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Letter to the Editor: Appreciation for the Stanford Band and Dollies

I would like to take the glorious occasion of Stanford’s Rose Bowl win to say thank you to the Stanford Band for their always-appreciated addition of whimsy and parody. Even though many people apparently just don’t get it (“Rich white punks,” one YouTube comment proclaimed. “They don’t even have a band director!” scoffed another), we love our “anti-marching” band.

Whatever is prized in “normal” marching bands, the LSJUMB proudly promotes the exact opposite. For example:

Never look alike. Forget the matching uniforms. In fact, we’ll give you extra points for the most outlandish, individual, blatantly attention-seeking outfit you can concoct (and have the balls to wear in public.)

Never stand still. Big, wild, even spastic moves uncomfortably reminiscent of a physical malady are encouraged, as long as you can still (mostly) hit your notes. Indulge your inner ADHD-distracted self and feel the beat of your own drummer.

Never move in any coordinated way. It goes without saying that precision formations are OUT. (Unless to spell, in purposely imperfect lines, carefully-considered-and-then-chosen-anyway words on the field.)

Never let them see you actually march. When confronted with a football field or “turning” a corner on a parade, just run. Or jump, skip, leap, spin or dance. Skateboards are also a fun and welcome mode of propulsion on appropriate surfaces!

Finally, push it all over the top with the addition of the Tree and the Drum Major. These critical roles are NOT for the faint of heart. If you’ve got what it takes, you are required to flaunt it.

I must add, of course, a note of appreciation for the Dollies. In a bizarre but brilliant juxtaposition, they are everything the Band is NOT. The Dollies always look exactly the same (from their never-changing dress styles down to their elegant white hair ribbons and gloves), move in a perfectly coordinated manner through their highly choreographed dance routines, and provide a welcome element of class to the Band’s “Where the Wild Things Are” persona.  It’s a winning combination.

Together, the LSJUMB and Dollies created just as much entertainment and excitement as did the Rose Bowl-winning football team in Pasadena. I loved it, and thank you!

Karen Smith
Stanford parent

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