Controversy and the Columbia University Marching Band

Even the cleverest of us can’t go too long without getting into some trouble. And the same is true for The Cleverest Band in the World.

While the Columbia University Marching Band usually does a good job with its satire, sometimes its antics create controversy that has gotten the band talked about across the country, and even banned from performing at certain colleges!

Indeed, the Columbia University Marching Band made poignant statements about the Vietnam War, Johnson administration and birth control during the 60’s and 70’s. In the 80’s and 90’s, the band put on performances that featured commentaries on New York City’s anti-homeless policies, burning of the American flag and same-sex marriage.

More recently, the band has seen controversies due to content that has been deemed anti-religious by some, and there is always controversy between Columbia’s fellow ivy-league schools and bands, as rivalries flare and pranks are made.

Through its history, the Columbia University Marching Band has made a name for itself by pushing the envelope, through its performances of socially relevant topics, or just by marching and playing in places that bands usually don’t go (click here). And, when compared to the actions of other scramble bands, one could argue that the group has exercised good taste in its many performances since starting the scramble band tradition in the 1960’s.

While it does sometimes cross the line, the Columbia University Marching Band is quick to retract any content it deems questionable or regrettable, while continuing to enliven the students and citizens of Columbia University, the greater New York city area, and sometimes even other parts of the nation.

The Columbia University Marching Band, lifting spirits since 1904

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