Spectator article by Kristin Kanthak
Band to get more University funding
In an effort to maintain the Columbia
University Marching Band as a vital part of
campus life, Deputy Vice President for
Campus Life Gerald Lowrey said he will help
the band purchase new instruments.
"I'm very impressed by the band. I think
they add a lot of zest and enthusiasm to the
campus," Lowrey said, adding that be became
familiar with the band, which refers to
itself as "The Cleverest Band in the World,"
when he took their annual Underground Tour
Lowrey said he hopes the financial
assistance will increase student attendance
at athletic events other than football by
encouraging the band to attend those events.
"I really appreciate the way they support
campus events, so I feel good about doing
what I can to support them," he said.
Unlike other Ivy League bands, the
Columbia band does not receive any money
from the athletic department.
"I'm sure we earned our current status in
one way or another, especially after the
Yale game when it was children day and we
formed a diaphragm and played [We Hear You]
Knocking," Band Manager Joe Schwartz, CC'92,
The band needs about $1000 to purchase
new instruments, according to Schwartz, who
added that he did not want to ask Polity,
the umbrella group that funds them, for more
"I can't ask them in good conscience,
because I'm in other Polity groups and I
know they just don't have the money,"
Lowrey has asked Schwartz to compile a
list of instruments the band needs, and the
two will sit down together to discuss how
much Lowrey will give, Lowrey said.
Columbia's band is not nearly as well-
funded as other bands in the Ivy League,
Schwartz said, noting that Columbia gets
$5,800 per year, as opposed to $35,000 to
$40,000 per year for other Ivy bands,
according to Schwartz.
He said that such high levels of funding
are not needed for the Columbia band, but
that even a bare minimum of funding has not
been available lately.
"We couldn't go to Bucknell last week
because we didn't have the money," he added.
Lowrey's contribution will help boost the
status of the band, Drum Major Rob Perle, CC
"We're already the cleverest band in the
world, and Lowrey's help will also make us
the most financially solvent, he said.
Columbia does not need the funding of
other bands because band members do not want
the extensive, matching, and "fascist"
uniforms which are the cornerstone of other
Ivy bands, Schwartz said.
"A band like Cornell, I think they wear
regulation underwear. Seriously," Schwartz
said, adding that members of Columbia's band
are free to wear undergarments of their
The uniform of Columbia's band consists
of sweatshirts and T-shirts, both purchased
by individual band members, Schwartz said,
adding that the T-shirts are also for sale
to non-band members.
"We try to hawk those at the games. They
go pretty well," he said.
Schwartz said he wants to assure fans
that the band will not change its style
because of the funding.
"We're not going to be a fascist band and
we are certainly not going to be less
offensive," Schwartz promised. "We're going
to be just as scruffy as ever. I can assure
you of that."
Also, the new instruments will not push
out the band's old standbys, such as
macaroni shakers played by band members with
no musical talent whatsoever, according to
Perle, who said he can read music.
"The squeeze mops and borscht bottles
will definitely stay," he said.
Although Columbia College Dean of
Students Roger Lehecka maintains the right
to edit the band's scripts, Perle said he
did not believe editing will become more
"The money really isn't coming from
Hamilton. It's coming from Low. This really
doesn't have anything to do with Lehecka,"
One of the first events the band will
attend is an upcoming women's volleyball
game against Princeton at the Levien Gym,
according to Women's Volleyball Coach Peggy
"It will be great to get that kind of
support from them," she said.
Schultz said her only concern was that
the band, which has a reputation for being
rowdy at football games, may not stay quiet
during important times in the game.
Schwartz said he is aware of the issue
and does not think it will be a problem,
since they play under similar conditions
during basketball games.
"We're pretty used to noise regulations.
Basketball referees tend to hate us,"
Schultz said she hopes the band's
presence will help boost attendance at the
"We want to be the sport at Columbia that
people watch," she said.