There was once a time when the social stigma of Joe/Jane Schmo in the school marching band hovered somewhere between “geek,” “nerd” and “still ain’t gettin’ any.” Of course, this is also the kid that will go on to become the drummer of the biggest Emo rock band in the Midwest, but that’s beside the point.

We’ve also heard of “sexually active band geeks,” a concept which we suppose was fabricated and then left up to interpretation. And interpret, they did–UC Davis bandsmen are reported to have driven their new band director to the point of filing a sexual harassment complaint with the university. Here’s a condensed list of their raunchiness:

*On last year’s road trip to a football game, men and women stripped down to their underwear to carry out their “naked van” tradition; they also wrote “I (heart) BOOBS” in masking tape on the band.

*Four band members dropped their pants for a photographer at band picnic day to commemorate an actual event where four other drunken band members that got caught urinating in a dorm elevator.

*The trombone players sent their new band director a Christmas card with a picture of Santa Claus and a message that read “I saw you masturbating.”

SFGate goes into greater detail about UC Davis band members’ “lewd” acts, “sexualized” comments and drunken hazing. They also include a lengthy list of other college bands that have been cited or banned for various acts of misconduct. We’d like to point out the long list of offenses committed by the folks we love to hate across the bay.

The UC Davis Cal Aggie Band–much like our own California Marching Band–is student-run, which makes for a sticky situation. The band director is their first in four years, and he has no power to expel musicians that misbehave from the band.

There really isn’t much that can be done in terms of forcing a quick rehearsal on manners and public decency. If band members want to better themselves, they’ll do it, and if the university prefers no band to rowdy band, they’ll take appropriate actions. Society has little reason to fret over the wild and crazy kids; we’re pretty confident that our friends over at Davis will grow up to be responsible and contributing citizens. (Maybe … ) Really, bringing in a PhD-pursuing, 44-year-old man to a college marching band is kind of like inviting your dad to party with you at your frat house (or co-op … or dorm room, for that matter).

We say: If someone should commit an illegal act, they will answer to the law. If the band, or the university should face charges for the acts of one or a few students, then the band will face a suspension of some sort. As for the band director, on the other hand, we only have one question:

What did you expect?

Go home. Teach high school, where they might actually listen when you ask them to keep their pants on.

Image Source: markagibson under Creative Commons, edited by April Angeles
Director Files Complaint about UC Davis Band [SFGate]
In Other News: Cal Aggie Marching Band, Viruses on College Campuses [Notes from the Field]


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