By Nina Tannenbaum
   It was approximately seven years ago 
this Saturday when, while attending a
homecoming game with my father, I 
conclusively decided that Columbia was 
the only institution of higher 
education for me.

   You must be wondering what it was 
about that mystical day which so 
strongly compelled me to this 
university and this one alone. Was it 
the architectural iconoclasm of Baker 
Field, or the grand airs of success of 
yuppie alumni fans, or the might of the 
football team which so endeared me to 
this institution?
 
   Certainly not, for these were mere 
aesthetics, and I, at age 14, was 
quite deep: it was the marching band, 
clad in jeans and blue face paint with
makeshift instruments and unconventional 
formations, and most importantly, their 
witty script and cheers, which enchanted 
me from first glance. The marching band 
to me epitomized the insouciant Columbia 
student: bright, creative, indifferent 
to conservative standards, and witty - 
effusively witty - and unconventional.

   Academically superior in the 
classroom, dynamic, and fun-loving in
life! I had found my people, my calling. 
I marveled at the band in peaceful 
content as the CU quarterback fumbled 
and the crowed roared in discontent.

   Four years later as an entering 
freshman, my immediate goal was to join 
the band. Indeed, they were a motley 
crew, and I adored them for just that. I
started out playing the trumpet and 
eventually advanced to the fork and spoon,
but throughout I remained faithful to our 
goal of supporting the football team at
home and away.

   And that's exactly what we did.

   Whether playing the mailbox or the 
tuba, my band colleagues and I were among 
the few students to consistently support
the team, through monsoons and snow storms,
brilliant wins and devastating losses. 
But the marching band of my freshmen 
year was perhaps the last remnant of the 
old and dedicated regime. Since then, the 
state of band affairs has severely 
declined, and with it, the pure Columbia 
spirit has been lost.

   Understandably, the administration has 
cracked down on the band, endeavoring to
reform its liberal ways and conform it to 
the plaid-wearing stuffy conservative 
bands of Harvard and Yale, but in doing 
so, they have and are unknowingly killing
the Columbia spirit. The Columbia marching 
band will never live up to the 
administration's ideal because, quite 
frankly, the enthusiasm on the part of the
student body n'existe pas. We are without 
it, and that is precisely what makes us
Columbia students.

   Essentially, the points of my nostalgic 
ramblings is to underline the fact that
the marching band, the way it has been 
for the past 30 years, is a group of
dedicated individuals endeavoring to 
pass on a tradition so quintessential 
to the Columbia persona while 
simultaneously entertaining a crowd. 


   Indeed, the harsh suppression of the 
band's joi de vivre on the part of the
administration is a sad commentary. What 
the administration does not realize is 
that by trying to conform the band to 
conventional standards, they are severely 
hindering the individualistic, 
exuberantly intelligent, witty, and 
delightfully cynical nature of the 
Columbia essence.

   In writing this I don't expect the 
administration to change its course of 
action against the band, nor do I 
expect any supportive sentiment on the
part of fellow Columbians, but what I 
do want to instill in the administration's
conscious is that we, the Columbia 
students, whether current band members or
not, are the future Alfred Lerners.
 
   As a senior about to embark on a 
career of great wealth and success as a 
powerful banker, I urge the administration 
to critically question and understand the
consequences of their current and future 
actions toward the student body (much in
the same way we have been taught in our 
outstanding education here), as the way in
which we are treated as undergraduates 
will inevitably affect the way in which 
we treat Columbia as alumni. Enough said.

Also on this day, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about Ivy League football. There was a little chart of each school's claims to fame, outlook for this season, etc. Columbia's claim to fame was "Set former NCAA record of 44 straight losses in '80s. Irreverent band once formed bridge and car in 'tribute' to Sen. Edward Kennedy."