Big Red Flutes

The flutes, like any other section, have many traditions. Some are so old that I'm having problems tracking down their origins. However, here is the beginnings of a history of the fun and crazy things we do.

Anything that happens twice, becomes a tradition. New traditions are established fairly often, but the band tends to have a hard time letting go of old traditions.

Flute Amoebae - Flute Boxers - Flute Naps - Flute Ranks - Flute-Ups - Song of the Classes Verses

Flute Amoebae

When it gets cold in Ithaca (Cold? In Ithaca?), the section will huddle together in a huge mass for warmth. The section then travels everywhere that way, occationally absorbing other random, unsuspecting bandies.


A flute amoeba from the Cornell v. UPenn game, November 2006. These become more frequent as the season wears on and the sweltering weather from the first games turns into Ithaca fall, and then Ithaca winter. The challenges come up later still, when it's so cold that the flutes attempt to remain in the amoeba while playing. We're still working on getting Show Comm to write us into the drill for a show as an amoeba, but we still have hope.

Flute Boxers

Flute boxers were introduced in 1997, when Michelle Tuorto-Collins ('98) was section leader. Each year during the fall season, the flutes get together as a section and design boxers with various fabrics and crafts. After the halftime show of the last football game, as a unified section, everyone DROPS THEIR PANTS to show off their work to anyone who is more interested in looking at multicolored underwear than in the nail-biting, death defying action of the football team.

Rank B Boxers

Rank B of the 1997 marching season shows off some of the very first flute boxers at the University of Pennsylvania. Michelle Tuorto-Collins ('98) is in the center, with Debby Levenson ('00) on the right and Jenny Liu on the left.

And Rank B of the 2006 marching season displays last year's boxers.
From left: Liz, Pam, Sam, Kunjal, Liana, and Tanya.

Flute Naps

Rehearsing is hard work. Especially in the mornings, or after long days of classes, or anytime really. When all the flutes get really tired (Cornell students? Tired?), the section will lie in a circle, each person laying their head on the next person's legs, allowing everyone to get some much needed rest.

The flutes napping on the sideline of a game in 1996.

Besides, have you ever seen circles of more adorable people? The flute section at the band picnic, 2005.

Flute Ranks

Once upon a time, there were four flute ranks. The flutes held Ranks A, B, C, and D, because Show Comm realized that they had to give the first four letters of the alphabet to a truly amazing section. Or maybe I'm biased?

A few years ago, four ranks became three. Now, I'm not entirely certain whose decision this was (but I blame Show Comm), or when (1999 perhaps?), but the story I was told is that there just weren't enough flutes to fill four whole ranks. So, one of the ranks was retired.

Rank C was retired. Not Rank D, the fourth rank, but the third. The flute section now holds Ranks B, A, and D.

In 2016, Show Comm made the (heartbreaking) decision to retire one of the flute ranks. Rank A was gotten rid of, which led to the Flute Domino Incident of Homecoming 2016. By the end of the season, Rank A had returned, which just goes to show that no one should mess with our ranks.


Every once and a while, the flutes can often be found actually watching the football games (*gasp*). The flutes, at one point long ago, needed a way to show their appreciation for the football team when they (actually) (finally) scored a point. And so the flute-ups were born.

Another, not-to-be-named section does push-ups when our football team scores. The flutes, who are a tad bit more creative and less driven by testosterone, came up with something fun. We throw a member of the section in the air for each point our team has, whenever we score. At times it does get a bit excessive, and there are stories of a Homecoming game where our team (amazingly enough) scored so many points that the flutes had to take a break in the middle of flute-ups, just so that the poor flute wouldn't get dropped by the section.

I'm told that before this, the flutes used to go lie down next to the trumpets and lift their instruments once for every point, each time we scored. This would've been changed in the mid-1990's, but I don't remember who told me this story. I apparently don't have a record of it either - would anyone care to fill in the details?

The flutes tossing someone during the 2006 game against Albany.

Tossing the bear!
The 2007 game against Brown, photo taken by David Fischell.

Song of the Classes Verses

Every year at First Night, the flutes come up with a new verse for the section. The Song of the Classes is a band tradition, and each section has its own verse. If you know of any other verses, please send them to me and I'll put them up!

The 2017 Verse:

Ohhh, we are the flutes and the piccolos too,
We bake and we knit and play better than you.
And we'll trip up a few times and still look damn fine;
But insult our baked goods and you've crossed the line!

The 2013 Verse:

Ohhh, we are the flutes and you all should assume,
We'll cuddle and flute nap in the new band room.
Last season we flute-upped D-skort for kicks.
Just wait for next fall and our new bag of tricks!

The 2012 Verse:

Oh, we are the flutes, but you know that Duh,
We flute nap and peacock and form ameoba.
Ohhh we're sexy and cute, with plenty of sass.
We do it best and you all want some... COOKIES

The 2011 Verse:

Oh, we are the flutes, we play high notes with sass,
When we are parading, we always kick brass.
We're great at dancing and we love to bake.
Say what you like, but the flutes take the cake!

The 2010 Verse:

Ohhhhh... we are the flutes we shimmy and dance,
And once a year we may drop our pants.
The band has traditions and so-o do we.
You mess with our freshmen, we take out your knee!

The 2009 Verse:

Ohhhhh... we are the flutes and also the piccs.
We have flute-ups, and flute-naps and other fun tricks.
The clarinets suck and the trumpets, well, eww.
You'll just have to face it - we dance better than you!

The 2008 Verse:

Oh we are the flutes, and the piccolos too.
And nobody dances more than we do!
Our parts sound pretty, and we're fun to look at
'Cuz neither our flutes nor our chests are flat!

The 2007 Verse:

Oh we are the flutes, and the piccolos too.
Santamaria is back, but not Eric Yu.
Skorty should exchange his sax for a flute
The reason is 'cause we're all so darn cute!

The 2006 Verse:

Oh, we are the flutes, but our guys are not wimps.
Between Paul, Jeff, and Eric, we have our fair share of pimps.
Though we've suffered some losses, we all know the score.
When it comes to our breasts, less will always be more.

The 2005 Verse:

Oh we are the flutes and the piccolos, too
we are much hotter than any of you
complain you can't hear us, we don't really care
a note to our freshman:
of trumpets, beware!

The 2004 Verse:

Oh we are the piccs and also the flutes
deny as you may be we're all really cute
our freshman will replace our graduates soon
we now have a few more men and a new Kroon

The 2000 Verse:

Oh...we are the flutes, and also the piccs,
We often do shots to get our group kicks,
Each year we make boxers and show them to you,
Though it may be cold out, you will like the view!