Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

We Need To Talk About The Harvard Band

Illustration for article titled We Need To Talk About The Harvard Band

This picture is art. I can't stop looking at it. It almost made me happy for Harvard, in some demented, twisted way—that is, until I looked up the Harvard athletics band, to find more about those wondrous facial expressions, and found this informational paragraph:

As the ever-present and never-failing supporters of Harvard athletics, the Harvard University Band has filled the stands and the gridiron of Soldiers Field with mayhem, music, and wit since 1919. The Band promotes school spirit and tradition, encouraging students and alumni alike to raise song to Harvard at university events. Ever the trend-setter in its field, the Band remains "the best in the business" (The New Yorker).


The "best in the business"! (The New Yorker). Color me impressed. This quote, it turns out, has come up quite a few times over the years. The Harvard University Band is "the best in the business"! (The New Yorker.) When did the Harvard band receive such flattery from such a fine publication (The New Yorker)?

It was around the same time that the allied forces declared victory:

The match between Harvard and Princeton was a satisfactory spectacle just the same, for Harvard's plays were working beautifully and Princeton, lacking that line bucker, tried out a lot of spectacular and often successful passes and laterals, and Harvard never got enough in front to make things look easy. Though the game was far ahead of schedule (the authorities of both establishments know perfectly well that it should come just before the Yale-Princeton game), the old crowd turned out, lunch baskets and all. The Harvard band, the best in the business, showed that it, too, was back in its old form, and, as always, some of the local cowboys tore down the goalposts.


The football players are back from the wars, but Araminta and Lilybelle and the rest of the beautiful old Pullman sisters didn't survive those dark days.


Published October 19, 1946 (The New Yorker).

Update: From ESPN's Pablo Torre, a Harvard grad:

If I recall correctly, the Harvard band has a tradition called the "naked bus." It is what you think it is.

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