(Courtesy Carolyn Havens Niemann ’89)
When the Princeton University Band flew home from the football team’s opener in San Diego yesterday, the men and women in plaid found a friendly face in the cockpit for their cross-country leg from Los Angeles to Newark: Michael Niemann ’90, a pilot for United Airlines and former member of the band. He’s pictured above next to drum major Mary Gilstad ’15.
The flight assignment was a happy coincidence for Niemann, who met his wife, Carolyn Havens Niemann ’89, when the two were in the band’s trash percussion section in 1986. Thanks to Carolyn for sharing the photo.
On Dean’s Date Jan. 12, Princeton undergraduates rushed to meet deadlines, but the scene near McCosh Hall at 5 p.m. featured few runners this year. Instead, students gathered to enjoy snacks and listen to the Princeton University Band. Fall term exams begin Jan. 13.
Tom Meeker ’56 leads a locomotive cheer in 2006, with student conductor Charles Pence ’07 and drum major Charlie Bergen ’07 looking on. (Courtesy Tom Meeker ’56)
Careful readers of PAW’s Nov. 4 cover story might notice that one Princeton University Band percussionist plays a pair of plastic pumpkins that bear the number “56.” Those homemade bongos are part of a unique link between the band and the Class of 1956.
For more than two decades, Tom Meeker ’56 and his wife, Joanne, have hosted a Class of ’56 tailgate before home football games, and for most of that time, the band has stopped by to play a few songs before entering the stadium.
The tradition began innocently, Meeker says. Joanne was looking for a way to liven up the tailgate, and when she saw the band marching down Roper Lane, she ushered them into the party.