My favorite memory of the band, my favorite extracurricular at Princeton, surrounds the advent of our “new uniform” back in 1952.
In my first three years, we were in quasi-military jackets, but performing weird antics on the field like the band has been doing for many years. We definitely did not stand out in any way, and the other Ivy League schools let us know about it. Our band was ready for a change, just not the drastic change that was coming.
I was president of the band in 1952. My colleagues and I were ready to be “Princeton Charley” through and through. The University administration, for some reason, was ready to give us carte blanche on the design. The blazer was to be a unique plaid, designed by one of our moms, woven by a custom weaver in New England. Complementing that centerpiece would be the straw boater, white shirt, Princeton striped tie, gray flannel trousers, and white buck shoes. Uniformity was expected and readily given.
It is a joy to see the essence of that uniform prevail to this date. I was chided by my friends as we marched onto the field that first game in 1952 that we would get laughed out of the stadium. And here we are, 66 years later, still wearing the distinctive plaid jacket. (That’s two-thirds of the history of the band!)
God has a sense of humor.