Cornell Marching Band

Bill Murray Orchestrates Cornell Marching Band

We’d like to thank Cashel for sharing this story

October 2011: Ithacans have a surprising encounter with the legendary actor Bill Murray.

Unbeknownst to the majority of the Cornell-Harvard football game spectators, Bill Murray was anonymously, secretively in attendance. Per usual, at the end of the game, the Cornell marching band stuck around to jam and play a few sets. I was just a high school student at the time and found myself tossing around a football on the field after the game. I noticed the band yipping and cheering for seemingly no reason, so I walked over, joining a crowd of shako-wearing, brass-wielding college students.

Atop a podium where typically a band master would stand to conduct, stood Bill Murray in salmon-pink trousers swinging a red jacket about, mock-conducting the band, likely with little to no experience doing such a thing. He had a jaunty attitude that embodied the word ‘pep’ in pep band. It came to my attention that the Ghostbusters theme song was what instigated Bill’s interest in entertaining the band. He had come out of nowhere into plain sight to treat everyone who hung around after the game to witness. We were a lucky bunch that saw Bill that day.

I had known Bill Murray from his Wes Anderson roles and his time on SNL, but didn’t delve much into his social life. Well, this occasion was more than an acquaintance with Bill Murray’s social life; it showed me exactly how free-spirited and unrestrained he was and still is. It’s evident he spends his days making others’ days.

One thought to “Bill Murray Orchestrates Cornell Marching Band”

  1. I’m so glad you submitted this Bill visit, Cashel! I was sitting on the Cornell side watching the bitter battle when I notice that the a small brass group from the band was nestled in the stands of the Harvard fans to show them a little ditty they’re good at, the Ghostbusters theme. Then they did it again along with a few more songs as they were dancing around along with a happy guy in his salmon trousers! I heard he wandered over and told them they played it very well! After he enjoyed directing The Big Red band and told them how great they were, we caught a glimpse of Bill at the Boat Yard Restaurant, getting a ride in their golf cart.

    Two years later when Harvard returned to play football at Cornell the horn section wandered back to play the Ghostbusters theme in the same section. I watched, but alas, no Bill.

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