To the Editors of The Crimson:
Bill Scheft's malicious attack on the Harvard Band in the Crimson of January 11 was an example of sloppy and amateurish journalism. As was the case last year, the Harvard hockey team is suffering from a mediocre season, at least in contrast to previous years of championship-caliber teams; and as was the case last year, The Crimson has begun to do what the National Enquirer would do; look for scapegoats. Again the Harvard Band has been found as the number one culprit.
To set the record straight, the Band receives no financial support from the University for playing at hockey games and the hockey band exists only through the fund-raising and musical efforts of band members. In contrast, the Brown Band is supported by an Undergraduate Activities Council which, among other things, pays for trips to away games, something our band cannot regularly afford. With no such incentives involved, and considering that many band members just don't like hockey but are willing to play at the required three games, a smaller level of enthusiasm in our band is understandable. In addition, the Band has neither the time, the resources, nor the instrumentation to continuously modify its limited repertoire, something the fans often, complain about. The core of hockey-loving band members is always vocal, but, because of reasons cited above, is unfortunately sometimes small.
When Mr. Scheft was looking for masqueraders, he entirely overlooked the fans at hockey games. The fans suffer from chronic lethargy and apathy, something of which the Band has never been able to cure them, although it has tried and is still trying. However, as in any persistently futile effort, momentary lapses are entirely unavoidable. The response of the fans to the Band is always nil. In fact, the only positive response the hockey band gets from anyone is great praise and support from the team itself, through Coach Cleary. After last year's playoff upset at UNH (were you there, Mr. Scheft?), Cleary raved about "that great band," and the year before, after Harvard's last-minute 3-2 victory over Yale, Cleary credited the Band as being a major factor in the win. Of course, that was all in past years, but the fans were just as dead then. To my knowledge, Cleary hasn't raved like that about the fans, and he certainly doesn't rave about The Crimson, and after all, who knows better what kind of support a team needs than a hockey player himself? Ted Russell '78