Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Villanova Band is on My Shit List

After not showing up for the Temple game, by my (unofficial count off the top of my head) the Villanova University Band has not shown up to the following games  (all of these games are home games or games within 20 miles of Villanova.)

Temple (two years in a row)
Penn (the last two years)
Every home Playoff Game since 2008
James Madison (2008)
Towson (2008)

My suggestion: make the Villanova Band participate in the ticket lottery for the basketball season.  I really don't care if they don't have enough clarinets. 


  1. As a former member of the band, I agree and disagree. Unfortunately the interest and availability of students for football games is not the same as for basketball. This is true for the entire student body. I do regret that there is not the same level of support for football as there is for basketball.

    Additionally we've had an extremely limited budget. Since we are not associated with athletics we need to pay for buses (to the Linc, Penn, etc), which are not cheap.

    To address these games specifically (granted my memory may not be so great after 4 years of drinking too much):
    The two Penn games fell on the same day as the Villanova Day of Service, where the band and dance teams performed at nursing homes and children's hospitals. I'd like to think these performances are ultimately more significant.
    Again, my memory may not be correct, but I do remember that the 2008 season had A LOT of rain. It may not have been for both games, but I'm fairly positive that the James Madison and Towson games (one of them was homecoming?) were too rainy to take out instruments. Damaging 60+ instruments costs a hell of a lot a money we don't have, and would even further limit the number of games we could play.
    The only home playoff game in 2008 was over Thanksgiving weekend, when the solid majority of students are home (There's really no excuse for last year's playoff games though).

    While you're quick to criticize the band for not showing up to the listed games, why not add the rest of the student body to your shit list as well? There are barely 100 members in band, and a few thousand undergrad? Yet the student attendance at games in my four years has been pretty despicable.

  2. Hey there,
    I'm Brent Schneider, and I'm the student Vice President of the Villanova Band. I came here in 2007 and would like to first say, your list is mostly correct, with the exception that the band was actually at the William and Mary home playoff game last year.
    It sucks that the band isn't always there, but you need to understand how the band works. We are all volunteer. There are no tryouts, no perks (except maybe, a very slightly better chance than the student body at a basketball ticket if you are a junior or senior...and the chance to play an instrument), and no commitment to Athletics because they offer no commitment to us. There has been a strong interest in the band to go to the Temple game the past two years. This year, about 30 band members journeyed down to the Linc themselves but were denied bringing in their instruments by Temple in advance. We drove ourselves, payed for parking ourselves, and bought our own tickets, but since Athletics would not organize us as a group, we could not play at those games.
    The Penn games is a very different story (and we'll be there this year). For the past two years, the Penn game has fell on St. Thomas of Villanova day of service, during which the band was around the Villanova area playing at nursing homes and childrens' hospitals rather than playing at the Penn games. Please forgive us of our absence on those games.
    James Madison and Towson in 2008 were simply a matter of weather, and it would have been irresponsible for us to play at those games. Our instruments would have been destroyed, and the band would now be reduced to a few trumpets.
    As for missing every home playoff game since 2008:
    In 2008, the team played one home playoff game, the day after thanksgiving. I was there, and was one of the only students in the stands. Maybe you disagree, but volunteers should be allowed to go home for the holidays.
    In 2009, the team played a few more home playoff games, however, these coincided with thanksgiving break, the largest snowstorm I've seen in years, and the first day of Finals. Every band member who didn't have a final that day was out there, with their instruments, in the -20 degree wind chill. You probably couldn't hear us though, there were only a handful of us and many of our instruments were frozen solid.

    The fact is that the Villanova band is just a bunch of students, and it is run by a bunch of students. We try our best to be at as many things as we can around campus (I recently tried to get the band to attend home LAX games), and we end up playing at about 100 performances a year. We're volunteer, we don't get paid, we don't expect to get paid, but we shouldn't be expected to a) forfeit going to finals to play, b) play in weather that would damage so many instruments we could not afford to get them repaired, c) be forced to play at games when school is not in session, and d) even when many of us still WANT to play at those games, be required to jump through a hundred hoops, the opposing team's ticket or athletic office, and then pay out of our own pocket to do a service to our school and student body.

    On the bright side, at least we were missed.

  3. As a current member of the band, I would like to clear a few things up:
    The 2009 playoff games were either not attended or poorly attended for a reason.
    The Holy Cross game had the unfortunate timing of being during Thanksgiving break,
    The New Hampshire game... what did they call it, the snow bowl? Two feet of snow would have destroyed our instruments so completely that we would not have been able to attend the...
    William & Mary game, which, admittedly was only attended by about 16 band members. The rest of the band had to do that pesky 'finals' thing.
    Our next game was in Chattanooga, which you can imagine is a problem when we can't afford buses for a trip down I-76 to the Linc... I maintain it would have been worth it though.

    At least you missed us!

    The band is made up entirely of volunteers. We don't get scholarships, we prep for games upwards of 3 hours before kickoff, and we are only noticed by the student body when we're not around.

    For what its worth, I wish we could have been at all those games.

    Also, everyone take off your hats when we play our Alma Mater.

  4. To Band Anon....
    All are excuses. Your weather-related excuses are full of it. None of those games rained. The JMU game in 2008 was a beauty of a day. And by the way the Penn games WERE NOT on the Villanova day of service. Say that you didn't want to come but don't make up lame excuses. The band sucks and they aren't nearly as good as they used to be.

  5. I invite you to the band rehearsals so you can talk to our students and directors about our decisions on when we will or will not play and hopefully understand how the band works. See you then.

  6. The Penn games definitely were on the Villanova Day of Service, as I vividly recall many of the band members being upset that we couldn't attend the Penn game. Why don't you ask Father Peter if he'd prefer the band playing for veterans, the elderly, and the sick, or for the UPenn game.

    Also, weather-related excuses aren't simply excuses, they're legitimate reasons. If our instruments are ruined by inclement weather, guess who foots the bill? The band members! The band is so poorly funded by Villanova that if more than a couple of instruments (mostly student's personal instruments) need any major repairs, the band budget would be exhausted. The JMU game was a fluke, rain was forecast all day and the band was prepared to play as early as that morning, but the forecast gave no reason for hope and the game was called. Of course the skies opened up as the game began. Unfortunate perhaps, but until YOU understand what it means to be in the band and how it works, I wouldn't put it on your "shit list." I've read this blog before, I especially like your thoughts in your post "Why Live and Die by Recruiting," and it's a shame you've picked the band as to be on a list of shit. As a band member who went to all of the playoff games last year on my own accord, including the championship game, I promise you the band is dedicated to supporting not just Villanova Athletics, but the entire community. It would have been great if the band went to the games you mentioned, but unfortunately it didn't work out for one legitimate reason or another.

    -Band Alum

  7. It is true that the first playoff game against Holy Cross in 2009 fell over Thanksgiving Break. But that same day (November 28th, 2009) merely a few hours after the football game there was a Men's Basketball game against LaSalle in the Pavilion. The vacation didn't seem to stop members of the band from attending that event. That was a clear day (a little cold, and little windy) but there was no reason for the band not to show up. Hell, they were already there for the basketball game. I remember that day clearly, because I went to both games and I was disappointed to see that our band had clearly chosen to support one team and not the other.

  8. I totally understand your point with that. Part of the problem with football games (with break games and all other away and playoff games during finals) is that it requires a lot more band members (50+) to sound good, or even to be heard. As you mentioned, you didn't hear us at the WM game last year. We were there. About 16 of them. We could easily send the 7 people willing to sacrifice finals to a playoff with instruments, but you wouldn't even notice them.

    Basketball games only require 20 or so people to have a presence and make a difference. And, break games for basketball are generally covered by an alumni contingent of the band, not the actually band members.

    Since we've been criticizing the band, I'd also like to point out things no one has mentioned. Like how we play at all women's basketball home games and women's big east. If you want to be angry and accuse the band of choosing to not support football 100%, maybe you should accuse the rest of the student body for not supporting women's Basektball as much as men's. Or, for that matter, not supporting the football team until recently when their status improved.

    We do what we can.

  9. I've said on multiple occasions that student and alumni support of football games is deplorable. I enjoy the band and the only reason that I criticize is the fact that when they don't show up, it makes our games are on a neutral site.

    The cheerleaders and the band are supposed to be number one on the "school spirit" totem pole and it sets a bad example to the rest of the students if the band doesn't show up to EVERY on campus sporting event. I'll even give the band some leeway for the UNH playoff game, but definitely not the national semifinal against Bill and Mary.

    The William and Mary band performing the halftime show at a Villanova home game was one of the most disgraceful things I have ever seen.

    The first priority of the band should be to support on campus sporting events and the rest of their activities should be scheduled around them

  10. The Band is a group of people who are, first and foremost, students. If you have a problem with band members making their studies highest priority, then you need a serious reality check. The band is a group of student volunteers who rehearse and perform for reasons outside of just athletic events. Until you have been a member of the band and have experienced the amount of effort that is put into everything they do, you have no right to criticize the decisions made by its members.

    The cheerleaders and the band ARE number one in terms of school spirit. Every band member bleeds blue and white and they attend every home football game and home men's and women's basketball games as possible, but sometimes things like Day of Service, Thanksgiving, and Special Olympics take precedent.

    The band has been supportive of the football through thick and thin. Win or Lose, the band has been there for those home games. So, the band missed a couple for various reasons (aka weather, national holidays, and finals), but our support for the team has remained unchanging and we will continue to be there supporting our team.

    And by the way, I have never once seen a football player, basketball player, or many other members of the student body attend a performance given by the band outside of athletic events. So where's the support for the band who is always so supportive of athletics?

    Until that relationship becomes reciprocal, you can take your "Facts" and shove 'em where the sun don't shine.

  11. Honestly, I am sick of the excuses. If band members aren't committed to the requirements of what a school band does (I have family in bands at other Big East schools) then own up to the fact that maybe you should join the basketball lottery like everyone else (if you are students just like everyone else). Your excuses sounds like all the other posers (not the entire student body) that do activities for the name and act all righteous and holier than thou.

    PS- I was at last year's UPenn game, and it was a 7 pm start. Therefore, the Villanova Day of Service was already over. I would know, because I did both.

    PPS- I enjoy this blog for its honesty


  12. R,

    You say you have family in bands at other Big East schools. I would like to point out to you that Villanova is the ONLY Big East school that does not offer studies in music, either as a major or as a minor. VU is the 3rd smallest Big East school in terms of undergrad enrollment, yet Providence and Seton Hall (the two smaller schools by undergrad enrollment) BOTH offer music programs to students, at least as a minor.

    You accuse the VU band of not being "committed to the requirements of what a school band does," yet it is entirely unreasonable to expect the Villanova band to face the same requirements—whatever you think those are or ought to be—as all other Big East bands, since we are the only band in the Big East that are true amateurs in the original sense of the word—people who do what they do purely for the love of it, not because of mandate or because of special reward.

    As a band member, I am sometimes disappointed we cannot compete with the quality of our rival bands, but your argument, that this is a consequence of personal failure on the part of band members relative to our rivals, is undermined by your ignorance.


  13. I've never been disappointed with the quality of the band (they always sound good) but I am disappointed with the lack of attendance at games within an hour of campus (and some on campus.)

  14. As a current band member, I agree that the lack of attendance at games near campus is unfortunate. The problem is that the band receives very little funding from the university. The band simply cannot afford to pay out of pocket for busses to go to every game. I know that most of the band wants to attend the games that are close to campus, and we are frustrated that we can't.

    I find the criticism of the band's commitment deplorable, however. People obviously don't understand that the band is made up completely of volunteer students. We don't get paid to be in band, we don't get any academic credit, and it has nothing to do with our majors. The band exists because people love to make music and are willing to take time out of their schedules to do so. We can't just show up and cheer on the team with no preparation. If anybody wants us to play music that sounds good, we have to work at it. We could be studying, partying, or doing something else with out time, but we choose to practice because we like being in band and like supporting Villanova. Most of us play our personal instruments, worth thousands of dollars to help make Nova events more enjoyable. The members of the band commit their financial resources and free time to the group and the school. To say that the band is not committed shows a complete lack of understanding of its members.

    It would be nice if the posters here would support the band rather than put us on some "shit list." The band is a group of college students that does the best job it can with the limited resources it has. If somebody would be willing to pay for us to go to the games that are close by, we would be more than willing to go and play. If the band got scholarships, exceptional funding, and other perks like early registration, I would agree that it should unconditionally "be number one on the "school spirit" totem pole" and "show up to EVERY on campus sporting event." If you consider the reality of the situation, however, you realize that the volunteer band that has little funding and limited time DOES promote school spirit more than any other group on campus (is number one on the school spirit totem poll) and DOES attend every event that it makes sense to attend. (Many of us go as regular fans when the whole band can't) All things considered, I think the band does a Hell of a job.

  15. Suggestion then: Make these issues known to your alumni, the general public so that instead of bitching about the lack of funds you can raise some funds. What happened to selling V shirts?

  16. If all else fails, go door to door. All I'm saying that if traveling to the Wachovia Center or The Big East Tournament are in the budget, then the home football games and games nearby should be a priority.

  17. The Big East Tournament actually isn't in the budget. Then band has to pay to go to NYC.