Freshman Bwog staffer Jordan Merrill has no idea what to expect from the band’s semesterly Orgo Night, and she is not disappointed.
After forcing my friends to come to Butler with me a full 30 minutes before midnight so that we could “get the best view,” I feel prepared for whatever chaos is about to ensue. I find myself standing on the edge of a bench outside Butler, on the verge of falling and completely eating shit, but excited nonetheless!
This year’s Orgo Night marked a change from the traditional Butler 209 performance; the marching band performed their routine right in front of Butler, which the administration has been calling for since 2016. There has been some struggle between the marching band and administration in recent years, and the band decided to not take any risks this semester by holding the event outside.
Despite the outdoor in venue, a crowd begins to form at Butler’s entrance at around 11:45. As more people arrive, the energy in the air becomes palpable and finally, I hear the distant sound of some trumpets and drums playing every Columbia student’s favorite song, “Roar, Lion, Roar.” As they make their way to the front of Butler, people, as well as instruments, begin screaming. Betsy Ladyzhets, BC’19 and Isabel Sepúlveda, CC’21 (two of Bwog’s very own!-who are not affiliated with this review in any way) take center stage/center path-in-front-of-Butler as Orgo Night’s main comedians.
Because we were outside and the crowd was super loud, it was hard for many people to hear at first, but after Isabel yelled about mango juul pods and the band’s nicotine addiction, people started to quiet down. The night began as controversially as I would have imagine, with the band making fun of climate change deniers and students at Columbia’s four schools (“GS students, please turn up your hearing aids…Barnard students, please set your vibrators to phone”).
They spared no time before shitting on Columbia, whether it be their housing problems with EC’s fire alarms or the administration’s inability to understand minority students, nothing really seemed to be off limits. I have to say I was surprised, though, at the sheer number of pained “ooohs” and “oofs” I heard in response to some of the more crass jokes–this is Orgo Night after all; if the jokes weren’t crass, some of us would be upset. Although, most of the loudest responses did actually come from these jokes. The band proclaiming “Even the architect who built EC a thousand years ago said it was the worst thing he ever made, which is exactly what George H.W. Bush said when Jeb was born” got one of the largest reactions of the night.
After making some (UNTRUE) jokes about Bwog’s credibility, the band finally seemed to address the white supremacist elephant on campus. They again took jabs at Columbia’s administration, referring to their reaction emails as “hate crime mad libs.” My favorite joke of the night came toward the end, when they discussed taking a core class dedicated to Ariana Grande’s ethnicity.
Although the crowd did start thinning out toward the end of the set, the majority of people watching were upset when they announced the end of the night. They did end on a self-deprecating high-note after many organic chemistry sexual innuendos, proclaiming “students who are not part of the solution are part of the band!”.
Even though the outdoor venue made the night a bit less traditional and possibly a bit harder to hear, it was wildly fun, and I would say that my first Orgo Night was a success! Despite some jokes that seemed a little out of date (maybe that’s just my own perspective, though–the Barnard celery incident seems like YEARS ago), the comedy was super refreshing and provided the perfect break from studying that so many stress-culture participant students so desperately need. There was even an unidentified boy screaming “ENCORE” outside of Lerner about ten minutes after Orgo Night ended (Whoever you are, were you ok? The band wasn’t even there anymore, you were shouting to no one), which just goes to show the excitement the event created even after it was over.
Thank you to the Columbia University Marching Band for a great night!
Edits 12/14/18, 6:07 PM: Corrected a previous error about the dates of the marching band’s conflict with administration.
Edits 12/15, 10:55 PM: Corrected a previous error regarding the lyrics of the Columbia Fight Song.
orgo night! via Bwog