Longtime Friend of Band Dies at 83

Musicians Will Miss `Mom's' Counseling, Enthusiasm

Alice Tondel, known to four generations of Harvard Band members as "Mom," died Thursday, November 4 at Mt. Auburn Hospital of respiratory failure. She was 83.

Tondel was the band's painter, counsel, historian, outfitter, and personality during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, according to Director Thomas G. Everett. While she remained interested in the band's activities, "Mom" was forced to curtail her relationship with the musicians in the past few years because of health concerns.

Everett said Tondel's presence over the years had given the organization continuity and personality.

"The band turned over every four years, but she provided continuity and kept its traditions," he said. "When I started in 1971 she was there to enlighten me as to band tradition. She was an incredible resource."

Band alumnus A. Michael Ruderman '81 said "Mom" actually acted like a surrogate parent to many of the members.


"She was a presence to generations of band members. And at the same time she bridged the gap between them. It sounds trite, but she really was mom to the members of the band," he said.

Tondel began her association with the band in 1956, when band members sought someone to paint an "H" on the bass drum. A graphic artist by trade, "Mom" was smuggled into The Game in exchange for her services, Everett said. She later accompanied the band on every trip it took and every gig it played.

Over the years, "Mom" also acted as an adviser, counseling many of the members even after their graduations, Everett said.

Everett said the band even had a special cheer for "Mom".

"At the end of it she would stand up with her cigar in her mouth and faint into the arms of one of the boys for a kiss. I mean, this says a lot about up with her cigar in her mouth and faint intothe arms of one of the boys for a kiss. I mean,this says a lot about her, she was doing this inher 50s," he said.

Drum Major Craig M. Coldwell '94 said, "Forfour decades the band was her family. She will bedearly missed."

"We went to a birthday party at her house andthe whole thing was full of band memorabilia,"said Drill Master Adam H. Kissel '94. "She lovedthe band and we loved her."

The band is planning to observe a moment ofsilence during the pregame show before thisSaturday's Penn football game, during which itwill create the formation "MOM" on the field. Thegroup will also include a "celebration of Alice'slife" during next year's 75th Anniversary Weekend,according to Everett.

A memorial service will be held in MemorialChurch this Sunday, November, 14 at 4:00 p.m.There, the band will perform