Reunion 2017 information and other updates

Reunion 2017
Whether or not you’re in a Reunion class this year, you’re invited to join alumni of Columbia’s Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band:

When: Saturday, June 3, 4:00 to 5:15 or so
Where: TBA (find a Reunion program at any check-in table and look for “Performing Arts Group Affinity Reception”)
Cost: Absolutely nothing (food and drink included)

Making a Gift?
If you are a member of a reunion class, we’re told you can earmark your reunion donation to the Columbia University Marching Band or Columbia University Wind Ensemble and have it count toward your class total. Ask your school’s alumni office how to make this happen. Columbia’s future alumni instrumentalists will be thrilled.

Rounding Out the Semester
Those instrumentalists had a typically busy spring. The CUMB made a pop-up appearance at the New York City March on Science and continued traditions like Tax Day on the steps of the city’s main Post Office building just before the midnight filing deadline and Orgo Night (see next paragraph).

Meantime, the CUWE hosted its ninth annual multi-group Columbia Festival of Winds, played Carnegie Hall again (with a little financial boost from your Band Alumni Association, and featuring a guest appearance by former conductor Andy Pease) and squeezed in an outdoor concert on campus and another in Riverside Park.

And They’re Sticking To It
For the second semester in a row, the Marching Band was met by a phalanx of campus security guards barring the way into Butler Library for the traditional midnight show the eve before the start of finals. Once again, the Orgo Night roast went on – but outside Butler’s front door instead of in the more comfortable and appropriate setting of Room 209, the College Reading Room. The party line from Hamilton and Low continues to be that after 41 years the administration suddenly realized that students studying in 209 must have quiet, and complaints about some jokes in past years have nothing to do with the eviction order.

Despite the recommendations of all four undergraduate student councils, Spectator’s editorial board (“…to claim that students would be irreparably distracted from their studying by a publicized event in a place they could easily avoid for one hour a semester is absurd”), Bwog (“the only ‘study break’ that anyone at Columbia actually goes to”) and hundreds of alumni and students, it appears that at Columbia, political correctness trumps free speech. Sad.

Here’s the letter CUBAA wrote to Columbia College Today about the administration’s attack on Orgo Night (bottom of the page). We’ll keep trying to get the administration to sit down and talk.

Spring 2017 News and Updates

Columbia vs. Princeton Basketball
If you’re on campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 24, come join the Marching Band and alumni as we watch the basketball team take on Princeton. All of our alumni are invited to bring an instrument, sit in the stands, and cheer and play along. Liz Pudel, the head manager, can provide a comp if you email her at by February 21. Alternatively,  you can buy tickets here or at the door. Join Bandies past and present at a get-together immediately following the game.

Festival Time!
On March 5, the Wind Ensemble will host the ninth annual Columbia Festival of Winds in Lerner Hall. The event includes performances by groups ranging from the Princeton University Wind Ensemble to the concert band from the Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted and Talented in Brooklyn plus, of course, the CUWE.

An e-card for your Valentine? Bo-o-oring! Much better: a romantic song played right at your Valentine’s door by members of the Wind Ensemble. To raise money toward the cost of returning to Carnegie Hall for a planned April concert, the group this month advertised its Winds of Love service, which sends a team of musicians to dorm rooms to play a song suitable for the day (sample: “Just the Way You Are”). Cost: $12 for a song, $18 for a song with a red rose.

Got a Bari Sax?
Always looking to beef up its sound, the Marching Band is on the prowl for a serviceable baritone sax. If you’re a lapsed bari player ready to part with yours, or if you know someone willing to sell one cheap, please let us know.

Orgo in Singapore
Next time you find yourself passing through Singapore, check out Orgo, a rooftop bar and restaurant off Marina Bay. The place was launched eight years ago by Nick Yen SEAS91 and his business partner, a Japanese mixologist. Nick wasn’t a Marching Band member but he was a fan. “Yes,” he says, “the name was inspired by Orgo Night.” Drop in and identify yourself as a Band alum, he adds, and he’ll host you for a round. Another reason to keep the Orgo Night tradition alive.

Homecoming update and fall events

The night before Homecoming

Join your old Band and Wind Ensemble friends and meet current members at the Columbia Alumni Center, where we will hold a reading of a classic halftime script, look over some vintage printed concert programs, and pass on a piece of history to the band. Light snacks.

Friday October 21, 5 – 8 P.M.
Columbia Alumni Center, 622 West 113th Street
Click here to RSVP.


Alumni are invited to march or just hang out in the stands with the Marching Band as the Lions take on Dartmouth at the annual Homecoming struggle.

Feel free to bring an instrument. Feel free to play it.

Saturday, October 22, 11 AM – 4 PM (game time: 1:30 PM)
Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at the Baker Athletic Complex
Click here to RSVP.

And here’s a little about what’s up on campus this semester:

Band in the Park
What does the Marching Band do during football season when it has a Saturday off? On Sept. 24, the group didn’t travel to Washington, D.C. for the Georgetown game but instead went just a few blocks south and entertained at Columbia College Day at Central Park, a family-friendly event of the Columbia College Alumni Association. With games and pizza!

Concert in the Works
Meantime, the Wind Ensemble has begun rehearsals for its first concert of the 2016-17 year, booked for Sunday, November 20. For more details, watch this space.

Homecoming 2016: Save the date

We have a couple great events planned for Homecoming this year! Here’s everything you need to know:

Pre-Homecoming Event
Join your Band friends and meet members of the current Marching Band at the Columbia Alumni Center, where we will hold a reading of a classic script.

          WhenFriday October 21, roughly 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
          Where: Columbia Alumni Center – 622 West 113th Street

Click here to email us and RSVP!

March (or just hang out in the stands) as the Lions take on Dartmouth for the annual Homecoming game. Stan Adelman, CC 67, will guest conduct “Sans Souci.”

          When: Saturday, October 22, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM (game time: 1:30 PM)
          Where: Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at the Baker Athletic Complex

Click here to email us and RSVP!

Reunion Weekend 2016: June 4

Reunion is coming! Which means we hope to see you at the University’s reception for alumni of Columbia instrumental and singing groups, set for Saturday, June 4 at 4 p.m. in Lerner room 555 and is complimentary.

Even if you aren’t a member of a ‘x1 or ‘x6 class, we hope you’ll join us. We’ll be back to you with location and other details, but at this point it looks as if we can expect to be joined (and serenaded) by kids with musical instruments, and we’re pretty sure Columbia will offer us something to eat and drink.

You can register for the event here, and check out the full schedule of events here.

If you are a member of a five-year or ten-year reunion class, incidentally, we’re told you can earmark your reunion donation to the Columbia University Marching Band or Columbia University Wind Ensemble and have it count towards your class total. Ask your school’s alumni office how to make this happen. Columbia’s future alumni instrumentalists will be thrilled.

We hope to see you on June 4!

Winter 2016 News and Notes

Basketball Reunion

If you can be near campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 4, come join the Marching Band and us as we watch the men’s basketball team (currently a happy 9-3 in Ivy League play) take on Brown. In fact, if you played in any Columbia musical ensemble – Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble or Jazz Band – you’re invited to bring an instrument, sit in the stands, and play if you dare. Buy tickets here or at the door. Join Bandies past and present at a post-game get-together, with assorted hijinks, immediately following the game.

Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall

Planning to attend the Wind Ensemble’s return to Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 12? Tickets for the concert start at $20, but a 15% discount awaits if you enter the promo code FAM23271 when you buy seats at the Carnegie website here. Or phone the box office at 212-247-7800. The program, under conductor Jason Noble, will feature recent works by emerging composers and a guest shot by Johan de Meij, who will conduct his own 2014 composition, Downtown Divertimento. The group will share billing with the National Festival Chorus and Texas A&M University Century Singers.

Send us your tapes!

Our call for alumni to dig out old recordings of the Band is bearing fruit: Jazz Band alums have unearthed some more vintage cassettes. As soon as we have them digitized, we’ll list them in the Audio Vault on our website and you can go back a few decades and hear them yourself. We’re always looking for vintage audio and video of any Columbia Band performance. Check your closet!

Radio (and Video) Stars

For Columbia football fans, the highlight of the 2015 season – other than the end of the team’s losing streak – may have been the 11-part podcast “The Season” in which New York radio station WNYC followed the Lions’ fortunes throughout new coach Al Bagnoli’s first year. The Marching Band figures heavily in Episode 10, and WNYC produced a short video extra on the Band. Check ’em out.

CUBAA on Facebook

Check out a new way to stay connected with your fellow band alumni and keep up with all the latest news: we’re on Facebook! Join the CUBAA group on Facebook here.

Homecoming 2015 – Save the Date!

September is here, which means one thing: band season is about to start! We’re planning to have our annual reunion at Homecoming on October 17 – but we’re also adding a twist this year. In addition to our regular gathering up at Baker Field, we’re going to be getting together with the current band to have an evening of singing after the game. We’re still hammering out details but mark the date in your calendar!

Also, we’ll have a table in the big tent on the day of the game and will be selling CDs of the band’s appearance at Carnegie Hall.

Homecoming 2015
Columbia vs. Penn
Saturday October 17, 2015

Kickoff: 3:30 PM (halftime is estimated at around 4:45).

After game gathering: around 8:00 at the Morningside campus.

Reunion May 30 — and more updates!

REUNION MEETUP. Our annual reception will take place during the University’s Reunion Weekend, on Saturday, May 30, from 4 to 6 p.m. We’ll meet in a tented area on Ancel Plaza, the space east of Amsterdam Avenue surrounded by the Law School, East Campus and International Affairs, where the kind alumni folks will treat us to good things to eat and drink; from the main campus, cross the bridge to the Law School and turn left. You’ll have a chance to see the Columbia Band’s motion picture debut, a long-forgotten 1935 musical short called “Meet the Professor!” The Band is seen and heard (it’s a talkie, kids!) for a good chunk of the film, showing its versatility in such numbers as “Who Owns New York?” and Wagner’s Prélude to Act III of “Lohengrin”; not to be missed.

SUMMER FUND DRIVE. Sometimes success has a price. As the Marching Band’s recruitment and retention continues to improve, the cost of keeping the group in instruments, keeping those instruments in repair and supplying all the other things needed to perform at sports and other events grows as the Band grows. We’re working with the CUMB managers as they seek more support from the University. (The Band, after all, does more than almost any other student group to foster community spirit, on the field and on campus.) We also believe in doing what we can as alumni to help along the way. The Wind Ensemble, with smaller financial needs than the Marching Band, does admirable, innovative work with their music program for city school kids and has started to add chamber group performances to its regular schedule of full ensemble concerts; it also deserves our support. So from Reunion in May to Homecoming inOctober, we’re asking alumni to consider making a donation. It’s tax deductible. And yes, if you have an unused instrument in the back of the closet, we’ll take it and give you a nice receipt acknowledging your gift. To offer an instrument, email To make a cash donation, see our website’s Support page.

CARNEGIE HALL ON CD. Also at the reception on May 30, we’ll introduce our souvenir recordings of the Columbia Band at Carnegie Hall, documenting performances with Lehigh in 1963 and with Harvard in 1965. Each concert package consists of two CDs and a 28-page booklet of photos, ads, programs, complete personnel lists, reviews and more. The base price is $30 per concert, but buy at least one of each, or two of the same concert, and they’re just $25 apiece. Or, if you’re feeling generous, a donation of $60 or more to our summer fund drive will bring the set of your choice as a thank-you; we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so this donation will be tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law. If you can’t pick up your copies in person on the 30th, we’ll mail them to you and eat the cost of shipping. Click here for easy on-line ordering.

BACK IN THE PRESENT. The Wind Ensemble finished the academic year with performances by chamber groups and by the full ensemble. Small groups took part in a campus classical concert sponsored by the Columbia College Student Council, and the entire CUWE offered a concluding concert in two open-air venues a few days apart: onein the shadow of Alexander Hamilton (CC1778), beneath the dorms of Van Am Quad, the other at the 116th Street entrance to Riverside Park; the year-end program, following tradition, consisted of pieces chosen by graduating seniors. Meanwhile, the Marching Band also closed out its year in fine form with its own traditional spring performances:welcoming admitted students in April at Columbia’s annual pre-frosh program, Days on Campus; cheering on last-minute filers in the Band’s regular Tax Day ceremony on the steps of the City’s main post office; and, of course, disturbing the midnight peace inButler Library with music and gags at Orgo Night, a ritual now at least 40 years old and still playing to an SRO house. The group also made a first-time appearance marching at the 12th annual Persian Parade in midtown. How about that?

Whether you’re in a reunion class this year or not, if you’re within hollering distance of campus, come say hello on the 30th!

Winter 2014 Update: Archive expansion and end-of-year notes

As the 2014 calendar and the fall semester wind down, here’s some of what’s happening in the world of the Columbia bands and their alumni:

Marching Band. With football season now in the sports history books, the CUMB has moved indoors to support the Lions at all men’s and women’s home games; the group plans at least one trip to an Ivy away game next semester. Meantime, the Band’s musicians have been learning a few new songs and its scriptwriters have been working overtime to prepare for the 69th semi-annual Orgo Night, Dec. 11 at 11:59 PM; no doubt Butler Library staff and campus security are putting sand bags and barricades in place to get ready for the big show.  

Wind Ensemble. Several still-playing alumni – mostly from the 1970s – visited the Wind Ensemble for a special open rehearsal last month; one of them came back to campus a second time earlier this week to perform at the group’s holiday concert in Roone Arledge Auditorium. Woodwind and brass chamber groups, offshoots of the full ensemble, added to the concert program. Next big CUWE date is the seventh annual Columbia Festival of Winds: March 8. For further details, watch this space.

Rare Footage Found! It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap, but after more than two years of searching we’ve managed to obtain from NBCUniversal a copy of the Band’s first appearance in a motion picture: a short released by Universal Pictures in 1935. The 19-minute two-reeler was made by a long-forgotten director and features long-forgotten actors. In fact, the sole name on the opening credits that means anything today is that of the Columbia University Band, which in its five or six minutes on screen runs through three choruses of “Who Owns New York” (play-sing-play), “Sans Souci,” “Stand Up and Cheer” and a good chunk of the prélude to Act III of Wagner’s Lohengrin. (Wow!)

Another recent acquisition in the historic video category, a donation from a Band alumnus, is a VHS recording of the Marching Band at Homecoming 1988, the day the great 44-game losing streak was broken; we hope to digitize it soon for easy viewing. We’re always on the lookout for old photos, documents and audio and video recordings of the Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble or Jazz Band: any era, any format.

And since it cost a bit for that rare 1935 movie, and even simple digitization of a videotape doesn’t come free, if your end-of-year charitable inclinations lean toward the kinds of things we’re doing for the kids and for us ex-kids, please consider directing some of your generosity in our direction. CUBAA is a 501(c)(3), so your gift is entirely tax deductible.

You can donate securely via PayPal or a credit card with a simple click here. Or, if you prefer, send your check to:

Columbia University Band Alumni Association, Inc.
c/o Samantha Rowan
312 East 23rd Street #4D
New York, NY 10010

A wonderful December to all!

Homecoming 2014

The weekend past: A big thank you to those who joined us at our alumni reception Friday, October 24 and at Homecoming on Saturday the 25th. The Marching Band fielded 69 musicians and miscies at the game and – we thought – sounded outstanding, thanks to a large contingent of lower brass and an increasing emphasis on musicality. The managers tell us that the repairs and purchases made possible by our instrument drive play a big part in the group’s improved sound, which makes us feel real good. You’ll find a few choice photos of the weekend below.

Saturday afternoon, November 8: Some alumni have expressed interest in gathering to cheer on the Marching Band at the upcoming Columbia-Harvard game in Cambridge. There may be a group traveling from New York: Band groupies. We’ll try to help non-Cantabridgians link up for transportation to Harvard Stadium; please email columbiabandalumni [at] Let me know also, please, if you’re in the Boston area and would like to come sit with the Band or bring your instrument and play along.

Monday evening, November 10: The Wind Ensemble, coming off its first concert of the academic year last night, is calling an open rehearsal to include Wind Ensemble and Concert Band alumni. Get or keep in shape by sitting in as the group works on Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” and other pieces under its new director, Jason Noble. For details of time and place, email