Yale Precision Marching Band

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Yale Precision Marching Band
YPMB, The Band
Yale Precision Marching Band play Yale Bowl.jpg
Yale Precision Marching Band at Yale Bowl in 2019
SchoolYale University
LocationNew Haven, CT
ConferenceIvy League
Founded1917 [1]
DirectorThomas C. Duffy
Fight song"Bulldog, Down the Field"
WebsiteYale Precision Marching Band

The Yale Precision Marching Band (affectionately known as the YPMB, or more simply The Band, for short) is the official marching band of Yale University. It is a scatter band (what some peers might call a "scramble band"), as distinct from university marching bands that emphasize precise movements and geometric field formations. Band members refer to themselves as "The Members Of...", which is derived from their introduction at Yale events.

About The Band[edit]

Wearing chef hats

Aside from Director Thomas C. Duffy and Business Manager Stephanie Theodos Hubbard, the band is largely student-run.

  • The Drum Major conducts the band during rehearsals and at games. The current Drum Major is Alex Wynn, TD ‘22.
  • The Manager works closely with the Drum Major to organize performances and events on-and-off campus and ensure the well-being of the group. The current Manager is Patrick Cherry, GH ‘21.
  • The Production Managers (PROs) guide a production team that writes each week's halftime show. The current PROs are Alex Wynn, TD '22, Eleazar Camez, GH '21, and Claire Nelson MC '22.
  • The Student Arranger (STUD) heads the Musicological Junta, the student team that arranges music for the shows. The current STUD is Matt Tu, MC '2@.
  • The Social Chairs plan social gatherings and bonding events for the band outside of performances. They work to create a comfortable environment for everyone in the band. The current social chairs are Patrick Cherry, GH '21 and Jacob Payne, TD' 21.
  • The Equipment Managers ensure that the band has all the necessary items to thrive during rehearsals and performances. The current equipment managers are Lilly Gold, MC '21 and Natalia Taylor, BR '21.
  • The Media Specialists (Photogs) document the band's adventures through photos and videos. They record every halftime show, which is posted on the band's YouTube channel. They post photos of the band on Facebook and they have control over the band's Twitter. The current Photog is Victoria Winter, BF '22.
  • There are eight sections, the leaders of which assist the Drum Major and Manager in the running of the band. They also lead sectionals and provide section morale. The current section leaders are Hailey Dykstra (Trumpets), SY ‘23; Ben Christensen (Low Brass), MC ‘23; Xilonem Perez (Straaangs), PM ‘23; Emmy James (TD ‘23) and Lasslo Kopits (KBB); Alina Martel (ΣΑΧ), TC ‘23; and Catherine Zhang (UWW), SM ‘23.
  • The Announcer announces and performs the halftime shows during football games, and works closely with Mark Ryba,[2] the play-by-play announcer for Yale football. The current announcer is Aidan Houlihan (TC '21).

The band performs at most Yale football, basketball, and hockey events, and travels with Yale athletic teams across the country. It makes regular appearances in New York's Village Halloween Parade. It has been featured on Good Morning America and in many newspapers.

The repertoire of the YPMB is constantly evolving, driven by student arrangers and pop music trends. Besides standard types of band instruments, the YPMB includes violins, bagpipes, accordions, keyboards, keytars, musical saws, and air guitars, and in 1973, was the first scatter band to incorporate electric guitars.[citation needed]

The YPMB's "Squids" section creates large cardboard props for halftime shows. The Squids evolved from the "Appoges" /əˈpɪz/ (after "appoggiatura", a grace note) of the 1980s and 1990s, who handled props but also carried their own "instruments" (frisbees, stuffed giraffes, lounge chairs). The Squids have also been known to handle more visually stunning aspects of the halftime show, such as flaming sousaphones, blank-loaded firearms, and other non-traditional marching band additions. The appearance at certain games of smoke- and flame-producing pyrotechnics has also been linked to the YPMB Squids, but this has never been successfully confirmed via official channels. Squid alumni have gone on to join The Flaming Lotus Girls, The Cacophony Society, professional pyrotechnic companies, and other groups.

YPMB uniforms consist of white pants and dark blue blazers with the University emblem for football games; signature t-shirts for basketball and volleyball games; and hockey jerseys for hockey, lacrosse, and most other sports.

The Game[edit]

For the annual Harvard-Yale game - The Game - the YPMB puts on its largest halftime show of the year, featuring enormous three-dimensional props. Known as "Überprops", these typically serve as a means of destroying John Harvard. An Unterprop is the opposite of an Überprop. An Unterprop would be used to represent John Harvard and would be destroyed by the band during the halftime show. An Unterprop was used for the first time in 2001.


Überprop "Dmitri" at The Game 2010 (in attack position)
Überprop "Peggy" at The Game 2006 (wings folded)
  • 2019: "Corneleous," a 20-foot-long lion with moving neck, jaw, and legs. It delivered the final blow to the Harvard Hyenas who tried to hurt Baby Boola.
  • 2018: “Othello”, a mosaic of 49 posters that when raised together form the logo from the Incredibles and when flipped turns it blue.
  • 2017: "Jim," a 25-foot-long bald eagle with a 40-foot wingspan. Complete with flapping wings, it was used to destroy the Academic Ship of State (A.S.S.) Harvard boat.
  • 2016: "Batilla," a 12 foot long Batmobile which lead the college flags in a jailbreak to free Boola the Bulldog.
  • 2012: "Ziggy the Ziggurat" a two part Mayan temple where the college flags could remain hidden from view along with a podium in the middle in which a person could climb up.
  • 2011: "Eustace," an 13 feet (4.0 m) tall bulldog Patronus who repelled the dementors of John Harvoldemort.
  • 2010: "Dmitri," a sparkling blue toruk (the species of dragon from the movie Avatar), which the reigning squiddeities rode onto the field.
  • 2009: "Shield of Yaleonidas," a mosaic of 64 shields that, when held up together, formed a giant Yale crest, and then flipped to read "Yale Will Win"
  • 2008: “Woody” a large missile designed to break through the “Berlin Wall”
  • 2007: "Bessie," a stegosaurus-like creature with a moving head and jaw and a moustache in the likeness of the one worn by (then) Yale College's Dean, Peter Salovey.
  • 2006: "Peggy," a giant pegasus with a 40-foot (12 m) wingspan.
  • 2005: "WWI Tank," with a turret, treads, and 15-foot-long PVC pipe gun that shot out smoke as it destroyed the Harvard observation balloon
  • 2004: "Alain," a giant blue dodecapus with 70-foot (21 m) tentacles
  • 2003: "The Spider," a 30-foot-long, 20-foot-tall spider with independently moving legs and bloody mandibles, accompanied onto the field by a roughly 300-square-yard web
  • 2002: "The Snake," a snake that was 105 feet (32 m) long and 10 feet (3.0 m) wide
  • 2001: "Peaches," an enormous fire-breathing blue dragon
  • 2000: "The Booty Hunter," a two-story pirate ship with simulated cannon fire
  • 1999: "The Train," a 40-foot (12 m) train with several boxcars
  • 1998: "The Tank," a tank with gun turret
  • 1997: "Nessie," the Loch Ness monster
  • 1996: "The Shark"
  • 1995: "The Gallows", a hangman-style noose erected to tear the tab off of a large soda can
  • 1994: "The Volcano", a 12-foot (3.7 m) smoke-belching volcano into which a Harvard student was sacrificed (the student was spit out by the volcano)
  • 1989: "The Drum", a drum twice the diameter of the Harvard drum, out of which the Yale Bulldog Mascot jumped after the drum exploded
  • 1988: "The Guillotine", a giant guillotine that spanned half the width of the field


  • 2019: Three Harvard hyena heads sent by John Scarvard to hunt Baby Boola.
  • 2018: A large android that came to suck the fun out of Fenway Park.
  • 2017: The "A.S.S Harvard," an 8' boat sent to fight the People of Eli Yale at the Battle of Yorkside.
  • 2016: A large Harvard jail cell which was used to imprison Boola the Bulldog.
  • 2015: A 15' canvas structure with a 10' PVC gun painted to resemble a Havard death ray.[3]
  • 2013: A large weather balloon painted to resemble a Harvard-themed Death Star.
  • 2011: Three red-colored Harvard Dementors, come to suck the fun, hot breakfast, and attractive people from Yale as such things are rare in Cambridge.
  • 2010: Cantabot 2.0 and cardboard vuvuzelas
  • 2009: A battering ram with the head of John Harvard at its forefront.
  • 2008: "Berlin Wall", a large model of the Berlin Wall covered in graffiti against Harvard. (The content of this graffiti caused the band's director to suspend the band from upcoming performances and appearances.[4])
  • 2007: Three pterodactyls in the service of Harvard.
  • 2006: A hydra that sprouted two heads when one was cut off.
  • 2005: A Helium-filled observation balloon (the first ever flying ünterprop), Yale biplanes (Allies) and Harvard triplanes (German).
  • 2004: The "HSS Compensation," a 30-foot (9.1 m) long ship operated by John Harvard and commandeered by "Alain."
  • 2001: The Harvard Castle, attacked by "Peaches" the dragon.

Notable stunts[edit]

On October 27, 1973 in a rare political statement, the YPMB reacted to Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" (wherein he ordered the firing of the special prosecutor assigned to investigate Watergate) by forming a major "H" on the field and playing "10,000 Men of Harvard". The band paid tribute Harvard Graduate Elliot Richardson who resigned rather than carry out the order to fire Harvard Law professor Archibald Cox. The order was carried out by Yale Law professor Robert Bork.

In September 1977, at the conclusion of the halftime show at the Yale-Brown game, the YPMB formed a giant diaper on the field. The members of the YPMB dropped their pants en masse to reveal that all members were wearing diapers. (The band marched "Down the Field" with their pants around their ankles.) The announcer stated that the YPMB was the "Most Pampered Band in the Country" as they marched off. This became known as one of its more infamous stunts; the band parodied that stunt at the Princeton game in 1983, where the band dropped its pants en masse again, this time to reveal that all members were wearing sweat pants underneath their white uniform pants.

In October 1985, six YPMB members were suspended after dropping their pants at halftime during the Yale-Holy Cross game.[5] Only one week earlier, the band was forbidden by West Point officials from performing its halftime show during the Army-Yale game for the script's insinuation that certain government officials were communists. The following season, in the Yale-Army game at New Haven, the YPMB took the unusual step of marching in straight lines for several minutes before breaking into its usual scatter formations. (NYT 10/7/86, B4) Before the band left the field, members removed their blue blazers on the field, spelling out "USA."

In 1992, before the combined playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner", the Harvard marching band attempted to "X-out" the Yale Precision Marching Band while the Yale band stood in its traditional Y formation; however, the Yale band caught wind of this plan and, as the Harvard band marched onto the field, shifted its formation into a large H, thus making Harvard X itself out.

In 1992, the Yale-Fordham halftime featured the marriage of two former band members, Drum Major James Lockman '89 and Props Goddess Rori Myers '92. ("At Yale, Wedding Band Takes On a New Meaning", New York Times, October 10, 1992.) During the ceremony, the band formed a three-tiered wedding cake; at each corner of the cake, serving as a candle, was a sousaphone that was on fire. In 2012, they celebrated their 20th anniversary during the pregame show at the Yale-Princeton game.

In 1993, the Yale-Harvard halftime show included the "assassination" of the Energizer Bunny(a bass drum player) -- the band formed a forty-yard bow and arrow, and "shot" the arrow at the Bunny. After they missed, the drum major took out a shotgun and blew the Bunny away. He was carried off by band members dressed as dining hall workers.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the YPMB became a source of minor controversy for performing a halftime show parodying the history of jingoism in American media and culture, including patriotic bowdlerization, and addressing the possibility of conscription. A strong negative reaction from several audience members, including boos (especially when "War" was spelled on the field) and angry letters to administrators and newspapers, led the band to limit the often aggressive political content of its shows through at least the 2002 season. Negative reactions were heightened by the fact the show took place on Yale Parents' Weekend.

Drum Majors[edit]

YPMB Drum Majors are the political, social, and spiritual leaders of the band. They are usually elected by committee in January, and serve their sentence through the subsequent football season. Most Drum Majors are elected in their junior year, passing the torch to the next generation before they graduate. The current Drum Major is Alex Wynn, TD '22.


  • Bulldog, Eli Yale words and music by Cole Porter class of 1913
  • Bright College Years (the unofficial alma mater of Yale University) words by Henry Durand in 1881 to the music of Die Wacht am Rhein
  • Down the Field (march two step) words by Stanleigh P. Friedman; arranged by G.L. Atwater, Jr.; published in 1905 by the Chas H. Loomis Company (New Haven, CT)[6]
  • Yale Boola, Boola (march) words and music by A. M. Hirsh; arranged by G. L. Jr. Atwater; Original Copyright 1906 by Leo Feist[7]
  • Yale College Life words by T. Herbert Reed; arranged by J.C. Heed; Original Copyright: 1903 By: Reed, Dawson & Co.[8]
  • Sons of Yale: Here's to Good Old Yale Alternative title March Blue arranged by JL Lake; Original Copyright: 1917 by Carl Fischer[9]

The Band's repertoire includes hundreds of songs arranged by the YPMB Junta, the Band's own syndicate of arranger-transcribers. These dedicated and talented folks manage to add more than 30 pieces to the Band music library every year. The YPMB runs the gamut of genres, from Hip Hop to Techno, Pop to R&B, and, of course, plenty of straight Rock.[10]


  1. ^ The Yale Alumni Weekly. 11 May 1917. p. 9. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  2. ^ am, Jordan Schneider 12:51; Feb 09; 2011. "Accountant by day, announcer by night". yaledailynews.com. Retrieved 2019-11-26.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ YPMB Photog (Photographer) (2015-12-19), YPMB - THE GAME 2015 - 11.21.15, retrieved 2016-07-15
  4. ^ Gibson, Lawrence (24 Nov 2008). "YPMB 'suspended' post-Game". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  5. ^ Freitag, Michael (20 October 1985). "6 AT YALE ARE PENALIZED FOR PRANK IN MARCHING BAND". New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  6. ^ http://www.bandmusicpdf.org/media/bmpdffiles/DownField.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.bandmusicpdf.org/media/bmpdffiles/YaleBoola.pdf Yale Boola, Boola
  8. ^ http://www.bandmusicpdf.org/media/bmpdffiles/YaleCollegeLife.pdf Yale College Life
  9. ^ http://www.bandmusicpdf.org/media/bmpdffiles/SonsYale.pdf Sons of Yale
  10. ^ http://www.yale.edu/yaleband/ypmb/junta.html

External links[edit]