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Columbia University Will Let Band Play At Lion's Home Finale

The Columbia University Lions are 0-9 this season. So after the team's ninth loss of the season against Cornell, the marching band decided to poke a little fun. The Columbia Spectator explains:

"'Every time every game ends, we play 'Roar," said José Delgado, CC '12 and the band's manager. 'There's music, there's a part in between when we sing lyrics, and there's music again—that's where it happened.'

"Rather than singing the traditional lyrics to Columbia's century-old fight song, many members instead belted an original verse that reflected the losing ways of Lions football—one of a variety of alternative verses that, according to one band member, are meant only for the band bus and Orgo Night, one of the band's most notable traditions. The first two lines say it all: 'We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot, and sometimes by a little.'"

The athletic department wasn't happy and announced the band would not play at the Lion's home finale against Brown, this Saturday.

According to the Spectator, the school's athletic director said the band had "disrespect for the feeling and efforts of their classmates and fellow Columbians..."

But, last night, the university changed course, saying the band would be allowed back on the field. ESPN reports:

"'The band is grateful to have been told this evening that the athletic department will allow us to attend the football game this Saturday against Brown,' the marching band said in a statement, according to the Columbia Spectator, the university's student newspaper.

"'We look forward to honoring the senior class — both on the football team and in the band — and cheering the Columbia Lions on to victory.'"

The New York Times spoke to a member of Stanford's scramble band, or a marching band that is less formal than a traditional band. He said that making the band sit through another Lion's football game was better punishment than anything else school administrators could have come up with.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.