Friday, November 18, 2011

Bands and Coaches

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ESPN has picked up the story of the Columbia University Marching Band being banned from the game this Saturday against Brown.

Local news radio has started to report it as well.

It doesn't matter whether you support the band or not, this story is just another ugly stain on what has been a shockingly painful season for just about everyone involved.

The band's humor has been more than irreverent at times, but I know my family and I will miss the fight song and some of the other music especially in the pregame tailgate area.

With the special Senior Day festivities on tap, and players' families going on to the field, I can see why the band was banned.

But if Athletic Director Dianne Murphy really wants to stop the ridicule of our football team, she has a much bigger decision to make in about 72 hours.

Several fans have made it more than clear on this blog and in other forums what a true outrage it would be for the football team if Norries Wilson is not relieved next week.

If all Dr. Murphy is willing to do to protect the team's self-esteem is ban the band from a game, then we all have a serious problem.

Senior Tributes (continued)

Nick Mistretta

The Don Bosco product made an impression on day one, and isn't long before he was playing for the varsity. In 2010 he became the undisputed starting middle linebacker, but he split that duty the season before. A very strong and fast player who is always moving and attacking.

Ross Morand

Extremely talented corner from St. Xavier who was almost immediately thrown into the fire early in his career. The co-captain's 87-yard pick six against Havard this year will be a personal highlight, I can't forget the way Morand played at Lafayette in 2009. Morand had a key interception, but he was also flagged for a dubious pass interference penalty that helped the Leopards pull out a comeback win. Morand was abused by the refs again this year against Penn on the Quakers' winning drive. But Morand should really only be remembered for his great talent and even greater effort.

Mark Muston

Mark hasn't had too many receptions in his career, but he did see action with the varsity his freshman season and impressed early with his hard work. Injuries cut his time down on the field, but his contribution was very real.

Nico Papas

A talented fullback who made an impact despite playing for a team that used the spread offense more than 90% of the time. Injured in his freshman year, Nico recovered and never shied away from doing anything the coaches asked of him. His biggest contribution came on special teams.


At Fri Nov 18, 03:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, what is it with this band? They are an embarassment to themselves, the team and the school.Doesn't Bolinger and D.Murphy take any pride in this great school and want to hire a real band director? Is it too stiff for Columbia to have a group that is organized, plays great marching music and leads the crowd with school spirit? I know many say it's always been this way, but when you compare them to a real college marching band, they are a joke, and sometimes their humor is way off color.

I am especially sad for the senior players,It has been a pretty rough season.Make this a great one guys,play hard, have fun and know that we've been behind you all season.You put up with alot in order for things to improve next year.GO LIONS

At Fri Nov 18, 03:39:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

I'm with Dr Murphy on this one. A band that wont even pay respect to its schools own fight song doesn't belong on the field. Some might say two wrongs don't make a right, that it only hurts the Seniors who will be taking the field for the last time on Saturday. I say, if this bothers you then go talk to your classmates- they're the reason you wont be listening to the music.
Personally I think "Roar Lion Roar" sounds just fine A cappella.

At Fri Nov 18, 03:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fully concur on the band. And they are neither clever nor funny. But when they made fun of those players they crossed a line which is sacrosanct.

I also concur regarding the senior players. They and their families deserved better.

At Fri Nov 18, 04:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

As a Band alum, I would suggest that the commenters above are unfamiliar with the Ivy League marching band tradition. You want an SEC-type band, go to an SEC school.

@12:45--They didn't "make fun of those players." They made fun of the Columbia football program. If you are a CC alum, you might have Aristophanes: satire as vehicle for substantive criticism.

If alums and admins want the Band to sing about winning, then they should put winning on the table. Otherwise you're just blaming the messenger.

At Fri Nov 18, 04:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Band Alum,

No matter what you should always support the team. Comedy or not you are all LIONS. When the band sounds like crap and plays a seemingly horrific rendition of the National Anthem the football players do not ridicule the band. There are other ways to be satirical without insulting fellow classmates.

At Fri Nov 18, 04:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ONLY decent band in the Ivies is the Cornell band. These other so called "bands" are funny only to themselves. No one gets their attempt at political satire and humor. Its a football game. I'm not even a Cornell fan but love thier band. The rest of the schools really need to reconsider their approach to halftime entertainment.

At Fri Nov 18, 04:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@1:34--As for the band being musically crappy nowadays, you may be perfectly right, I don't know (I live far away from NYC now). Though if the football program is so crappy, then obviously you're going to get fewer good musicians interested in devoting their Saturdays....

Nothing in that ESPN article said the Band was "insulting fellow classmates." (Is Spec "insulting the QB when it reports he threw an interception?) The Band is stating a blatant fact about the football *program* (in parodic form). I mean, how many times can you sing the actual lyrics "Fight on to victory evermore" without feeling a little ridiculous?

At Fri Nov 18, 04:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Message to Band Alum--your posting typifies a lack of sensitivity and decency. These players bust a gut all week, and all that the band can do is serenade them and their program as losers? You should be ashamed of yourself and more importantly of this sorry excuse for a band. They are not "messengers"; they are classless punks.

At Fri Nov 18, 04:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@1:46: Cornell is the only decent band in the Ivies the way Cornell is the only decent school in the Ivies.

At Fri Nov 18, 05:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@1:54--No players were named or insulted.

The program *is* a loser. That's what half of Jake's posts are all about. If you want to join Dr. M. in blaming the Band....

At Fri Nov 18, 05:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Band Alum-

Understand that NOT A SINGLE PERSON at the games is there to listen to you. The only reason you have an audience is because of the athletes that I know you secretly loathe because they are both smart and athletic.

If I was still on the team I would love to run across a group of Bandies at Cannons or The Heights after Saturdays game. I'd have more than just words for you.

At Fri Nov 18, 05:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the band simply stating facts? "We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot, and sometimes by a little." Maybe I am missing something, but the Columbia football team is 0-9. Maybe the criticism from people here would make sense if the team, you know, had actually managed to win a game?

At Fri Nov 18, 05:08:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger MissBov said...

I loved the band as a student and I love the band now 20+ years later. Believe me, I love Columbia Football as much as anyone - but you can't separate it from the band, and any attempt to do so is totally pathetic. I support the players and all their commitment and hard work. I wish the University supported them more. But you know who does show up every week, through wins and losses, thick and thin? The band. And this is how they're thanked? And without the band, how many students exactly will attend games?

At Fri Nov 18, 05:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Band Alum, only you a past or present band member would feel ridiculous singing fight on to victory.Us as parents and all loyal fans continue to sing it tillthe season ends.The reason you were out there was to promote school spirit win or loose!!!

At Fri Nov 18, 05:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@2:06--"Understand that NOT A SINGLE PERSON at the games is there to listen to you." Not true in my day. And there were definitely football players who loved us for never making fun of players while still dissing the Athletic Department. (I mean, we lived and died Columbia football, despite everything.) I had football players buying me drinks at Cannon's because they recognized me from the Band. (Again, this was a while ago--for all I know, the Band today may not have the kind of cleverness we did back then. Indeed, I have heard reports to that effect.)

@2:09--I'm sure your son deserved a better football program from Columbia than he ended up getting. But it's obviously not true, as you say, that "only...a past or present band member would feel ridiculous singing fight on to victory." Why do you think the stands are so empty of students?

At Fri Nov 18, 05:21:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger MissBov said...

But the band DOES promote school spirit, often in that for generations of losing games and losing seasons, the band understood that showing up every Saturday was still worthwhile... and when we were down about losing - the band made us feel better... one of my favorites:
‎"You may go to Lafayette, but we know who he was! Fight!"

At Fri Nov 18, 05:24:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

How can you insult the program without insulting the players, the school, and the alumni of the program? Some of us actually played a varsity sport at Columbia, and found the spirit of the fight song to be an inspiration on the playing field. You, Band Alum, obviously did neither...

At Fri Nov 18, 05:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

Following MissBov:

Or "Columbia's team may never win/But we're not stuck in New Ha-ven."

At Fri Nov 18, 05:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@DOC: "You, Band Alum, obviously did neither..." You would actually be wrong on that score.

At Fri Nov 18, 05:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the Sacred Heart loss, almost anyone with a little football knowledge could see we were going 0-10. And yet Dianne et al just sat on their hands. Had Norries been fired right then like Jake called for, maybe we would have a win or two. It's stuff like that that's making the band and the fans mad. The players too. The real evil here is not the unfunny band. It's the administration that was just too lazy to make a change right away even as it asks students to bust their butts on that practice field and in the classroom every day.

At Fri Nov 18, 05:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Bill Flick '87 said...

I never appreciated the band. I always felt it was disrespectful of the players and that they were mocking our struggles. I didn't think they were there to cheer for us nor did they demonstrate any pride in the school. I felt they were there to prance around and act like fools because the school tolerated it and because it was fun for them, that's it.

I would feel different if I felt they cared even a little bit about the success of the team but they never demonstrated that to me.

I never liked "that's all right, that's OK..." either.

That hasn't changed either, has it?

At Fri Nov 18, 05:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@Bill Flick: "I would feel different if I felt they cared even a little bit about the success of the team but they never demonstrated that to me."

You were a bit before my time, but, again, in my day, we loved the Columbia football team. And a lot of them liked us.

I also agree with you about "That's all right, that's OK..." And I've heard that same dumb chant coming from fans of Princeton and some of the others.

At Fri Nov 18, 06:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two points. First, there's a time and place for everything. One may be critical of the coaches or the program all one wants, as many on this board and off this board have been, but not at the game and in the presence of player-classmates.

Second, I have always thought our band and the premise behind it to be bizarre. There is just a jarring disconnect between the game of football, with the disciplined exertion it requires and represents, and the self-indulgent goofiness of the band. The two just don't fit, and after 40 years of watching CU football I can say have never fit.


At Fri Nov 18, 07:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@Dr. V.

Like it or not, these kinds of bands are an Ivy League (and Stanford) tradition. Ivy League sports fans by and large are just a somewhat more irreverent species than their SEC or Big 10 counterparts.

At Fri Nov 18, 07:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Band Alum,
no one would watch the band if it weren't for the football team. whether it was this way when you were there or not, no players or students enjoy the band's performance. rather they hate them. there move was classless and disrespectful

At Fri Nov 18, 07:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@4:21 My understanding is that the turnout for the Band's Butler Library "Orgo Night" during Finals still attracts a large, large all-student crowd. So I'm not sure about "no one."

The main point here is that the Band share's the fans' frustration with the program (and takes a lot of abuse for it, especially on road games, where the Band is often the lone voice of spirited opposition against other schools' fans' never-ending mockery of CU football). No reason to turn that frustration against your fellow fans in the Band.

Plus: look at all the comments on that ESPN article. Everyone's making fun of Columbia now for being thin-skinned, wimpy and oversensitive about this (which I don't think most Columbia students and fans really are at all). If nothing else, this was a bad PR move by the AD. (Not to mention that the Brown band might have a field day with this situation during their own halftime show this weekend.)

At Fri Nov 18, 09:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo to Dr. Murphy! The band is an embarrassment. Their form of juvenile satire is hurtful to other Universityies, tragic politicians, and countless others over the years. This is our change to finally get rid of the band for good!

Let's now pretend that Norries is the Band leader and let's get rid of him as well!

At Fri Nov 18, 09:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps as long ago as the 60s, the Brown band mooned the cadet corps at West Point. It wasn't disciplined as far as I recall.

At Fri Nov 18, 09:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK...I have never posted anything on a blog before today and now this is my 2nd post for the day! I read the article in the Columbia Spectator, concerning the band debacle at Cornell, this morning at 7:00AM and could not contain my anger any longer. This train went off the tracks early on and it could have been corrected, but was not. The band performance at Cornell summed up the season for me. The Columbia band made a complete, idiotic spectacle of themselves at Cornell....and now D Murphy acts! We have smart young men here.....can't we take these, smart, athletic men and teach them what to do and then execute a good game plan. These players have NEVER quit this season, despite the horrible coaching by some members of the coaching staff. Shame on D Murphy for holding the band accountable but not the coaching staff. Shame on Coach Wilson for not being the leader he needed to be this year. These players counted on you and you did not should be held accountable for your results.
My post at the Columbia Spectator earlier today.......

Shame on the Columbia band. You don't belong on a football field, you are not a marching band and you don't get it. You are attention seeking spoiled brats trying to be funny and you are not, ever! Out there for the team, yeah couldn't even begin to know when the team made a first down much less a touchdown. You are there to play your instruments with each other and act stupid.....not to support the team.

Pre game you turn our national anthem into a total disgrace, during your horrendous pre game performance on the field. I cringed wearing blue as the entire stadium stood to honor our flag and listen to this disgusting parody of the national anthem. At the end of the game, you totally INSULT a group of young men who have never given up this year,with a parody of of the fight song. Really...this was supposed to be funny? It was disgraceful and stupid.
I am the parent of a senior football player and for four years I have been amazed at just how stupid this band is. You have not added one bit of enjoyment, spirit or enthusiasm to a game I have attended. As usual, it was all about YOU! If one penny of my tuition went to support this organization, I want my money back.Thank God I do not have to listen to this band one more time. Play your instruments in your closets....that is where you belong....not at a sporting event.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current band doesn't seem to be in the mould of the clever, irrevent ones in the past. Then, again neither is the student support at Columbia and at most if not all of the Ivies. A different age with little connection with the past.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former player I can tell you that no one cares about the band being there. They annoy people with their off color humor. It is supposed to be a family atmosphere, that is what this administration is focused on and the band does everything except bring a family atmosphere to the games. When I was playing I hoped that the band just wouldn't show up to that game, they are an embarrassment to this university. It is my personal opinion and the opinion of many of my best friends(columbia alums who lined up with me everyday on the field) to never have the band play at a game. We can sing the fight song loud and proud after a win. If anything it is better singing it when there is no band in front of us. Rather those who support us no matter how we perform on the field.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is just a jarring disconnect between the game of football, with the disciplined exertion it requires and represents, and the self-indulgent goofiness of the band. The two just don't fit."

Now, I actually disagree. But rather than arguing, I's prefer to pose a follow-up to Dr. V: Which fits better with the general atmosphere and culture at Columbia?

At Fri Nov 18, 10:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UPDATE: The band is allowed to play again.

See the article:

Once again, a wishy washy administration.

At Fri Nov 18, 11:11:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Whatever its actual level of musicianship, the band has always reveled in conveying an aura of ineptitude: can't march, can't play terribly well, can't usually even be trusted to play the National anthem, etc,. etc.

Instead, the band has always imagined that its "irreverence" thereby merits itself a pass on its very bad halftime shows. Which generally feature non-witticisms the import of which usually escape anyone over 22 and no longer an undergrad.

Indeed, observing the band for many years also usually shows that they're almost never genuinely engaged in the course of a game. Not even those we win. They shout at each other and have a good time with each other, but they hardly ever come off as devoted fams of Lions football.

It finally caught up to them. Boo-hoo-hoo to band supporters who can't understand why, while the rest of us merely wonder why this took so long. And I strongly doubt they'll be much missed Saturday.

It has been a long stretch of fun, fun, fun for the band until Dianne Murphy "took their T-Bird away." Surely most sane football fans can only agree with her decision (if in fact it was hers).

At Fri Nov 18, 12:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbia university students should support each other whether in , band football, arts or etc. They should be one at the university. Not understanding the post. So the individual that is speaking for the band is saying that they play and act the way they do because the team is losing. Confused. Come on you are smarter than that to make that lame comment. Cant believe the people in charge are not stopping this. Since when do people or students only cheer if you win. This is extremely disappointing to read. There seems to be a lack of support in the student body also no matter what organization by the comments of this band member. I don't dislike the band and am supportive of them but I feel this individual has gone to far.

At Fri Nov 18, 11:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Bill Flick '87 said...

Band Alum

I appreciate your post and certainly I knew band members who I personally liked. I just never appreciated them as a group.

I did not understand how they thought that mocking our losing and all that CU deprecation was helping things.

Making fun of yourself when you are on top is noble, doing it when you are losing just seems to be lacking in pride and dignity.

And I have to say again it sure looks like Bollinger overruled Diane on this one. More evidence that all this "can Norries and Diane" sentiment would be treating the symptom but not curing the disease.

At Sat Nov 19, 12:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

@12:07 A.M.

First off, just for the record I wasn't "speaking for the band," just for myself as an alum.

Anyway, this is all moot now and you may not even come back and read this, but you seem to have misconstrued what I was saying. The Band cheers the team more than anyone else. Heck, they braved the weather this year to make it to the Yale Bowl in the middle of a snowstorm for a game that even the Yale Band skipped due to the weather. But expecting the Band to adopt exactly the same attitude toward the football program--not the team, the program-- whether we're 9-0 or 0-9 is as realistic as expecting Spectator to cover the team the same way either way or, indeed, expecting Jake to write the same things about the team either way. (THis blog is the best, partly because Jake is willing to tell it like it is, even if that means projecting going 0-10 in the middle of the season. And who loves the team more than Jake? But you would never hear the Band say that about the team.)

Go, Lions! Beat Brown!

At Sat Nov 19, 01:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Bill Flick '87 said...

thanks for the reply and I can see that perhaps the band and the football team had/have a hard time understanding each other.

Back when I was around, although perhaps misunderstood by us, many of the players took all the horseplay and silliness as a lack of support.

We took our sport and our losing seriously and it bothered us when the band carried on like silly, defiant grade school kids. Maybe it would have been funnier had we been winning but when you are losing, all that nonsense can come across the wrong way.


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