Hello and welcome from the Harvard University band! We can’t wait to play for you, and we hope you’ll catch the contagious Harvardiana spirit. Since 1919, the band has supported Harvard Athletics with our spectacular music and endless enthusiasm. As we keep the good times rolling into our 100th year, join in the fun! Dance along to your favorite pop tune and sing ye olde traditional fight songs (lyrics in the program). If you like what you hear, stop by and say so! We work hard to sound our best, and we love hearing from the crowd.
The highlight of our program will be the band’s halftime show. You will watch the world’s first university “scramble” band - who has time for that marching nonsense? – present a comic story with demonstrative field formations, painful puns, and props galore! All music is student-arranged and updated regularly to keep our repertoire fresh. Notable shows include the 1968 Playboy show, featured on the magazine’s cover, the 1979 Lone Ranger show, complete with white-horse-riding drum major, and the 1994 playing of 1812 Overture (cannon shots!). More recently, band shows have featured working Iron Man suits, snowball fights, and 15-foot-long dragons.
As much as the band likes to keep things new and exciting, we do have a series of traditions that you’ll observe throughout football games. Mostly, the band likes to throw stuff. If you look our way in the fourth quarter, you’ll see confetti and flowers flying through the air. The flowers hold a special place in the band’s heart. This tradition dates back to the 1950s when Alice Tondel, fondly known as “Mom,” gave yellow chrysanthemums to the dates of the then all-male Harvard University band. Though the band integrated in 1970, Mom continued to watch over the band until her death in 1993. Today, we throw flowers in her memory.
When you look over, you might also notice that some in our number have more grey hair than typically found on a 20-year-old head. Every week, the band’s ranks swell with returning alumni – “Crusties” – who play with us and teach us their archaic cheers. While our 100-plus students listen to the Crusties tell about “Back when I was in the band….,” we know that once you’re one of us, you never really leave.