By Jay Albany
Spectator Associate Sports Editor
Someone Get the Band Aid 
   Much has been made recently about the 
wild and crazy antics of Alma Mater's pride 
and joy, The Columbia University Marching 
Band, also known throughout creation as 
simply the "Cleverest Band in the World."
   Apparently, there are some powerful 
individuals around the University who 
would like to see either an imminent 
disbanding of the band or annexing of 
the "Clever Ones" by the Music 
Department. In expressing this wish, 
opponents of the band have dubbed its 
unique method of showing school spirit 
as obnoxious, distasteful, and 
disgraceful, among other things.
   Perhaps the pervading opinion 
toward the band has best been 
articulated by Athletic Director 
Dr. John Reeves.
   "Two years ago," Reeves was quoted 
as saying in last Monday's Spectator, 
"I told the Columbia College Dean of 
Students Roger Lehecka, that in my 
opinion I would not allow the band to 
return to Wien Stadium...Their behavior 
was inhospitable, unethical, and at 
times vulgar."
   Who am I to argue that the word 
choice in a few of those clever cheers 
isn't perhaps a tad too crude? In fact, 
I think it's pretty safe to say that the 
band's shenanigans are not exactly fit 
for small children. (I'd rate it about 
   It should also be noted, however, that 
the "Cleverest Band in the World" has 
many cheers which reverberate the 
wonderful essence of the Columbia 
undergraduate experience. Who among us 
hasn't felt at least a twinge of school 
spirit upon hearing the Clever Ones ask an 
official, "Hey ref, did crafty Odysseus 
poke out your only eye?" Now, that's 
putting the Core Curriculum to good use!
   But let's get something straight: I 
don't wanna be the guy who's gonna 
challenge Columbia's "powers that be" 
in their desire to ban the band from 
Student Activities until it can actually 
play music other than Guns 'N Roses' 
"Sweet Child of Mine." I mean, they're 
not the Boston Pops.
   I am going to be a guy, however, who 
will feel a deep sense of loss next year 
when I return to Alma Mater for Homecoming 
and see the Clever Ones clad in plaid.
   Whether or not we're fans of the 
Marching Band, I think it's fair to say 
that we all must acknowledge the fact that 
the band as we know it has played a 
significant tune in Lions' history.
   Maybe it is time for the "anti-band" to 
follow the example of the football team 
and ship-shape up. I've been trying to 
recognize Sans Souci for years now.
   Nevertheless, as a senior who is sad to 
see the Era of Cleverness come to an end, I
would like to point out that the band has 
improved substantially since my freshman 
year, when it seemed like a dedicated dozen 
of frenetic fans who couldn't put away their 
Cracker Jack prizes.
   In fact, based on my own experience as a 
face in the Columbia crowd, it seems to me 
that the marching band has been the most loyal 
of Lion faithful. For the last two years at 
Homecomings too cold and too nasty for student 
critics of the band to make an appearance, who
did I look over and see doing pushups in the 
rain after every Lions score? That's right, 
the barons of banter, the sultans of satire, 
the Cleverest Band in the World.
   Play on, band. Play on! (Or at least keep 
juggling those knives.)

Another article from this day's Spec was a satirical prediction of the Commencement address in spring 2002. It included the following bit:

   Y'know, it's funny to think of it now, 
but when I first got here, I actually wrote 
for the Spec! (Pause for hardy 
laughter). That was before Columbia 
University took it over and turned it into 
a public relations organ.
   Remember how back then, students 
actually wrote about what happened on 
   It's much better now that a team of 
highly trained propaganda specialists write 
the articles. Back then, there were lots of
independent student groups-the 
International Socialist Organization, the 
Black Student Organization, the Columbia 
University Marching Band - Actually, I 
think the band was the first group to be
taken over by the administration. 
   Maybe if we'd all paid more attention 
then, they wouldn't have been able to 
take over all the other groups. But
who's to say life isn't better now that 
all the groups are Columbia run?