Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat do I have to do to join the Band?
What does the Band do?
How much do I have to do with the Band?
Current student? Contact us by calling 617-496-BAND (2263) or emailing the Band Manager, Ally Freedy, to set up an audition or get more information.
If you're an incoming freshman planning to join the Band, we suggest you plan to pack your instrument (of course!), lyre, and our basic uniform parts: white collared button-down shirt, black pants, black shoes, and black socks. We have specially designed blazers and ties for purchase to complete the Harvard Band look. Don't worry if you don't have your own instrument. The Band owns plenty of instruments and is more than willing to let any of its members use them while they are here.
For Band: scales, sight reading a fight song
For Wind Ensemble: sight reading, short prepared piece
For Jazz Band: sight reading Big Band charts, prepared solo or chart, blues improvisation to recorded rhythm section
Most auditions are during Freshman Week, but those who wish to join the Band after that time are welcome to contact us and schedule an audition time. Look for audition sign-up forms on the website later this summer.
Well, sort of. To play in the Band, you should show musical competence. Our mission is partly educational, however, so we welcome those who would like to improve their budding musical skills or to learn a new instrument. Just call us.
Another way to get involved it to join our Prop Crew. They enjoy all the fun of the Band by supporting its non-musical endeavors, including playing and protecting our enormous bass drum, Bertha.
The Wind Ensemble and the Jazz Bands, however, are more selective and will fill positions based on audition. Time has shown, however, that when slots open up in these groups during the year, new members are more often than not chosen from the Band.
FALL: Fall is all about the gridiron for the Band. This coming football season we'll play all home and all-except-one away football games. A standard football week includes a one-hour sectional and a two-hour full band rehearsal, as well as two optional (but wicked fun!) meetings to help our ever-talented Drill Master write the field show.
If the game is at home, we meet around 8am, parade through Harvard Square to the practice field, and spend the morning learning the formations of the field show. Around noon we play for the tailgaters and then line up for pregame. We entertain the fans, the team, and (yes) ourselves during the game, and after performing our half-time extravaganza, we head back to the stands for more fun. After the game, we play a quick post-game concert for fans outside the stadium, and then parade up the street back to the John Harvard statue.
For long road trips, we leave Friday afternoon and usually bunk with the other team's band. The rehearsal and game routine are similar to home games, and afterwards, we bus back. Major road trips this coming season are to Princeton (we spend the night at the Harvard Club of New York, just minutes from Times Square!) and to Penn.
WINTER: If hockey isn't already an obsession of yours, it soon will be! There are usually one or two home games each weekend, and while attendance is optional, they are too, too fun to miss. There are usually three rehearsals throughout the winter season to try out new arrangements and polish our standards. March brings playoffs, often leading to exciting travel: in 1998, the Band went to Stanford for the Women's NCAA Basketball tournament. In both 1999 and 2001, the Band went to Minneapolis for the Women's Hockey Championships. The Band has recently traveled to North Carolina and Connecticut for the Women's NCAA Basketball first round, and last year we flew to Duluth, MN for the Women's Ice Hockey Frozen Four.
And don't forget about caroling! Every year the Band travels into Boston to spread some yuletide glee at Faneuil Hall, Downtown Crossing, and the Shriners' Children's Hospital. It is invariably the best gig of the year!
SPRING: As the grass in the Yard starts to turn green again, the Band is busy hobnobbing with celebrities and helping out the community. We play at the Cultural Rhythms reception, greeting the likes of Matt Damon, Jackie Chan, and Salma Hayek; we also lead the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Parade, which this year included Halle Berry, as well as a herd of llamas. In May there is the Duckling Day Parade (featuring dozens of cute little children dressed as ducks on Boston Common), and Primal Scream (which you'll hear ALL about when you come to Harvard).
At the end of the year, we play for Commencement Week. The College provides us with housing and food, and in return we play at official ceremonies and reunion events. We have the best seats in the house for the Commencement ceremonies-not to mention a lot of fun!
The Band is all about being flexible: you do as much as you want. Of course, the more you do, the more fun you will have! During football season, if you choose to attend a particular game, we ask that you go to the sectional and rehearsal prior to it, because we play new music every week; we also ask that you arrive on time for morning marchdown so that you can learn the field show that morning. During hockey season, there are several rehearsals which are strongly encouraged, but nothing is mandatory.
The Band does not provide scholarships, and Harvard provides only need-based financial aid. There are, however, prizes, grants and subsidies for music lessons provided by the Office for the Arts.
See the Harvard admissions page. Eat your vegetables. Wash behind your ears. Take challenging courses and commit yourself to two or three (but not more) quality extracurricular activities or community service endeavors, and achieve inspiringly high grades and standardized test scores. But most importantly, learn where to direct your questions so they can be least facetiously (study that word for the SAT!) answered.
On a serious note, it doesn't hurt to send a tape of your beautiful musical noise along with your application to Harvard. If the admissions decision comes between beautiful-noise-making you and some other kid, you could be the winner of four years at Harvard (and the Band!).
Not usually, but like we said, we're flexible. We've had a twirler help highlight our shows for the past couple years, and she's done a fantastic job.
If you do not play an instrument, you can also join Prop Crew, arguably the greatest section of the Band. 50% techie, 50% rockumentarist, 50% bouncer, and 150% goofoff, the typical Prop Crew member is coy and affable, but the extraordinary Prop Crew member is deified and adored. Basically it's the most glamorous thing you can imagine doing, and people will love you.
Some people have asked why we don't have a color guard. Simply put, we don't march, do we? Color guards just aren't our style.
Links to their respective web pages can be found in the Links section of this site. All of these groups fall under the auspices of the Harvard University Bands, and there is crossover in membership between the groups. Such crossover is encouraged, but not required.
Phone: 617-496-BAND (2263). Ask for Ally Freedy, Manager; Tom Everett, Director of Bands; or Mark Olson, Assistant Director of Bands.
Fax: 617-496-DRUM (3786)
Harvard University Band
74 Mt. Auburn St
Cambridge MA 02138