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!

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