The Columbia University Band Alumni Association brings together the scattered but enthusiastic alumni of the Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band. For Bandies past and present, we arrange social and networking events, including an annual reunion each October at Homecoming. And through mentoring, fundraising and gentle badgering, we try to make today’s Columbia Band even better than we were.

We’re a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. If you believe in the Band, click your heels together three times and then click here to do your part.

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!

Save the Date for Reunion 2015

A quick alert for Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band alumni of 0 and 5 classes attending Reunion, and for alums of any other classes who’ll be in striking distance of campus the last weekend in May:

Please carve out a couple of hours to join us on Saturday, May 30, starting at 4:00 P.M. We’ll sip, snack, chat and enjoy a rare treat: a screening of the Columbia Band’s first appearance in a motion picture: a loads-of-fun Paramount musical short from 1935 called “Meet the Professor!” It probably hasn’t been seen in public in 80 years.

Come watch and hear the great 1930s CU Band perform such favorites as “Who Owns New York?” (play-sing-play) and “Sans Souci” as well as a creditable rendition of Wagner’s Prelude to Act III of “Lohengrin.” Really.

If you’re a fan of the Band, or of super-camp, vaudeville-inspired old movies, you’ll get a kick out of it.

More details – including location of our gathering place – to come.

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!