Johnny Harvard '43, hot lick artist on the slide trombone, easily made the Harvard Band last fall. But the hand of welcome was extended palm up: $5.00 for dues, $9.00 for use of uniform, and another $5.00 as a deposit against fines and incidentals. The return for this sum and six hours of practice a week was free admission to the football games, a few hockey and basketball matches, an H.A.A.-sponsored trip to Princeton by bus and second-rate boat, a watch fob at the annual banquet (for which Johnny shelled out another $2.90). Many of his classmates, top-notch musicians but scholarship men, can't afford the money in addition to the time. Only the prospect of a Chicago trip--and it was finally called off--kept a goodly number of the other hundred band members in the organization this year. From any viewpoint, the Band pays high for the privilege of playing, and the dollar marks mixed in with the notes are bringing out some sour music.
Up to this fall the Band even had to pay the University for Sanders when it practiced there. The maintenance department charges them for the equipment used in mid-game stunts, and they also stand the cost of upkeep for the big drums and their few other instruments. Most fellows use their own.
The situation is quite unlike that at Mid-Western schools, where R. O. T. C. units supply the needed funds, or at Yale, where loyal alumni bear the burden. Here graduate donations are negligible, and attempts to get more are unsuccessful. That ground is already well-raked by the Alumni Association.
The Band can only look to Bill Bingham and the H. A. A. But there the surplus is yearly fed into the starving little Conant-Bingham Athletic Endowment Fund and the Band left to its own devices. True, the athletes aren't squalling for subsidization, but the footballers don't buy their own helmets (nor does the Band buy caps--they can't afford them). Harvard has long had one of the best drilled and worst dressed bands in the East. Johnny and the boys are beginning to feel that they're not getting a square deal. But financial arrangements for next season must be made soon, and the band hesitates to speak up. A threat of a hold-out next year would stir up the turgid H.A.A. And some good, long, sour notes would shift the band's expenses from Johhny's term bill to where they belong--among the rest of the H.A.A. disbursements.