The Big Red Marching Band performs at all home and most Ivy League away games, as well as the occasional NFL stadium, and on rare occasions (because we love 110-yard fields so much), CFL fields. We've also been known to get wild and wacky by parading through the Campus Store, Willard Straight Hall, and when we're feeling truly studious, the circulation room of Uris Library.
If you've never heard of us, hey, it's cool. Hell, most of us never heard of aardvarking or flute ups before we joined either, but there's hope for you yet, young disciple. Relax, kick back, leave your shoes at the door, and browse around our cyber-home. If you would like information on joining, you're smart! The introduction will get you up to speed and give you all of the necessary information.
The BRMB is the largest fully student-run organization in the Ivy League. It is larger, by far, than any of the other Ivy Bands. Our membership is generally over 200 people. That, along with the fact that we have a general distaste for the use of stop signs, swimming pools, and blow-up dolls as instruments, makes us quite different from other Ivies. We like marching in formations and playing, often at the same time, while the other Ivies (or "scatter bands") like running around randomly and playing, often at distinct times. Hey, to each his own.
The members of the band are quite the spirited bunch, and we have a liking for all things BIG and Red. From our massive first rehearsal to the final football games of the season, bandies will sing and play Cornell songs such as NCFS, My Old Cornell, and our fight song, Davy. And since you asked (oh, we know you were thinking it), WE had it before those Broadway people got their hands on it.
Find us at the Fischell Band Center!
By this point, you must thinking that the BRMB runs like a well-oiled machine. Well, even the most perfect of machines is prone to breakdowns of sorts. The Head Manager and the Drum Major, with the help of the rest of the Bandstaph, bring some order to the chaos. They're the ones dumb enough to take the jobs. Feel free to click around here and see the stuff they (and everybody else) eat, sleep and breathe.
Over 125 years! In fact, this history is so long and storied that a comprehensive chronicle of it does not exist. So why should this page be any different? Therefore, if you have any tidbit to offer, please click on contact us and send us an e-mail. We hope to continually add to it and one day make this page complete. We can then throw in some black and white pictures, publish it in hardcopy, and rake in the millions that await us. Yeah.
Many changes have taken place that have radically (or sometimes not-so-radically) altered the overall identity and attitude of the Band. Included here are but brief samplings of our past.
The band was first formed in the 1890's as a part of the Reserve Officer's Training Corps program. It remained under ROTC jurisdiction until 1948, at which time it became affiliated with the Cornell Concert Band and the Cornell Repertory Band under the name Cornell Bands. The Director of Bands from 1947 to 1965, William Campbell, and Assistant Director and Drillmaster (in the late '50s), Henry Romersa, oversaw this change. Also crucial in these "silver age" bands were Nick Krukovsky, '65, for many years the official cameraman/movie editor for the band, and Ernie Hardy, just to name a few. His successor, Marice Stith, guided the Band through even more changes from 1966 to 1989.
These changes would significantly alter the face of the band as we know it, almost as much as splitting from ROTC! As the BRMB left its military roots, it evolved more and more from its early years. The Band remained all-male until 1970, when women were first admitted. From then on, the BRMB increasingly became a social organization, leading to the family-like atmosphere that pervades it today.
Bill Welker '73 resurrected the Drum Major uniform for his two years at the helm. The Band continued its tradition of truly entertaining shows and musical excellence. In 1971, the Band welcomed the talents of new Assistant Director Greg Pearson. He had a definite vision for how he wanted the band to sound, from his arrangement of pre-game and halftime shows, to his decision to switch the band to the crescent side of the field. Even though we were no longer with our friends in the student section, there is no question that the Band sounded better with the concrete background and height offered by the crescent.
The most significant addition to the band in the last thirty years has been the Big Red Bands Alumni Association in 1982. The BRBAA was founded as a way to maintain the financial and long-term security of the Band. Since then, the BRBAA has become one of the most active alumni groups on the Hill! No description of this time in band history would be complete without mentioning band advisor Georgian Leonard, who spearheaded the first annual phonathon.
With the retirement of Professor Stith, Scott Jeneary came aboard as Big Red Band Music Director in 1989, and the position was later restructured and renamed Music Advisor. Today, our Music Advisor is a graduate student from Ithaca College. In the last twenty years or so, the band has become not only the largest student-run group in the Ivy League, but also the MOST student-run, as decisions and tasks formerly carried out by "directors" became the direct responsibilities of the students (outlined in the band's Constitution, written in 1997), right down to budgets, expenditures, drill writing, and even arranging music! David Conn was music advisor from 1995 to 2002, James Miller took over from 2003 to 2005, followed by Erin Otto for the 2006 season. Thomas P. LaFalce Jr.'94 was the Athletics Advisor from 1996 to 2004. Our current advisors, Mark McCarthy (General) and Steve Caraher (Athletics) are ever-helpful, but always seek to empower the student leadership that characterizes the only REAL Marching Band in the Ivy League!!!
We love to hear from our alumni, because our band is built on traditions. If you have a story about the band "back in your day", or even if you are a current student, please email the historian, Molly Bergin and Annie Fu. You can even re-tell legends that you heard, and maybe someone with first-hand knowledge will be able to expand upon it.
Our band is built heavily on tradition. From aardvarking to parading and everything in between, if we do it twice, its tradition. This page is still being developed, but keep checking in.
Alumns, if you remember a tradition that doesn't appear here, email the webmaster and it'll be added, either to this page or to a future "Retired Traditions" page.