This is from Columbia Alumni News, vol. 24. Funny how it's written in 1932, but it
still talks about the origins of Band as if it were ancient history. I guarantee you'll
be saying "Wow, the more things change, the more they stay the same," all throughout the article.
In fact, I think I'll highlight those spots.
Columbia's First Band Appeared in Fall of 1904
It is a far cry from the eighty-piece
band that tooted its trumpets and rolled its
drums at the Columbia football games this
past season back to the be-derbied group of
eight musicians who rendered, after a
fashion, the musical notes at Blue and White
football games of twenty-eight years ago.
If you were a spectator at the Columbia-
Cornell football game in 1904 at the
American League Ball Park, up where the
great Medical Center now stands, you
probably remember seeing and hearing
embyronic [sic] and aspiring Sousas rendering
music in a lusty fashion. It was not often
in those days that Columbians had an
opportunity to sit in on a victory, 12-6,
over Cornell and the band let everyone know
That 1904 band made up in noise and
spirit what it lacked in number and
symphony. Down Broadway it came, past the
few remaining farms on Manhattan Island,
along through the pleasant little
residential districts, paraded around the
then puerile Columbia campus and then down
to the famous gathering place at Broadway
and 110th Street-the Lion Cafe.
Such was the start of Columbia's band.
Below is a picture of the 1904 band taken on
the steps of the old Faculty Club, where the
School of Business now stands. There you see
the pioneers in Morningside Heights bandom,
as fine a group as ever plucked peanuts out
of a tuba or kicked a size twelve through a
On the left there is Herman W. Albert,
'05, who is a prominent banker in San
Francisco. Next to him, all dressed up and
some place to go, is Frederick Luce, '06,
now a druggist in the thriving community of
The fellow with the big hat is Earl C.
Stevens, '06E, an engineer in Portland, Ore.,
and then comes William Neidlinger, '07, the
trap drum expert, who is now a resident of
New York City.
The 1932 band did not set a precedent by
recruiting a few "ringers" for in 1904
Burnett C. Tuthill, '09, '10AM, while a
student in prep school, wandered up to
Morningside Heights with his clarinet and
joined the musicians. He blew a good tune so
he was permitted to remain a member of the
band and the clarinet offered at least a new
instrument. Tuthill now is prominent in
musical circles in Cincinnati.
Rather small of stature but remarkably
strong of arm, Walter W. Mott, '05, '09P&S,
lugged the bass drum hither and yon in
Columbia's musical parades and William F.
Thoman, '03, '06E, now vice-president of the
Caye Construction Co., New York City, also
was a member of the band. On the extreme
right there is Henry H. Goodwin, '06E, who
is a building contractor and real estate man
in New York City.
The 1904 band was a short-lived affair.
Enthusiasm was one of its largest assets and
in its brief existence it made plenty of
noise, the peak being reached at the Cornell
game of '04. In fact, grey-bearded gentlemen
of the undergraduate era of nearly thirty
years ago recall that the Columbia band did
not exist before the Cornell game and that
with the Blue and White victory it faded
into obscurity, not to be revived until
wing-collars among students were passe along
For several years, Columbia was without a
band but in 1913, mostly through the efforts
of Walter W. Dwyer, '15, students on
Morningside organized a band with Ben
Philson, '14L, now in the insurance
business, as band master. When the call went
out for candidates to meet in the Commons
about one hundred men reported, ninety-nine
of whom were cornet players.
A room on the top floor of the School of
Mines building was the scene of rehearsals
during the Fall of '13 and then, with the
start of the basketball season, the band,
twenty-three men strong, blossomed out and
enlivened the basketball season by playing
at the games. Football was not in vogue at
Columbia at that time so the musicians saved
their efforts for Basketball and crews
The band accompanied the basketball team
to Yale and Pennsylvania for games in 1914
and then in June of that year it went to
Poughkeepsie on a special boat and helped to
celebrate Columbia's crew victory in
excellent style. In 1915 it was even given
space on the observation train! The hills
around Highland and Poughkeepsie probably
are still resounding the echoes of the noisy
The 1913-14 band had Alan Bierhoff, '16,
'18P&S, as its piccolo player and the
clarinet experts were Harry H. Canterbury,
'17, and Kimball C. Atwood, '16, '18L.
Canterbury is an engineer in Los Angeles and
Atwood is in the insurance business.
The 1913-14 band was cornet-strong, for
nine men hit the high notes and the low
notes for it. There were Harold B. Adams,
'16; Larry Doyle, '14E; Ben Philson; Ike
Lovejoy, '17; Ben Bohall, '15; George Van
Emburgh, '17, '19P&S; Charles Brieant, '15,
'18P&S; Bill Pines, '17, and W. H. Wilson,
The altos were Harold Helms, '16, J. E.
Oster, and Oscar Laubscher, '15E. The
trombones were played by such masters of
musical accomplishment as Herbert Gran, '15,
Harold Knight, '14J, and William Marquadt,
J. B. Relatteck, '16E, was the baritone
and the tubas, so popular in modern music,
were J. H. Sengstaken, '14E, and H. M. Lake.
The rolls of the drums were rendered by
James Howard, '15E, and G. M. Dawson, '14,
It was quite a band, that 1913-14 outfit.
When it had uniforms they usually were too
big or too small but such a handicap did not
interfere with the band-playing. Rain or
shine, cold or warm, the early Columbia
bands offered a lot of fun to their members
and associations were formed among the
members that have formed [sic] that have
lasted with increasing feeling, through the
Captions: [Pictures can't be reproduced
because the Columbia folk say that the pages
are in worse condition than they actually are]
The Band of a Bygone Era:
[eight fellows in derby hats, one having a
significantly wider rim than the rest,
holding their instruments at jaunty angles.]
The 1904 group of musicians, regarded as
the first band at Columbia. Left: Herman W.
Albert, '05; Frederick Luce, '06; Earl C.
Stevens, '06E; William Neidlinger, '07;
Burnet C. Tuthill, '09; Walter W. Mott, '05;
William F. Thoman, '06E, Henry H. Goodwin,
The 1913-14 Columbia Band
[A large group of fellows three-four rows
deep (depending on how one counts), all
wearing three piece suits. One bow tie. One
black shirt (being on the director). No hats.]
The alert-looking young men pictured
above sometimes were known as "Walter
Dwyer's Band" for it was he who organized
the group in the Fall of 1913 to furnish
music for Columbia athletic contests.
[E=engineering, P&S=physicians and surgeons,
L=law, J=journalism, AM=Arts Masters?]