G(tb)2

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Amanda collects stories about Jellyvision employees. One of her favorite questions to ask people in interviews is, “What are three things about yourself that would surprise me?” I started working at Jellyvision before Amanda so I never had to answer that question, but I recently told her that I had been on Letterman and she seemed quite surprised. Truth be told, I had kind of forgotten about it, but I’ll tell the story anyway.

It all stems from my year as a member of the Columbia University Marching Band, The Cleverest Band in the World™. Ivy league schools have pretty really pathetic football teams. They also have really pathetic marching bands. To compensate for their lack of musical ability, marching prowess, dedication and size, most Ivy League marching bands are “scramble bands.” That is, instead of marching, they run around the field like idiots while reading jokes over the P.A. Occasionally they play songs too.

I was a member of this crack semi-musical unit for a while. I played clarinet in the marching band in high school and was recruited by a friend: “Wait, you actually play an instrument? We need you.” You see, much of the band is made up of “miscies” who play any miscellaneous thing they can find, be it a beer keg, stadium seat, toilet or even, yes, the kitchen sink.

cumb.jpgSay what you will about the band, and lord knows people have, but it is an organization steeped in amazing, ridiculous traditions. In fact, Columbia’s best tradition is probably the semi-annual “Orgo Night,” when the band invades the library at 11:59 the night before the Organic Chemistry final exam and mayhem ensues. We even had a secret equation (yes, we were nerds): G(tb)2. I’m not allowed to tell you what that means, but rest assured, it’s not that interesting.

Anyway, flashback to 1995. During a “rehearsal” one of the drummers (I think) said, “Hey, let’s go play outside of the Late Show studio and see if they put us on TV.” A couple days later we did exactly that, and amazingly, it worked! We got to go on stage and play one of the Columbia Fight Songs (“Who Owns New York”) as the credits rolled. Letterman’s response sums it up: “Hey, how about that Columbia University Marching Band? (Shrugs.) How about their uniforms? (Shrugs again.)”

A couple weeks later, Letterman sent us a check to “get some real uniforms.”

I couldn’t find a video of the appearance anywhere, but I still have the “real uniform” we got with the money. It still fits! Check me out!

Here’s the official rendition of the story from the CUMB archives.

UPDATAE: As promised, my mom digitized the video. Here it is. I’m a dork.

Comments

Are you sure you don’t want to post that memorable video?

I know I said I couldn’t find a video of the appearance, but my mom could. (Of course she could.) If she decides to digitize the old VHS tape, I’ll post it on here and you can all laugh at what a dweeb I was. (Was?)

~ evanjacover      

Excellent! Now we just need to make our fight song a ring tone for my cell phone and I’ll be able to die happy. We need to take this stuff seriously now that Barrack will be president.

~ Ray, Class of 1981      

I can’t wait until I can join the band! I am a total flute dork. I also am dying to know what G(tb)^2 means.
It’s so cool that you guys got on Letterman! I hope that I get to do something like that sometime…
Oh, and Ray, you spelled Barack wrong.
Can’t wait to be a member of the Cleverest Band In The World!

~ Leila, hopeful member (in 2013)      

Mmm, the Band is always watching. Evan, please regale us with your old Band stories via email (poet@cumb.org); we love to keep in touch with our alums, and we have nicer uniforms now. Leila, please come find us when you get to Columbia.

Oh, and G(tb)²!

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