by our gifted class of freshmen. Our section leaders led weekly sectionals, and introduced a lot of great new section cheers, too. Courtney put a huge effort into creating shows where we could play good songs that fit the general theme, rather than more obscure tunes that might just fit a particular joke. And with a heightened emphasis on punctuality, rehearsal attendance, and being musically prepared, we got compliments not just on how we looked, but also on how we sounded! Still, I see limits to how far we can emphasize musicality. We can't pretend to be something we're not. We're not the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, and we will never sound like they do. But we also have field shows, props, and excitement cheers, because we're more than just a musical organization! The Harvard Band is an embodiment of Harvard spirit, Harvard tradition, and our own whimsical mockery of tradition. For our numbers and for our reputation, we have an obligation to try to be both as musical and as fun as we possibly can - within the constraints of our flexible commitment, our high performance-to-rehearsal ratio, and our student leadership. After all, these "limitations" are also the assets that allow us to stand out among a crowded field of groups recruiting freshmen. I truly believe the key to our success is maintaining and emphasizing our unique assets while continuing to allow the Band to reevaluate itself and change from within. Open dialogue will allow us to adapt to a changing world, and continue to improve our reputation and standing in the community by improving things like musicality (without sacrificing the other ideals of the Band). I'm proud that our Senior Staff was willing to open up dialogue, question the status quo, and make some important changes. Courtenay, Courtney, Bud, and Erin - thank you all for being so supportive of me in all my efforts, and for having the courage to make some very difficult decisions, always with the best interests of the Band at heart. Your example will serve well to guide future staffs in the continuing quest to define the Band's niche at Harvard. Finally: to Tom and Nat, thank you for all your support and musical guidance. To our alumni: thank you for your continued support of our efforts. And to my successor, Jack: good luck! I know you'll do a fine job helping the Band to sound better and better.
Through Thick and Thin and Soaking Wetby Bud Vana '03, Drum Major 2001-2002
Reflecting on the position of Drum Major, there are certain duties that seem to come to fore; the pumping of the mace is crucial, the appropriate timing when firing the gun is critical, but perhaps the most vital and irreversible characteristic for the Drum Major is his or her constant control over Mother Nature. I fear that of the three duties, I was most deficient in this final trait, and as a result the Band had to pay for my delinquency time and time again.
The beginning of this declining mastery over the weather must have begun last year during May's Make Way for Ducklings parade. Eagerly waiting the morning of the parade for it to get canceled was to no avail. As the band emerged from the T station at Park Street, we could see that few spectators were crazy enough to want to join us out in the rain, but we still we stayed. The conclusion that came from the day is this: though ducks may not get wet, the band does.
Perhaps when it poured during Commencement, someone should have started to wonder. I would like to think that it might have been Larry Summers' fault; maybe he forgot to call in the appropriate Trinidadian voodoo doctor to sacrifice a monkey to keep the skies clear. In retrospect, it probably was my bad, though Larry could have only helped the situation. Despite the misery of it all, the band persevered and showed that drenched commencement audience though perhaps a bad omen had fallen on the graduating class, sitting drenched underneath the first cloudy sky for commencement, the HUB could still preserve the musical tradition to the ceremony.
So I went home for the summer and quickly, studied up for my key role in the climate of the season. And two beautiful games into the season, one would have thought that indeed, I had succeeded in taming the foul spirits of the sky. Not even my cell phone with its Weather.com Internet capability, treasured third only to the gun and the mace, could help the calamity that awaited the rest of out season.
After housing the hordes of Cornellians who arrived two hours late (one of their buses had ended up in Maine), both the Cornell manager and I looked at the radar screen and then each other and asked, "Why, why?" I can report, however, that Cornell all-weather jacket will never compare to our Helium-Balloon Red ponchos.
Though I don't recall that it rained particularly hard at Northeastern, the weather wasn't good, and that I will tell you for free. I remember looking at a puny Northeastern pep band and piddly puppy dog mascots running around the cheerleaders and I seem to remember that at one point, I thought, boy, it's a good thing they didn't bring anymore people to get rained on in the cement bleachers which hold water all too well.
Our trip to Princeton started off fine. With the exception of the moment when the band had to step out of the bus for a second to physically move a car which obstructed the bus's ability to turn a particularly tight corner. After getting up all too early to travel from the city to New Jersey, all that waited for us there was a soggy field and a little drizzle. Though the game itself was dry, there was not one among us who walked away without brown shoes and pants.
Now heading north, the band rarely encounters rain when traveling to scenic, Hanover, New Hampshire. This year we met the remnants of a blizzard and practiced in half a foot of snow. Aided by hot chocolate and halftime ramen noodles, the band kept its cool, warmly, and watched, with an occasional shiver as the sons of crim tripped up the Big Green. In the end, we left Dartmouth with nearly no casualties.
When the irreverent Columbia University Marching Band came knocking, also arriving nearly two hours late, we housed them all with ease. After watching the storm clouds roll in, I did not wait for the usually ritual sacrifice of the Drum Major by a rightfully concerned band member and ran onto the nearby field hockey field whose artificial turf was being watered (why they do this still puzzles me) and performed a hari-kari self sacrifice. Amazingly enough, it did not rain, but being so close to the end of my tenure, I could not repeat this successful tactic.
Perhaps the worst of the weather came when we traveled to Philadelphia. It not only rained the entire practice, the entire game and most of the ride home, but ESPN, who had been slated to shoot the biggest Ivy league game of the year, got rained out. As the Crimson were cremated, we got wetter and wetter, and the crowd got rowdier and rowdier, but I have a report from reliable sources that despite their fervor, the drunken Penn frat boys were yet again thwarted by indestructible goalposts and the native wildlife of the Schuykle River are safe from football injury once more.
By yale, I began to think rehearsing in Lowell lecture hall with the ponchos on might be a valid precaution. But as the time until yale got shorter and shorter, the frequency of my checks of the weather report also diminished. I knew that the weather was going to be fair according to a Friday evening report. When the snow began to fly horizontally as the wind almost whipped the band off the bridge into the Charles, I knew that drastic measures were necessary to teach Mother Nature to deserve. As the band practiced in the freezing cold without two pairs of gloves among the entire band, I rapidly called in the "air support," so to speak, that being the previous Drum Major and a slew of crusties and other bandies to bring warm clothing for our unprepared marching machine. But the practically amphibious training they had received throughout the season proved to have seasoned them enough to withstand even this degree of inclement weather. No one complained. No one even questioned where their duty lied. And I almost cried to see such a finely tuned instrument as the band was at that moment, but the thought that my tears would freeze to my face was enough to halt the idea. And as my term came to an end, the skies opened and it wasn't so bad anymore. And as expected, the band and the rest of Harvard won that day.
Conductor's Cornerby Tom Everett
"Crusties;" "Old Band;" "New Band;" "YooHoo" in the Coke machine; "Miller" in the Coke machine; male cheerleaders and megaphones; female cheerleaders and gymnastics at football; 9 Prescott Street; 74 Mt. Auburn Street; "Each tub on its own bottom;" new financial support from University Hall and the Athletic Department; the everchanging social and political climate; offices in the basement of the privately owned Varsity Club; sharing a University-maintained building with the Office for the Arts; a charge account at Martinetti's; filing yearly audited non-profit income taxes; the lost of Elsies; the popularity of the Wrap; the HUB continues to "hang in there."
When asked what the difference is between the "old band" and the present organization, I continue to respond, "There is no difference." The Band has always had two constants which remain:
1. The solid sound of traditional Harvard songs, performed with spirit, reflecting the group's sense of community, camaraderie, spontaneity, and fun; and
2. The ever-changing bandthat is a constant! The band has been, continues to be, and hopefully always will be an organization working within the tradition while reflecting the views, priorities, and perspectives of the undergraduate members and staff.
This will be the third year of the full-time Assistant Director of Bands position. Mark E. Olson is now in that position following Nat Dickey.
Mark will take on a new section of responsibilities with the Band. Attending most of the football games, Mark will travel with the Band and work closely with staff during football season. He also directs the Sunday Jazz Band, co-conducts the Wind Ensemble, is the University officer who oversees the use of percussion, works closely with University Hall and the OFA, shares responsibility of auditioning, recruiting, publicity and meeting prospective students, and works closely with each group in the development and maintenance of databases. Mark's varied band experience will be of great service as the Band faces new challenges on the changing campus.
In closing, I'd like to thank former Assistant Director Nat Dickey, the staff, and students for their kindness, understanding and picking up loose ends during my three-month recovery from a successful full hip replacement.
I must share the experience of conducting the "Banner" at this year's home yale game. Because of my hip, I could not get down the conductor's ladder, and in fear of being atop the ladder throughout the entire game, asked StudCon Chris Lamie if he could help me down without too much of a fuss. I didn't want to embarrass myself or the Band. Well, at the conclusion of the Banner, as the Band strolled off the field to "10,000 Men," I looked down to see Chris, three "brawny" Prop Crew members, a bandie, the drum major, and an alum all smiling up at me. They carried me off the ladder in "Pregame" victory style. Thanks Band.
Congratulations to Courtenay Kessler and her Staff for their time, raising of standards and dedicated work in 2001-'02. With David Nierenberg and his new "youthful" gang, I assure you all, the band remains in good hands.
Long live the HUB.
UNCLE SCHNEIDER WANTS YOU!!
by Deborah Luth Bedell, Wellesley '73/'74, HLS '76
I'm not sure that in the fall of 1970, the HUB intended the Schneider trip to Wellesley as a recruiting run, but that's how it turned out. Seems that a tuba-playing Schneider was the roommate of a high school friend, and the next thing I knew, I was the first Wellesley woman in the HUB.
I joined 'Cliffies Evelyn Tate and Helen Snively in that first football season with marching female Bandies, and I think we were a bit of a shock for all involved. (I later recruited another Wellesley classmate, Amanda Mitchell, a Hawaiian who thought the first frost she saw was snow, but I think the Band was a bit too tough for her.)
Within a week, I had managed to make a short black skirt and buy a crimson blazer with a Big Drum patch, but found myself on a bus to New York for the Columbia game sans the essential black shoes. Fortunately, a fellow Bandie who was familiar with NYC took me up to the wilds of Yonkers so I could find a store open to make the necessary purchase.
I don't think Alice "Mom" Tondel, of revered memory, was particularly eager to have other women in the Band. (Band-dates didn't count-Alice was the ONLY official Band woman until we crashed the party.) Times being what they were, Alice insisted that women Bandies had to wear skirts. That lasted until about late-October, when I staged a revolt and announced at a Friday night rehearsal that black pants could be obtained in the Square, and we no longer had to subject ourselves to the frigid winds of New England's late fall weather. That was the end of marching in skirts.
Mom also had to adjust to Band-dates of the male persuasion. Not to worry, though-they received the same yellow flowers to pin on their coats as the girl dates, entitling them to sit in the Band section of the stands during pre-games and half-times. And then, of course, there were Bandies dating (and eventually marrying) each other. Shocking!
I believe I was also the first female pioneer on the Raunch Bus. Band-dates, of course, were strictly forbidden to ride the Raunch Bus on the way to games, but as a Bandie...suffice it to say, the experience was quite a revelation. (Is there still a Raunch Bus???)
The only real problem I had as a Wellesley Bandie was that the Band administration was a bit sheepish about telling the world about me-so my name never appeared on Concert Band programs until I was legit -a 1L at the Law School.
I dined out for years after graduation on stories about chugging Brown Punch, halftime shows about Amy the Ameba and Peter the Paramecium, getting older Bandies to purchase my flasks of cherry or peach schnapps before games, and the Penn Trip (didn't matter when you were in the Band, the Penn Trip was ALWAYS the worst experience of your career) when the Drillmaster got drunk on the way TO the game and spent most of the Connecticut Turnpike passed out in the bus restroom.
Probably my most significant historical memory was listening to the news of Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre of Harvard's Archie Cox as Watergate Special Prosecutor and Elliot Richardson as Attorney General while riding in the prop truck on the way back from Cornell. My fondest personal memory is probably of my Band boyfriend the Drum Major (who shall remain nameless), and of our becoming an integral part of a Brown half-time show by kissing (at length) in the middle of the football field, to the Brown Band's consternation-they couldn't figure out when our half had ended. (He's now a professor in the Midwest.) And I wonder if Tom Everett remembers our adventure at a concert featuring Charles Ives's "America?" (I do!)
I'd love to hear from fellow Bandies of my era-Dbedell@Engenia.com will reach me. Perhaps I'll see you at the Princeton game (my daughter will be a freshman there next fall.)
Wind Ensemble Update
At the 83rd Annual Dartmouth Concert on November 1, 2003 in Sanders Theatre, the Wind Ensemble performed American music inspired by dance. Nat Dickey led the ensemble in William Schuman's classic "Chester Overture," followed by Tom Everett conducting two of Russell Bennett's "Symphonic Songs" and "Solitary Dancer" by Warren Benson. Leroy Anderson's "Forgotten Dreams" (flute soloist: Lindsey Yock '04) was dedicated to Band alumni who had recently passed away, and Nat closed the WE program with Henry Fillmore's "His Honor" march.
The Dartmouth Concert was the group's third performance in less than two weeks. Two days before the Princeton game, they performed an outreach concert at Baldwin High School on Long Island, followed the next night by a performance shared with the Band at the Harvard Club of New York.
In December, the WE once again participated in the Boston Share-A-Composer Consortium by preparing a program in honor of distinguished American composer Norman Dello Joio. Unfortunately, Dello Joio had to cancel his planned trip to Boston due to health concerns, but he sent a heart-warming message and a brass fanfare that he composed especially for the Harvard concert, which took place on Saturday, December 7 in Lowell Hall. In addition to the fanfare, the WE performed Dello Joio's "Variants on a Medieval Tune," "Scenes from the Louvre," and "Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn," as well as Arnold Schoenberg's masterpiece for winds, "Theme and Variations, Op. 43a." Tom and Nat again shared conducting duties for this concert.
With Tom on leave through March, Nat worked with the new WE staff, baritone saxophonist Stephanie Cincotta '04 and trumpeter Nick Jameson '06, to plan winter/spring activities. First on the list was the inaugural "Concert Band Beanpot" on Sunday, February 16 at Northeastern's Blackman Auditorium. Conceived by HUB and HWE alum Allen Feinstein '86, Northeastern's Director of Bands, the concert featured groups from Northeastern, Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University.
On March 2, the Northeastern Concert Band came to Harvard as part of an intercollegiate exchange sponsored by the Office for the Arts. Under the direction of Nat Dickey and Allen Feinstein, both groups performed in Sanders Theatre. Each presented a short program of its own, followed by a combined performance of Hector Berlioz's monumental work for band, the "Grande Symphonie funebre et triumphale." The second movement, a "funeral sermon" for trombone and winds, featured Nat Dickey.
This past spring, the WE also collaborated with a group of aspiring young composers at the Cambridgeport School in Cambridge and our annual performance at Arts First on Saturday, May 3 at 1:00 PM on the steps of Memorial Church. This fall, WE looks forward to the Dartmouth concert, and is currently gearing up for a new season.
Jazz Bands Update
Following "Mood Crimson," the highly-successful 30th Anniversary of the Harvard Jazz Band, the Monday Band, under Tom Everett, started the new school year with a tribute to the late Ray Brown, Miles Davis, and Joe Henderson at the Dartmouth Concert. The group performed Ellington's "Ko-Ko," Ray Brown's "Gravy Waltz" (commissioned from arranger Dick Lieb), Miles Davis' "So What," Charles Mingus' "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive-Ass Slippers," and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps."
The Sunday Band continued to forge its own identity under Nat Dickey's direction, inviting Boston composer Ayn Inserto, a protigi of well-known trombonist and composer Bob Brookmeyer, to work with the group on one of her own compositions, "Foxboro Suite," which led to a commission of an interpretive arrangement of Joe Henderson's "Recorda Me" from Inserto.
In December, with the support of the Learning from Performers Program of the Office for the Arts (OFA), the Jazz Bands hosted guest artist Joanne Brackeen for a four-day residency. Currently dividing her time between New York and Boston, where she teaches at the Berklee College of Music, Brackeen has led a stellar career, first as a touring pianist with Art Blakey, Stan Getz, and Joe Henderson and later as a bandleader in her own right. Her powerful style, rhythmic virtuosity, and colorful, imaginative approach to composing and improvising were showcased in a visit to Dr. Ingrid Monson's jazz course, a piano masterclass, and a concert with the Jazz Bands in Lowell Hall on December 14, 2002.
The first half of the concert featured the Sunday Band premiering the Inserto arrangement of "Recorda Me," Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'," and the Woody Herman Band's arrangement of Chick Corea's "La Fiesta." Next, Brackeen played a mesmerizing solo version of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," then performed her own crackling composition "Haiti B" with the Monday Band's rhythm section. After intermission, the Monday Band performed more of Brackeen's compositions (with her participation on piano): "Pink Elephant Magic," "Beethoven Meets the Millennium in Spain," and "Cram 'n Exam," as well as combo performances of "Black Swan" and "Ghost Butter." (Meanwhile, the Sunday Band had run off to perform for a raucous dance crowd at the Adams Formal. For the second year in a row, the Formal and the December jazz concert fell on the same night, making it a busy one for all concerned!)
Friday, February 21, 2003 was the 7th annual Harvard Club Jazz Combo Festival, hosted by the Harvard Club of Boston. Four undergraduate combos participated this year, evaluated by guest adjudicator Jeff Covell, a Boston-based pianist and teacher at Berklee. The ensembles ranged from a Dixie-influenced quartet of baritone saxophone/trumpet/two trombones to a mini-orchestra of violin/bass/flute/trumpet/piano/guitar. The audience heard four strikingly different version of the required tune ("Just in Time" by Jule Styne) and some unusual and evocative choices for additional material, including a beautiful arrangement from Aaron Copland's "Tender Land" ballet and a blistering performance of Joe Henderson's "Mo' Joe."
This April, at the annual OFA sponsored concert, the jazz bands performed a program entitled "Beyond Recall: the Progressive Tradition in Jazz" with guest artists Dave Douglas and Roswell Rudd. The artist residencies began with trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas visiting a Monday Band rehearsal on December 2. A fascinating contemporary artist with diverse influences, he exhorted the students to create their own music from scratch, and this became a central component of the project: student compositions and arrangements. The residency included open rehearsals (in which Rudd, a visionary trombonist fascinated with collective improvisation and spontaneous forms, generated a conceptual work for the concert), a panel discussion, and various opportunities for students and guest artists to interact and share ideas. The culminating concert featured both Jazz Bands, duets between Douglas and Rudd, and performances by each of them with additional guest artists Charlie Kohlhase and Brad Jones.
This coming year, the Jazz Bands look forward to two special concerts. The first, to be held December 13 (Lowell Hall, 8pm) will feature music by Boston Jazz Composers. It will feature music by Nat Pierce, Ralph Burns, Jaki Byard, George Russell, and Jeff Friedman. Phil Wilson will also be featured as a guest composer and trombonist. On April 17 (Sanders Theater, 8pm), the OFA will be sponsoring the second concert, honoring Master Jazz Guitarist Jim Hall. Both events promise to be exciting, and we hope to see you there.
Stephen D. MacDiarmid Award
The Stephen D. MacDiarmid '77 Award is presented each year to two of the outstanding musicians who join one of the band's Ensembles. Stephen D. MacDiarmid '77 was a diverse musician, performing with the Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, writing arrangements and conducting during winter sports season.
One of this year's recipients is Jamie Silver '06, a native of Coral Springs, Florida and award-winning soloist with her school's nationally acclaimed ensemble. She has performed 1st chair in the Florida All-State Band, and plans to concentrate in Biology. She is active in the Band and Wind Ensemble.
The other recipient is trumpeter Darryl Campbell '06 from McMinnville, Oregon. Contemplating a concentration in History, Darryl has added an octave to most of our Harvard ensembles. He was a member of the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra, the 2001 and 2002 Oregon All-State Jazz Bands, and has performed alongside the Roy Hargrove Jazz Quintet. Darryl performs with the Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Herald Trumpets, and arranges for the Band.
Malcolm Holmes Scholarship
The Malcolm Holmes '29 Scholarship is given each year to two of the most dedicated and hard-working new members of the Harvard Band. The award is named in honor of Malcolm Holmes, beloved conductor of the Band during much of the '40s and '50s. This year's recipients were Brett Wortzman '06 and Nick Jameson '06.
Brett Wortzman attended Stoughton High School in Massachusetts, and performed trombone in most of the school's ensembles. He founded the Brass Quintet, and received the Most Outstanding Trombone Award at the 2001-2002 Norwood Jazz Classic. Brett was also captain of the math team and the School Improvement Council. He anticipates a concentration in Mathematics and Computer Science. He presently performs with the Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band.
Trumpeter Nick Jameson graduated from McLean High School in Virginia. For two years he led the marching band as student conductor and drum major. He was selected as a member of the Virginia All-State Band and Orchestra every year in High School. Nick has also performed in brass ensembles in the D.C. area. He was a member of his school's swim team and has served as a coach to the local team. He plans to remain active in the Band, Wind Ensemble, and Herald Trumpets while concentrating in Biology.
Chief Tonis, who saved the drum, dies
Former Harvard Chief of Police and Honorary Member of the Band, Robert Tonis, died on April 8th. He was 94. Mr. Tonis grew up in Brockton and lived many years in Weymouth, Hull and Barnstable. Earning and English degree from Dartmouth College, he then entered Boston University Law School. In 1935, he married Paula Miller and joined the FBI, where he worked on the famed Brinks robbery.
In 1962 he retired to become Chief of Police at Harvard . The "Chief" was active in the Harvard Community, loved the Band (often guest speaking at the Band Banquet on a few hours' notice), helped found the Band Foundation, was a beekeeper and loved jazz and Italian opera. The Band will forever be indebted to the Chief for saving the drum in the early 1970s when crazed Brownies stole it.
The 84th Annual Dartmouth Concert will be dedicated to Chief Tonis. J. Mark Schuster '72 has requested that anyone with memories, stories or questions about the Chief to please contact him at email@example.com.
Dean Epps, 66, Dies
On Thursday, August 21, retired Dean of Students Archie C. Epps died following heart surgery. He was 66. Dean of Students from the turbulent '60s until 1999 when Dean David Illingworth was appointed Assistant Dean of the College, Archie worked closely with two generations of drill masters and over the years became a great fan and staunch supporter of the Band.
Good luck Nat, Welcome Mark
Nat Dickey, Assistant Director of Bands since fall 2001, has taken a new position at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He will serve as Assistant Director of Bands and Professor of Trombone. We wish Nat the best of luck with his family and his career.
On July 23, Mark E. Olson, from University of Minnesota and, most recently, Director of Bands at Graceland University in Iowa, was appointed new Assistant Director of Bands at Harvard. Mark, a trumpet performer, will direct the Sunday Jazz Band, share conducting responsibilities for the Wind Ensemble, travel with the marching band, and oversee much of the administrative matters of the bands. Be sure to say hello if you are at a game or visiting the band room!