This year’s Harvard-Yale game might sound more like the World Cup than the typical college football match, thanks to student-initiated campaigns at both schools to sell fans vuvuzelas—South African horns that produce a loud monotone drone.
Both Harvard and Yale band members have expressed concerns about the use of these instruments, stating that they fear that the blaring sound of the vuvuzelas will prevent their shows from being heard.
“There is the possibility that both the bands will be inaudible, especially during half-time when we’re performing,” said Harvard University Band member Duncan J. Watts ’12, “and that’s not too exciting, especially for a lot of the seniors who will have their last performance with the band.”
Despite these concerns, Harvard will be permitting the use of the vuvuzelas at The Game as they do not violate NCAA regulations, while reserving the right to stop their use by confiscating the horns if necessary, according to Associate Director of Athletics Timothy W. Wheaton.
“We will deal with them on a case-by-case basis in terms of if they interfere with The Game or interfere with the enjoyment of The Game by the spectators,” Wheaton said.
Yale senior Elliot F. Eaton—the Drum Major and leader of the Yale Precision Marching Band—said he thinks there should be an outright ban on the horns at The Game.
He said that the Yale College Council, the school’s student government, will be recommending that fans with vuvuzelas respect game play and half-time shows, but he does not expect these requests to be successful.
“I don’t think that’s something that can be coordinated once you have drunk people with vuvuzelas,” Eaton added.
Eric M. Cervini ’14 and Johnathon H. Davis ’14—who launched the Silence Yale Campaign at Harvard, which has sold over 400 vuvuzelas on campus to increase school spirit—said they similarly plan to recommend that vuvuzela-bearing fans be mindful of the use of the instruments. Eaton said that there is also a vuvuzela-selling campaign at Yale.
Some Harvard band members said they agree with the sentiment that fans need to be considerate, but disagree with the idea of a ban as the new instruments might increase spirit.
“I hope that Harvard will take the classier route and not simply try to drown out everyone,” Harvard band member Steven M. Shepardson ’11 said. “If they can use noisemakers to support the team and do something more constructive, I would be all for it.”
Harvard football players said they are also looking forward to the possibility of increased energy during The Game. “I think it’s definitely a show of support—any noise we can get especially when Yale’s on offense and we’re on defense,” said defensive back Christopher P. Splinter ’14.
Eaton, though, expressed concern that the loud sounds might hamper the players’ ability to communicate on the field. But Harvard receiver Andrew T. Berg ’14 said he doubted that would happen.
—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Monika L.S. Robbins can be reached at email@example.com.