Why we're cooler than other bands

For more information, check out our Constitution and FAQ... and if you already know all about us and want to join, skip ahead to that part.

If you were a high school musician who didn't want to practice for long hours each afternoon to play three-movement symphonies while forming pinwheels on the fifty-yard line, you had the right idea. That kind of nonsense doesn't interest Columbia Bandies either. We have a different view of what a marching band should be.

A brief history

See, in the 50s, our great country was going through a lot of changes. Disco was at its peak, little Shirley Temple was charming the hearts of Americans everywhere, Jesus was walking the earth, and Ronald Reagan was pushing hard for the new Women's suffrage movement. The Columbia University Marching Band, which had always been slightly wacky, took a good look at itself. "How," we asked ourselves, "could we make being in a marching band even more fun?" Well, we decided that the whole marching around and forming rhombi thing had gone out of style with World War II. So we introduced the world to the "scramble band" concept - so named for the way bandies would scramble from one interesting formation to the next.


As Band became more popular, people who didn't play stuff started to join. Originally it was just Bandies' girlfriends (Columbia was not yet co-ed) but soon more and more people began to join Band solely as an outlet for their cleverness. It became evident that we'd have to come up with a way of accomodating them. These people were welcomed onto the field with the instrumentalists, became known as miscies (i.e. miscellaneous). Today, miscies are becoming a thing of the past. In an effort to keep the people who don't play instruments on the field, we are starting a "color guard." For those of you who have visions of a squad of highly-trained flag twirlers, you are utterly wrong. In the true spirit of CUMB, the "color guard" will indeed have flags, but it will be a clever group dedicated to making us look cooler.

Over the years, many other bands have fashioned themselves in our image. Hey, good for them, we wish every band was like this. If you're still not sure what this whole scramble thing is all about, Stanford summed it up pretty well.

Join Us

It's easy to join the band. All you need to do is find us (assuming we haven't found you first). To get on the cumb announcments listserv, click here and send an email to the person listed as "Personnel Manager." During recruitment you can come see the Underground Tour (which is part of the aforementioned us finding you). I guess you could just come to a practice session, which are usually on Tuesdays (only during football season) and Thursdays at 9:15 p.m. in 435 Horace Mann (that's a Teacher's College building on 120th & Broadway) or a game. Although the band has a small stockpile of instruments, it is highly desirable if you can bring your own brass. Don't play any of the convential instruments? No problem! You can still find a place in the band as part of the color guard. If you only want to excercise your creative juices and be part of our crack scriptwriting squad, that is okay too.


Our uniform is as follows:

  • CUMB t-shirt
  • White pants.

You MUST have white pants. White sweatpants are NOT white pants. Pale bluejeans are NOT white pants. White skirts ARE white pants. If you do not have white pants, the band will have a tailor come in to fit you early in the fall. He usually thinks that everyone is shorter and fatter than they really are - don't miss it!

  • Blue and white rugby

Up until 1995, we had Turbo-Acrylic sweaters, complete with a classy racing stripe on the left sleeve (hence the "Turbo"). Although they were totally water resistant, and really easy to wash, they were also really ugly and failed to provide any sort of warmth. But then we got 100% virgin wool sweaters (well, almost-virgin), available for sale or rental to band members. Yes, we no longer looked the pariahs of yesteryear.

Now, with the advent of the new millenium and BARBARIAN sportswear, we've developed a fabulous line of blue and white striped rugby shirts. Warm in winter, cool in summer, and survives years of abuse from building pyramids and amateur grappling.