By Michael Rothfeld, page 1.
'Tis the Season...
Band Allowed to Perform In Rockefeller Plaza Concert
[There's a picture of the Band forming a semicircle around its conductor/drum major. I'm working from a bad photocopy, and the picture really isn't worth scanning. The caption reads, "
WE DO OWN NEW YORK: Members of the Columbia College Band serenaded pedestrians in Rockefeller Center after failing to get thrown off the Columbia property for the first time in four years." We owned Rockefeller until we sold it for half a billion dollars in 1984.]
For the first time in four years, the
Columbia University Ad Hoc Beethoven's
Birthday Christmas Caroling Boston Tea Party
Marching Band failed to taunt Rockefeller
Center authorities into removing them from
the Center's Promennade.
Last year, it took a bribe of free drinks
in the English Grill at the Skating Rink to
make the band stop playing.
This year, however, in a reversal of
policy a spokesman for the Rockefeller
Center security force informed the eleven
band members present that "we like
Christmas." He told Peter Janovsky '68,
manager of the band, that they were welcome
to play in the Columbia midtown complex,
which rests on land owned by Columbia, so
long as they did not disrupt the free
passage of sightseers, businessman, [sic]
and secretaries in the area.
Band members arrived at Rockefeller
Center at approximately 4:30 pm, armed with
a red-and-green placard which was to be used
to inform authorities from the midtown
complex to "Take Your Buildings and Leave!"
The sign was not needed. One band member
went to look for a guard who would attempt
to remove the band from the area but was
Asked what he though [sic] about not
being asked to leave the complex, Janovsky,
visibly frustrated, said, "this is
The band played a number of standard
Christmas carols, including "Silent Night"
and "God Rest Ye, Jerry Mandelbaum." In
honor of Beethoven's birthday, which took
place four days ago, the band played a
rendition of the "Ode to Joy" from the Ninth
To dramatize Columbia's claim to the land,
the Ad Hoc music group played "Who Owns New
York?" with a vocal accompanyment by band
The band presented what may have been the
New York City debut of an authentic
Australian diborignal digereedoo, a long
tube-shaped instrument which makes a
drone-like sound. According to Janovsky, the
instrument is the only marching digereedoo
in the world.
A Columba band member obtained the
digereedoo directly from Australia.
Janovsky said that none are available in
A crowd of several hundred passers-by
stopped to listen to the impromptu band
concert, which lasted for about two hours. A
little girl helped lead the band at one
point until she was frightened away by a
flash from a photographer's camera.
Somber-looking executives suddenly broke
into smiles and many bystanders joined in
song when popular Christmas carols were
played. One woman, however, was disappointed
that the band did not include a shofar, a
ceremonial instrument used in certain
religious ceremonies of the Jewish faith.
At one point, the band marched up the
promenade to Fifth Ave. and joined a four-
piece Salvation Army band in Christmas
carols. The Salvation Army musicians seemed
grateful for a chance to rest for a few
moments while the Columbia band performed.
Audience response to the band performance
seemed to be more than favorable. Yet even
the musical happening could not completely
erase a somewhat somber shadow whose weight
some members of the crowd seemed to feel.
That's the end of the article. Sort of ends on a weird note, doesn't it? By the way, i'd like to mention just how wonderful it is to go to school that's not in the middle of nowhere.