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"A Marching Mishap in Montreal"

On September 10, 2000, the Big Red Marching Band performed for the Montreal Alouettes (a tradition that, I understand, continues into the present). We left Ithaca the day before, and by some miracle of divine proportions, crossed the international border without losing any of our members. I don't know how the trumpets found sufficient restraint to refrain from exposing themselves to the Canadian Border Patrol. After arriving in Montreal and enjoying a night of luxurious accomodations on the gymnasium floor of a local high school, the band made its way to Stade Percival-Molson for the game.

I don't recall whether it was during pre-game or halftime, but one of the formations was a generic block "CU". Sounds simple enough, right? Of course, anyone who has marched on a CFL field knows that it's a little...different. The left side of the "U" was supposed to be on the 53-yard line to the drum major's right. It was at least partially composed of horns. Well, they found the 53-yard line all right... the OTHER one. That also happened to be the location of one of the ends of the "C". The net result was that the band did form two letters. They just happened to be "OJ". I thought the historians of that time might have destroyed all photographic evidence of this, but a picture did make its way onto


Was it intentional? Perhaps the horns were making a shout-out to a high profile murder defendant (this was only five years after the O.J. Simpson trial). Or maybe they wanted to express their love of a particular citrusy drink. Then again, it was probably just an accident. One of the horns sent the picture to Tropicana, who sent them t-shirts.

The "OJ" incident was just the start of an eventful 2000 season. Cornell won three Ivy games by one point, including coming back from 28 points down during the "renegade band" trip to Harvard. They beat Columbia by 4 when the Lions mismanaged the clock at the end of the game. This set up a winner-takes-the-Ivy-title game against Penn (SUCKS) on Schoellkopf... in which the Big Red were destroyed. Oh well, whatever... the band still won, as it always does.

- Matt Carberry '03