Hostilities of Cold War: The Army MX's the Band
The United States Army has had enough of the Ivy League.
Members of the Princeton Marching Band two years ago unbuckled their trousers and allegedly moistened the University of Delaware's football field. For that performance, the group did not receive an invitation to perform in West Point's homecoming the following year.
Harvard's own existential bunch of Pied Pipers a couple of seasons back ridiculed an American President and the cadets' rigid stance at the West Point Stadiums.
This summer, the Academy's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Carl Ullrich refused to permit the Harvard University Precision Marching Band to follow the team in Saturday's games.
"I just don't like nasty stuff," Ullrich said. "And I don't like when you have a captive audience which can't respond [to Harvard's actions]." All cadets are expected to stand up right for the entire game and are not permitted to display the liberal form of collegiate rivalry in which the Harvard band frequently indulges.
Members of the West Point community this week also criticized the Harvard Band's antics. Lt. Col. Ronald McCowen, director of the West Point band, said. "I'm afraid that there's a little thing called common sense, courtesy and manners which were forgotten [when the Band performed]. There are so many good things which can be done by a band. All they are doing is destroying a vital part of the American music program."
Ullrich--a non-military man and an Ivy League graduate--insisted that he doesn't disapprove of all Ivy League bands. "Cornell has a military marching band and that appeals to our folks. They're always welcome. It's just better entertainment."
Ullrich also pointed out that the Harvard band was "invited to sit in the stands as long as it had tickets. But they didn't accept our invitation."
Aprille Murphy, director of the Harvard Marching Band, said that the Band wasn't making the trip to New York this weekend because of "logistics." She added that since the invitation was extended to the Band only last week, it would have been too difficult to get the business.
In fact, "two years from now, I want to invite the Harvard band back, and say, 'By golly, let's give the band another chance!'" Ullrich said. "I look forward to seeing the Harvard Band [perform on the field] in '84."
But when asked if the Band would change its conduct when it returns to West Point, Murphy said, "We'll act the same way we always have. I wouldn't expect any change. There may be more thought put into the show, but I'm not sure that it would make any difference. That's for the drill master and the director two years from now to decide."
Richard R. Brody '81-4, a member of the Band expressed the organization's disappointment about not traveling to West Point. "We're all pretty bummed about it," he said.
A member of the West Point Marching Band declined to comment on the absence of Harvard's bugling forces in this afternoon's game. "I'm not at liberty to speak views or the views of the band. We do what we're told. We don't have any preference one way or the other."
When Ullrich was contacted at his home, Harvard Athletic Director John P. Reardon '60--a friend of the Ullrichs'--was a dinner guest. He gave his account of the friction between the two Universities. "As you know, I only run the Athletic Department. I have nothing to say. I'm just sitting at the dinner table."
Ah, diplomacy at its best