Our Basketball Ivy O-PENN-er

Princenn University Band?
Preparing to play the SSB with our combined bands!

Ah January, a time for coldness, finals period, and a trip to the Palestra.

That’s right, the band took its annual basketball trip into Philadelphia to support both Tiger teams as they faced off against the Quakers (who I think are still dorks?). Our first road trip under the new officer corps went fairly smoothly, and we successfully arrived at the Palestra with plenty of time to spare. Greeted by a friendly event security guy who let us into the gym, we sauntered into our seat. We were shoved into a corner, as usual, presumably because Penn fans can’t handle the awesomeness of the band, but what we lacked in proximity to the court we made up for in loudness of cheering and playing.

The day started off weird when we left the gym shortly before the game and met the Penn band outside, where we jointly rehearsed the Star Spangled Banner. Penn wanted us to jointly play it before the women’s game, presumably because their numbers were pretty tiny as it was their break. We obliged, and our combined forces were magnificent and beautiful. Of course, we like to think that was mostly us, but I don’t think the Penn band made it any worse. Read More

“Back in My Day…:” A Historical Look at the Band and Basketball

The Band at the 2004 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Josh Burton '05 (right) and Pat Taylor '06 about to explode at the 2004 NCAA Tournament in Denver.

As many of you may know, the band and FoTB (mostly just me, really) are working on compiling a history of the ensemble since 1919.  I’ll be posting topical pieces here to give the band and its alumni a taste of what is being uncovered of the group’s rich and storied past.  Given the flurry of events this week, and hopefully into the coming weeks, I thought I’d take a look at the band’s relationship with the game of basketball.

The band’s relationship with basketball is almost as old as the band itself.  The Daily Princetonian tells us that the band, looking for ways to occupy itself during the off-season, played at its first basketball game on January 28, 1920 against Penn (sucks) in University Gymnasium, just a few months after being founded.  The band, clad only in plainclothes for these early events, continued to play at most home contests from then on, weathering games in frosty Baker Rink when University Gym burnt down, and decades of games in Dillon Gymnasium as Princeton grew into a mid-major powerhouse and perennial “giant killer” in the NCAA Tournament.

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