Sax Traditions

The Big Red Marching Band is full of traditions, many of which you can read about here. While several of them are universal, individual sections help establish a personality by keeping up their own unique traditions. Our older sax traditions can be found here.

Section Leaders
Sax Pyramids
Sax Coliseums
The Call Me Al Dance
Heel Clicks
Jam Groove Dance Move
Sax Cheers
Minty Cocoa
Rank Lizard
The Sax Tattoo
Sax Hats
First Night Verses

Be sure to read some stories too!

Sax Pyramids
Every year at the annual Stewart Park Picnic each section poses for a group picture. The saxes always make a pyramid! There is no good way to put into words how the pyramid contributes to the structural and metaphorical integrity of the section.

The 2019 pyramid:

sax pyramid

Past Pyramids

Sax Coliseum
At the Stewart Park Picnic in 2015, thanks to some ingenious engineering by Brian Scaramella '18, the saxes also managed to make an impressive coliseum!

The 2017 coliseum (at Dewitt Park in downtown Ithaca):

sax coliseum

Past Coliseums

The Call Me Al Dance
call me al

Call Me Al is one of our favorite concert songs. We love it so much that during the middle of every performance we form a huge line (sometimes two!) and show off our own rendition of the dance featured in Paul Simon's music video.
Heel Clicks
heel click

From our loud chants to our wacky horn moves, the saxes always parade in style. One of our most noteworthy parade moves is the heel click, during which the entire section synchronously leaps into the air to click our left heels with our right ones, and all while carrying our saxes too! We perform two heel clicks per run-through of the drum cadences.
Jam Groove Dance Move

Another iconic parade move is our energetic call and response that goes a little something like this:
Section leaders: "Jam suckah!" Section: "Jam suckah!" (x2)
Section leaders: "Groove suckah!" Section: "Groove suckah!" (x2)
Section leaders: "Dance suckah!" Section: "Dance suckah!" (x2)
Section leaders: "Move suckah!" Section: "Move suckah!" (x2)
This part of our parade routine was introducted by our '09 Section Leader Stephanie Richmond and has been a steadfast tradition ever since.

Everyone loves the sexy sound of a sax ensemble, so during the 3rd quarter of every football game the saxes break away from the rest of the band to play cheers all around the stands. We even go all the way to the top of the crescent where former President (now secretary of the Smithsonian) Skorton usually resides during the game. Our repetoire as a section is now quite large thanks to many talented arrangers in our section. Some of our standard fare includes 'Night Train', 'Sax Polka', and old favorites such as 'Saxel F' and 'Build Me Up Buttercup'. You can find our repertoire here
Minty Cocoa & the Sax Wagon

Ithaca is COLD, especially during Tuesday Night rehearsals later on in the season. Other sections simply endure the cold for two hours, but the saxes always bring a red wagon equipped with hot water, cocoa, and mints. It's the perfect way to stay toasty!

The Big Red Saxes are always at the football games to support the Cornell Big Red. Every time the team scores we show our enthusiasm by counting off the team's points while lifting our saxes into the air. Other sections of the band have similar traditions, but none are as awesome as doing sax-ups with a bari sax!
Rank Lizard

The saxes currently have five primary ranks: J, L, &, $, and #. No, not rank L. Rank Lizard. Members of rank Lizard proudly represent themselves by attaching a toy lizard to the bell of their saxophone. You can read about the origins of Rank Lizard here.
The Sax Tattoo

The Sax Tattoo, two eighth notes, is a lifetime mark of saxiness created by Gerry Adamski in 1991. Over the years, only a select few legendary saxes have adorned themselves with the legendary sax tattoo, including Gerry Adamski '91, Greg Rosensteel '00, Praveen Anumolu '01, Kristen Rothman '01, Chris Payne '02, Kathryn Bach '04, Benito De Leon '19, and Casandra Moisanu '21.
During breaks from school, section leaders organize a fun olympic-style competition over the sax email listserv. This competition encourages section members to create or take pictures (frequently related to section traditions) and winners are anonymously voted on by the section

Starting in the fall of 2011, a number of section members have opted to live together in a house, nicknamed "Saxhouse". Though the house is not affiliated with the section in any way, it just goes to show that saxes make great friends-- and housemates!

Sax Hats
sax hat
During band camp, all new members of the section receive sax hats. Over time, the hats wear out and it becomes a point of pride to have a very worn-out hat.
First Night Verses
first night
During First Night every year the band gathers together and sings many songs, one of which is the Song of the Classes. After each class sings their verse each individual section takes a turn as well.

The 2018 verse:

Oh we are the saxes the best in the band,
If you disagree then we’re ‘bouta throw hands.
Come to saxhouse we’re open and lively as well.
It’s all ‘cause the saxes are SEXY AS HELL!!

Past verses

Please email the webmaster if you know the origins of any of our traditions or would like to submit one that we have forgotten.