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Columbia Silences Its Marching Band (nytimes.com)
57 points by vo2maxer 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments





Current Columbia Student. Columbia's administration is absolutely terrible at cultivating any sense of school spirit. Some of this is a function of the fact that we're in NYC, but some of this can be laid at the hands of decisions like this, which are utterly tone-deaf. I love going here but I've had to work hard to create a sense of community.

Columbia '15 here, the existence of the marching band was the only thing that made me feel any sense of school spirit in my time there.

g(tb)^2

'12, same

‘08, same

‘11, same

I hope some absurdly rich alumnus tightens the vice on Columbia over this behavior, as they are likely the only constituency with any power over the matter.

No one has that kind of influence on Ivy League schools now. They all have multi-billion dollar endowments.

Except outrage mobs, you mean?

I suspect Columbia’s replacing the marching band because of an absurdly rich alumnus.

Wow, what a sad state of affairs. Being a geeky band kid myself and drum major growing up, what can ex-marching band kids around the nation do to stop the scourge of this power-tripping athletic coach?! Just as at my high school, it looks like the football team itself hasn't won a championship in years. When the team sucks go ahead and blame the band, because you're not busy building a winning team. Go figure!

As a Columbia grad I'm not surprised at all... the Columbia Administration is insanely conservative. I have never experienced as entrenched of a bureaucracy as I did at Columbia!

I attended Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in the late seventies and early eighties, and two groups who stood out were the Bard Hall Players and Columbia University Marching Band. They were made up of talented, creative and hilariously irreverent students. Come on, has the administration lost the ability to laugh? Who wrote Plato’s Republic? is pure gold just as Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?

What are the two pieces you reference?

To Columbia alumni, these two are well known and special:

1. Bard Hall Players: https://www.ps.columbia.edu/education/academic-programs/md-p...

2. Columbia University Marching Band: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_University_Marching_B...

Edit: After replying, I realized you may have meant the last sentence with the questions. The “Who wrote Plato’s Republic?” is at the end of the New York Times piece. As to the other one, Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?, here: https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/07/grants-tomb/492647...


The War on Fun rages on as ever.

And yet Fun will never die.

Can you help me understand your comment? I can't tell if your making a connection between conservative and entrenched.

Conservative as in resistant to change, traditional. Not Conservative as in politics. You’d expect a conservative group to be entrenched.

> Conservative as in resistant to change

...but this article is about them making a change to their marching band rather than leaving it be as it has been for years?


Changing something to make it more traditional is a conservative action.

Looks like the money is not an issue, $25k a year. They'll raise that much but... https://www.columbiaspectator.com/sports/2019/10/04/marching...

What I don't get by reading the article is the link between (not) receiving funding from university and not being allowed to play on campus.

> Joe Schwartz, a 1992 graduate and former lawyer, said of his band experience, which began by playing a blowtorch, “It’s probably not a coincidence that I’m in the chair asking the dean for one more chance and then I’m the one in front of the judge asking for one more chance.”

Nice.

While the administration's disingenuous rulebook-throwing is fooling no one and tarnishing the university's reputation, it is healthy to have an occasional reminder that the government/administration is not your friend, and a movement of the people, which a scramble band is, would do well to find its way as independent citizens.

Columbia University football team sues for divorce from the band? My bet is on the band coming out on top.




> The band manager, Cameron Danesh-Pajou, a senior chemical engineering student, acknowledged the missed March 9 deadline, but said it was never presented as an ultimatum.

As a maintainer of realtime DSP/audio software I am forced to agree with the University in this case. If they let it slide even this once these kids would spend the rest of their lives making block calls and only ever measuring average performance to gauge their self worth.



I didn't attend Columbia, but can confirm that us tenor sax players can get a bit rowdy.

Reading the article, it sounds like nothing prevents the band from doing all the things they used to do except perform at the football games. It also sounds like they are funded by the university to run around and prank others, which seems legitimate for the university to not shed any tears when the band drops the ball on its funding request. I’m sure it’s a fun tradition, but it also sounds potentially quite annoying depending on who the target of the joke is, and you can still have fun/ be annoying on campus without direct university funding.

The orgo night performance is one of the big events of the semester. Every student knows when and where it is, so nobody will be surprised or pranked.

As others have said, this is a big loss for what little school community there is, and is very in keeping with university administrator style.


Performing at games is the main point of marching bands. Who wants to be in a band that can't perform?

It probably says a lot more about me than I want it to, but I was in a Big 10 marching band and didn't really care about the performances. I mean, it was enjoyable, but I might have done it even if we did all the same long rehearsals of the performances (we memorized the drill and music for ~7 shows a season) and then just went to the games as a pep band.

Indeed. This is the same playbook UVA used to kill its wonderful, creative, beloved Pep Band not so long ago.



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