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viewpoint

Irish Guard members reflect on new policies

| Friday, May 2, 2014

To Our Notre Dame Brothers and Sisters:

It is with heavy hearts and dimmed spirits that we feel it is our duty to inform you that the Irish Guard, which has persisted in tradition and practice for 65 years, will no longer exist in its original and intended form.

Started in 1949 by then-director H. Lee Hope, the Irish Guard marched and played bagpipes in front of the Band of the Fighting Irish. John Fyfe, a Notre Dame employee originally from Scotland, taught the original members the proper dress, marching technique and comportment that was befitting of a uniformed Guardsman. Shortly thereafter, the Irish Guard transitioned into the ceremonial protector of the band that has persisted in form and function until today.

Each fall, as new members were chosen to fill the spots of those who had graduated, they would be taught the same technique, stoicism and tradition befitting of and borrowed from the Irish Guards of the British Army.

Throughout its storied history, the Irish Guard has become a brotherhood of few men and women that aimed to serve Our Lady’s University in keeping with John Fyfe’s legacy. No other organization could claim such a strong tie back to their alma mater as a former Guardsman by participating in Inspection of the Guard at each home game. Among the requirements and expectations of members of this organization, it is understood and embraced that no one should seek public recognition for his service to our University. It is for this reason that full rosters of the Irish Guard are never printed.

However, as we approach the time when we will no longer be able to pass this tradition down to new generations of members, we feel it necessary to honor the brothers and sisters who entrusted us as stewards of the lore and legacy of the Irish Guard. We wish to publicly recognize and deeply thank all of our brothers who have gone before us and dedicated years in faithful service to Notre Dame. While we may no longer be in uniform, the threads of the Notre Dame tartan continue to bind us together, and the community of Guardsmen past and present will endure unwaveringly.

The five returning members were informed Tuesday of the band’s decision not to include them in the Irish Guard moving forward. In a decision that will change membership from a lifetime role to a one-year tenure, all of next years kilted band members have been chosen from within the current band.

We are deeply saddened by this decision and would gladly have returned to the field this fall had the opportunity been afforded us.

Knowing that the lore and tradition of the Irish Guard has persisted for 65 years, we firmly believe that there will one day be a reversion to the traditions that shaped the image and roll of the Irish Guard as a symbol of Notre Dame. Until then, we mourn the loss of yet another great tradition at this university and an end to a long line of the most valuable community of which one could be a part.

Here’s to you, lads.

 

Chris Cali
Senior
Fisher Hall

 

Eddie Linczer
Senior
Seigfried Hall

 

Tomás Abrate
Senior
Fisher Hall

 

Tom Catalano
Senior
O’Neill Hall

 

Charley Berno
Senior
Fisher Hall

 

Andrew Pemberton
Junior
Keenan Hall

 

Matt Mazur
Junior
Fisher Hall

 

Christian Verhamme
Sophomore
St. Edward’s Hall

 

John Collins
Sophomore
Keough Hall

 

Dave O’Connor
Sophomore
Fisher Hall

 

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • R

    Another change that is completely ridiculous, an offense to our student body, and to the thousands of alumni who support this school. This is an unnecessary and insulting attack on tradition that should never have happened–especially not without open discussion and appreciation of opinions. It is but another instance of our administration making autonomous decisions that are harmful to the students that they are paid to represent.

    • James

      How is this change harmful to students?

      • M

        As stated by student, the Irish Guard physically play a role in the protection of the band. And important role that has kept many of the band members safe during the most roudy of games. Especially in instances where the band travels to an opponents stadium, such as Michigan and Purdue this past season, they have acted to protect the band from drunken men and women who torment the band as they march in to, and out of, the stadium. The dedication by the 5 guard members for this past season is remarkable, and it greatly saddens me to see that they are being disregarded and forced out of positions they have worked for.

        • James

          Are you a band member? I was at those two games and not only were we entirely safe, it was NOT because of the Irish Guard. The one instance I heard of while being in the band was at the OU game in 2013 and props to the member of the Irish Guard who dealt with the unruly drunk fan. HOWEVER, How much “work” do you think they actually did to get the position? I know how they are chosen, they need to be tall and complete jerks. They are atrocious marchers and don’t do ANY work while they benefit from the perks of being a band member. Their drunken unruly behavior on trips give the band a bad name. I would hardly describe what they do as “dedication”. They are not true leaders of the band as they are supposed to be. Most of you commenting here have no Idea what is actually going on here and are simply responding to the anger of a few past Irish Guard members. Understand that this is in the best interest of the band. The First University Band. The Greatest Band in All the Land. The Band of the Fighting Irish. Don’t let a 65 year old group ruin the 170 year old band they are meant to serve. This is a change for the good to help one of the University’s oldest traditions stay strong, not the university destroying traditions.

          • M

            I am a band member, and in a position where I did see all of the potential dangers of the two games in particular. Now, I am not saying changes didn’t need to be made. Having an attitude within those members is one thing, which should be dealt with, while completely uprooting the tradtion and removing important aspects of the Irish Guard and their involvement during half time. Is completely unnecessary.

          • James

            You must be easily frightened cause those were the most tame fans I’ve seen in my life. And with certain things you can’t keep trying to reform them. You do need to completely uproot them or else it won’t change.

          • Toby

            The change may make everyone in the band feel a bit better that there are no longer “tall jerks who can’t march” leading them, but externally, it will look horrible for the band when they realize how dumb they look when a 5’10’ kid with shaggy hair is smiling and “leading” the band. People won’t take “The greatest band in all the land” seriously.

          • James

            First of all, “shaggy hair” is against the bands dress code so to speak so there won’t be any of that. And I honestly doubt it is going to look bad, the directors understand they need to keep the physical image and aren’t going to sacrifice that. Symmetry is a magical thing.

          • SkinFluteJames

            James touches himself to Disney movies.

          • M

            To uproot the returning members is harsh, and maybe necessary. Removing the traditions of Inspection, their involvement as marchers during halftime, and potentially removing march back from the stadium? Tell me James, how is that an aspect in reforming the “bad attitude” of the old guard members.

            And please, to call me easily frightened, let’s maintain some maturity. The upset is due to all the changes that are being made, not just the removal of 5 men.

          • RS

            Is there a certain Fisher Hall quota in the selection process? Can’t help but think five guys from one dorm is purely random…

          • Band

            The directors pick who gets a spot a tryouts for both the band and the Guard. Unless one of them was in Fisher (Dwyer way back when maybe?) I doubt it matters.

          • James

            Anyone used to be able to try out actually.

          • JealousJames

            @James. Sounds to me like you’re a little jealous of the (ex-guard) members. Could it be because they are all taller than you and pull way more than you? Or, could it be the fact that they’re more popular than you? Either way, you should worry less about the bands reputation and not worry about what people think of it. Your first step in doing so should be removing the piccolo from your a_s.

          • James

            Hahaha! You’re a funny guy. No, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m also not jealous of them at all. I pull twice any of them ever have as I actually work to better the organization. And they most definitely aren’t more popular than me. Now the remark about the piccolo, I would pull it out, but I think the much more pressing matter is the trombone in yours.

          • JealousJames

            Hahahaha! You’re an honest guy. Thanks for admitting to having a piccolo in you, instruments don’t count when it comes to “pulling”.

          • James

            Not sure what you mean by that last part, but alright.

          • CU

            It’s funny because James wouldn’t know what he was trying to pull unless it was poking him in the forehead

          • O’Brother

            “I pull twice any of them ever have as I actually work to better the organization.” Yeah, that’s hot, James. I can see you’re a real player. Nothing makes it rain thongs like working to better the band. Perhaps you misunderstood what JealousJames meant by “pulling more than you”?

          • CU

            They need to be tall and complete jerks? Your small minded and insulting comment shows the caliber of person you are. And you’re in the band? You have obviously never gotten to know a single member of the guard. Can you tell me what award the Captain of the Guard won last year? Riddle me that, small-brain – since you are oh so wise on the ND Band.

          • Ryan

            The bagpipe playing of the original only lasted a few years, or in other words not a real tradition. Why is it that people are excited to see/ meet a guard but not a clarinet player? My brother was one and he actually removed a knife from an a crazed Michigan fan’s hand, so have fun dealing with that.

        • ND 1965

          As an alumni from the 60s am unamazed but not happy “management” made this decision behind closed doors even though there is no reason I can think of to not provide the options and pros/cons of each they presumably discussed.

          In my day they were the final “line” to get folk out the way when they marched around campus prior to pep rallies and entry to the field house most readers here don’t know existed. Amazingly not everyone moved out the way when the “pathfinders” told them the band was coming ASAP (which of course they should have heard anyway) … a marching solid wall always worked.

          BTW one of the best stories, recounted by an eyewitness: 1963 NYC a Thanksgiving game vs Syracuse 9 (was there via a chartered train that left from ND) … The band was doing a pregame warm up across the street from Yankee Stadium in a fenced parking lot only to find that the exit was blocked by a group of Syracuse fans who were immune to the band’s admin folk to practice good sportsmanship and let the band march over to the stadium. The band leader directed them to form up and march through the gate as if they were entering the stadium … no one stood in their way.

          To me this would be like Purdue (only example I can think of at the moment) deciding to dump their “flags” by making the announcement out of the blue

  • John Fyfe

    Thanks for disrespecting my legacy, Notre Dame

    • Vito

      Legacy of arrogant, boorish, entitled, drunken stupidity and bringing shame to Notre Dame…….That’s why your names were not published. You made your bed….NOW sleep in it!

      • Duh

        You realize that John Fyfe gave thousands upon thousands of hours of his life in service to the University… all for no additional pay. Also, he is no longer with us. The Irish Guard tradition dates back to him. He taught them how to march, how to be stoic, and how to be gracious towards the public when in uniform. Nobody that knew him would say he was not a great man. Shame on you for trying to denigrate him.

        • Vito

          John Fyfe is not being denigrated Duh-Do. He’s rolling over in his grave from embarrassment resulting from how this honored group has turned into a drunken, sniveling, entitled group of clowns! Ask any current or former member of the band and they’ll set you straight Enough is enough!! He did not “teach” them to become such a drunken mess raining embarrassment down on Our Lady’s University. How dare you invoke his name and speculate that this is about denigrating him. Me thinks you protest to much……Must be one of the Old Guard, aka, idiot!

          • O’Brother

            “Me-thinks”??? What? What are you, the busboy at Medieval Times or something? Good grief. Couldn’t you just join a group of Trekkies or a Live Action Role Play club and leave the Irish Guard alone?

      • Q

        Isn’t it strange that the article says full rosters of the Irish Guard are never printed, yet here we have a full roster of this year’s guard in the signatures?

        • Vito

          And Q, this letter to the editor was written by a current guard member and he’s the one who listed their name…..NOT the University…..Capiche?

          • Q

            Exactly, that’s what makes this so hypocritical. By affixing their names to this letter, the guard members are affirming that they agree with everything the letter says. So either they didn’t read the letter very carefully, or else they just aren’t intelligent enough to realize that signing all of their names creates a printed roster of this year’s guard.
            And as for the line “no one (here the guard members) should seek public recognition for his service to our University,” we all know that is a load of crap. I would bet that 90% of guardsmen, past and present, have used this position to get girls or get into parties; and I would also bet that every single one of the senior guard members who signed this letter also listed their time in the guard on their résumés, mentioned it on their Facebook or Linkedin accounts, or talked about it in job/school interviews.

  • Student.

    One main purpose of the Irish Guard is to prevent obstruction of the marching band by pushing unruly fans away from the marching path. It will be comical to see small band members try to fill this role. The loss of the Guard is another reflection of the hypocritical stance of the University with regards to tradition. Why do we have old, outdated and cramped dorms? Tradition? SMH.

    • James

      Do you understand that they aren’t filling the roles with “small band members”. There are still some requirements to be in the guard. Learn into the subject a little bit before you go spewing out an uneducated comment.

      • Student.

        @james
        Direct quote from Observer article “Band Restructures Irish Guard”: “Dye said no other eligibility requirements would be changed other than the elimination of a specific height requirement.”

        You may want to heed your own advice and “learn the subject a little before you go spewing out an uneducated argument.”

        • James

          Good job you got me. What’ll really get me is when you show me a picture of someone under 5’10” in the Irish guard. The band directors aren’t idiots, its not gonna happen. They won’t be the looming figures they were but they won’t be the runts of the band.

          • Student.

            True to that. My worry is that, although we hope the band directors wouldn’t be that oblivious, it does open the possibility for someone of that stature to become part of the guard. Another aspect is possibly the issue of lack of uniformity. Differing heights by a larger deviation will look unpleasing. But to your point, I do hope the band directors don’t let that occur.

          • James

            Something we can agree upon. Yes.

          • td

            You are incorrect about the directors make the decision, it has come from much higher up. You can also thank a lot of this change because of how people would treat the Irish guard during the inspections.

          • James

            What?

          • CU

            How people would treat the Irish guard? You mean the former Guardsmen who have come back and earned their right to test the current guard.

          • BB

            “test” hahaha. It’s fun and all but don’t take yourselves too seriously. The old guys come in and try to make the new guys laugh. If the guard had a real purpose they’d be sticking around. Sorry to see them go, next time don’t give the “higher ups” cause for removal.

          • Jim

            James, I would beg to differ with your statement, “The band directors aren’t idiots.”

          • t

            I don’t want the guard to go but I’m sorry the use the protection excuse is a rather ridiculous one. We are pretty much the only university band that uses “guards” to march around. I believe the other university bands do just fine getting around. There are plenty of great arguments to be made but that one….really?

  • J

    The directors of the band made this decision without the insight of those actually daily involved with the Irish Guard. The position over the Guard, currently held by Donelle Flick, was informed of the changes with the rest of the band – her input was neither asked for nor considered. Apparently, Dye and his assistant directors are cutting the guard’s halftime marching – the members will march in band uniform with the rest of the band. Meaning they will have to change during the football game after the march into the stadium and will not stand/kneel on the sidelines during the game. They, the directors, are also considering removing the march out from the stadium after the post-game band performance, because the guard members would have to change back into their plaids. And there will be no inspection during the Bond Hall Saturday Performance on the Steps. I can only hope after a single weekend of this hassle and incomplete experience, the directors will choose to revert back to the traditional Irish Guard schedule. The rightful Irish Guard members deserve better treatment than this as they dedicated time and effort to the band organization for the year and, in the case of Pemberton, two years. The directors’ actions are insulting and irrational. They are handling a tradition they do not fully understand or respect.

    • A

      Where’s the information coming from about the changing uniforms and all that? I must be missing something in one of the two articles.

    • TD

      You have no idea who actually made the decision and why. I can tell you 100% that you are incorrect in that department. Try higher up, MUCH higher up, they are using the directors as a scape goat.

      • U

        As Ken Dye put it: student affairs called for a change then the directors formulated what exactly that change would be. So no, not a scapegoat. Its a tough pill to swallow when someone in authority sits you down to work through a restructuring process with the implication that you will be a part of the changes, you give them feedback and ideas, then they cut you out at the end. That’s the bottom line, no matter what group this would be happening to. Obviously there have been periods of time when directors and members were not on the same page. But now the directors had 5 guys that have not created problems in the past and expressed full willingness to make positive changes like increasing involvement and eliminating a perceived bad image. The supposed “returners” have showed commitment to both the band over the pasts season(s) as well as the directors specifically during this process. Its a shame that that commitment was not reciprocated.

        • t

          LOL really, you believe that? You do know there is such a thing as higher ups telling people below what to say right, happens all the time with government (I was in the military and witnessed this first hand), and this situation right here. I can’t say too much without getting myself or anyone else in trouble but it is from higher up with 100% certainty. Plus unfortunately this university is notorious for this.

  • brentsn

    I don’t understand this…….I don’t quite understand why …..I surely DON’T like it !

  • Disgruntled

    The decision by Dye and other members of band leadership to not allow returning guard members to continue their participation or even try out reflects on the cowardice that went into making this decision. Rather than addressing the true problem, which is presumably that the guard members got a little drunk before the games, and demanding that they change the behavior, Dr. Dye attributed the change to some feeble excuse such as needing more leadership positions within the band. Rather than sweeping the problems of the Irish Guard under the rug and starting over new, Dr. Dye should have approached the guard about these problems and offered them a chance for redemption. Now as a result of Dye’s rash and impulsive decision, the Irish Guard, an organization based on a fraternal bond between members throughout the years (some members are literally legacies) has come to end based on the rash decision by a man who is incapable of understanding what that bond entails.

    • sheesh

      What kind of douche makes a decision like this? If it’s about drinking let’s evenly apply the rules to all activities: Every football player, basketball player, cheerleader who has ever knocked back a few needs to be removed from the team, effective immediately. Maybe we should have the band members playing football as well, since none of those guys drink. We get a bunch of smoke blown up our arses about the need for character and service and musicianship, blah blah blah. I would encourage the band director to be a man and deal with whatever problem is bunching up his panties, speak truthfully about it, and institute some leadership rather than just chucking the entire tradition. So stupid.

    • t

      If you truly believe this was Dr. Dye’s decision you are blind. The university has used him as a scapegoat, this decision has come from much higher up. All I can say is I know for 100% fact it wasn’t his decision.

  • M

    I think that honestly no one understands this decision and people are just making judgements based upon angry guard members and other ignorant students just wanting to stick up for their friends. The Irish Guard is a part of the band, it always has been, as addressed above, so the fact that the members will consist of those already in band should be no cause for anger. At concert on the steps the guard is introduced as precision marchers who lead the band. Have you seen them march? Half of them are off step and can’t hold a beat. Everyone just needs to stop trying to get involved with something that is frankly, the band’s decision. I would hope that everyone is open to change but apparently that isn’t the case.

    • Fu

      I think that honestly you’re ignorant for making the statement “Half of them are off step and can’t hold a beat.” Is the guards job to keep a beat? No. Further, why would anyone value the opinion of someone like you who simply watches the guard. A band is a band, big deal. You all do the same thing, play instruments. The guard is the guard. Not many bands in the United States have a tradition like the Irish Guard. The way I see it, ND should do away with the band and keep the guard. (no band members allowed)

      • James

        Are you kidding me? The band is a band big deal? Do you know the number of hours we put in each week? Do you know how much time I VOLUNTEER in order to have a band the university should be proud of. You honestly just threw us aside like that? You are obviously no member of the Notre Dame Community.

        • falalala

          The band is no big deal. Football is no big deal. Unless you are a football player you go to college to prepare you for the real world. Watching a sub-par marching band play at sub-par football games in the scheme of things is not important. Priorities people, and happy finals.

          • James

            Wow, and to think I just made a reasonable comment down below. The band teaches true leadership and that prepares you for the real world. Go f yourself.

          • sheesh

            I love the band. It’s the only time during the game I get to sit down and read the program.

          • falalala

            Oh now that you told me to f myself I can truly see how the Band is creating great leaders for our future. Please keep up your argument tactics in the real world, you will be sure to go far.

          • Duh

            I’m going to write a letter to Dr. Dye saying that in keeping with the Band’s apparently much higher character standards than the general ND population that you be kicked out of the marching band. Maybe then you will develop some empathy for the guys that are not being allowed to return to what is supposed to be a band family.

      • James

        And most bands have much cooler traditions than a bunch of silly tall guys walking around in SCOTTISH kilts.

        • Fu

          Once again proving your ignorance. They aren’t meant to be cool they’re meant to be intimidating, which they are. If being cool was the case the band wouldn’t be succeeding.

          • James

            So now the band’s success entirely relies on the intimidation of the Irish Guard?

          • Fu

            I never once stated the band’s success entirely relies on the intimidation of the Irish Guard, don’t make false accusations. You simply said “most bands have much cooler traditions” which was a dumb thing to say because the point of the Irish Guard and or band isn’t to be “cool”.

          • James

            Thank you for clearing that up. Sorry for the false accusation. However, I won’t forgive the comment “a band is a band”. It’s a lot more than that to a lot of people.

      • D

        Fu, in regards to “Is the guards job to keep a beat?” Yes. Yes it is. Everyone on that field marches to the same beat starting with the left foot on beat one. As a unit, the band has to keep to the beat.

    • Issues.

      I can agree that changes needed to be made. But there are certain ways that those changes can be made without insulting the traditions of this university. Where did these Guard members come from? They were chosen by the directors, as all band members are. If they felt they were having issues, they should take care to choose more wisely in the future. But creating the restriction of having only band member who performed for a year to be eligible limits the pool severely. For many, the opportunity of the Irish Guard was a way to be involved in the traditions of the university, as well as being part of the band, and now that is taken away.

      And as said previously, there are more changes than simply replacing the Irish Guard with entirely new members, all coming from the band. The Inspection is removed. Guard will not be marching as Guard, but will return to band uniform and march in that way. And there is also the possibility of the removal of the march back from the stadium to the band hall. All of these traditions are being scrapped as well.

      • James

        The current guard members really aren’t picked by the directors. Its mainly the previous members that make the decision. That’s why the best drinkers, not the best marchers get the position.

        • JealousJames

          You’re ignorance is mind-blowing

          • James

            Please explain

          • JealousJames

            You know man, you sound intelligent (and ignorant) I’ll give you that. I just wish you could be a little more open minded towards the (ex-guard). Instead of insulting, and degrading them maybe you should think about what being in the guard meant to some, if not all of those (ex-guard). I know they marched with pride whether they were good enough for you “band members” or not. Just because you and whoever else has problems with them does’t mean you should try inflicting your opinions and beliefs upon everyone who stumbles to this article. It’s a pretty tasteless act to just remove the current guard if you ask me. What did they do wrong? That has yet to be answered. Hopefully there will be enough backlash to get this situation resolved as it’s just going to cause turmoil within the university.

          • James

            As a band member I felt degraded immediately upon reading the comments. I was simply returning the favor. I honestly have no problem with the Irish Guard (past members, current members). Tomas Abrate, great guy, good friend. Looking back at my comments, I realize how terrible I sounded. I got caught up in the heat of the moment. I really don’t agree with all the changes and I do think there is a better way to go about it. I just felt diminished as a band member and with the amount of time I put into the band, I don’t feel that was fair. I hope the band directors do in fact reconsider a few of the changes. There are a lot of parts of the Irish Guard that definitely should be kept.

          • JealousJames

            Just don’t be so quick to judge. One of the now (ex-guard) members happens to be a close friend and that kid would do anything for the Irish Guard AND band members. Try and view it from their ( the ex-gaurds) point of view. It’s probably a pretty tough pill to swallow, and most certainly not deserved.

        • Issues.

          I will argue, whose fault is that? Why do the directors allow that? Isn’t that where the problems lie, not with the entire tradition itself? The old guard are interacting with the try-outs each year, but to claim they are solely responsible for the choice in the positions, that is ridiculous. It is the directors responsibility, and it is their fault when they have made bad decisions in the past. That doesn’t justify the abundance of changes they are making.

          • James

            Probably the fear of this sort of outrageous backlash prevented the directors from doing anything in the past. They have decided to make changes and eradicate all the problems at once instead of having to deal with minor changes over the next 5 years. Why drag it out.

          • Issues.

            The changes in themselves aren’t necessary. “Eradicate all the problems”? The problems in guard attitude have nothing to do with halftime marching…

          • James

            I posted that like an hour ago, haven’t we moved on?

          • Issues.

            oh, well forgive me for not following the thread continuously as I prepare for my finals. I am not trying to argue with you on a personal level in any way, I only mean to present my feelings on the subject at hand.

  • Student 2

    band members don’t even lift. how are they supposed to protect the band if they skip leg day? Really, though. The Irish Guard are tall, stern faced men and women that are pretty darn recognizable for their stature and ability to pick people up and put them down. What are we going to do, rely on cheerleaders to move people out of the way of the band?!?!?

    • Dan

      You do realize that the auditionees they picked from within the band had to meet the same physical requirements as the old Guard, right?

      • Daniel’s enemy

        @Dan, do you even lift?

        • Duh

          Soooo the “Same physical requirements” includes a height of 6’2″? Oh, no, wait, they took that away. Also, I’m sure the ex-guard guys are much better judges of who is in good physical shape than Ken Dye Larry Dwyer. I’d pay to see either of them do anything the least bit athletic

    • Jamescurlsinthesquatrack

      James never skips leg day… He actually looks forward to his patented plunger squats. That’s the only explanation for how butt hurt he sounds every time he opens his mouth.

    • Vito

      Yeah I’m sure they “picked people up and put them down”….LOL, These guys were figure heads, usually hung over, boorish, entitled snots. They could’nt put down your mother!

      • Vito’s Mother

        Now honey, they only couldn’t put me down because I kept begging them for more!

  • GoIrish66

    This is another sad day for Notre Dame. Why destroy yet another of our wonderful traditions? One can only hope that “Dr.” Dye will yield to pressure – I am not optimistic as the leadership of my beloved school is simply not up the standards of the greats who came before, and no, I’m not talking about Monk.

    • t

      Lol he’s not going to give because it wasn’t his decision. It was much higher up. Dye was a scape goat. If you can’t see that the University runs that way, I’m sorry.

  • Nick

    Christian Verhamme for Pres.

  • B

    I sort of understand if they had an issue with the hard partying of guard members (although I do think that rationale reflects what I’ve always seen as an overzealous desire by the administration in recent years to sanitize everything about the Notre Dame student experience), but it really sounds like they are throwing the baby out with the bath water. If they were really so concerned, maybe they could of given the current members an ultimatum that they needed to clean up the behavior on guard-related social events and band trips if they wanted to keep their positions, and then make it so the band directors/administration have more input in the selection of future members, and have things like service or lack of res-lifes factor more into who’s picked. But to cut them out entirely is overkill, and the fact that they are getting rid of their pre-game traditions in favor of a cheesy photo-op for visitors (let’s be honest and call them what they are…tourists) is what really irks me. I once heard somebody refer to the modern incarnation of Notre Dame football weekends as “Irish-Catholic Disneyland.” That whole photo-op thing doesn’t exactly invalidate that notion.

    • t

      That pregame change is due to fans and EVEN prior guard members harassing and almost violating the current members. That change was to protect the guard themselves.

      • DE

        As a member who graduated in 2013, I can tell you that there is absolutely no way that “safety” concerns are the reason for the cancellation of Inspection. The Guard has no problem clearing the circle, and has 2 members on “crowd control” duty, making sure no fans are approaching the Guard during Inspection or getting out of control. Generally, fans are very quiet during the part where the Captain inspects his Guard, taking in the pageantry of the event. Once the Captain calls upon former Guardsmen to inspect the Guard, they basically look over everyone’s appearance, whisper a few words of encouragement into the ears of the Guardsmen, and maybe crack some jokes or do funny things to demonstrate how good the Guardsmen are at not breaking from attention or smiling. The Guardsmen know that these are done for the benefit of the crowd and not to denigrate or disrespect them at all. After the Guard “passes” their inspection, the former Guardsmen lead the audience in applauding the Guard until they are dismissed and greeted warmly by the former Guardsmen, as well as family and friends. At no point did I ever feel in the slightest that there was any safety issues with this event. Anyone who tells you that this is a safety issue is either feeding you a line made up as an excuse or has never been in attendance at Inspection.

    • Soy

      I concur. As far as I know… the administration was pretty straightforward with what changes they wanted to be made in the last few years… and that didn’t really happen. Again, these guys are good dudes. I know a couple of them quite well. This isn’t their fault. It’s those who have instilled in them a semi-faulty ideology.

  • Soy

    The main point is honestly being missed here.

    The unfortunate reality is that the Guard has always viewed as a section of the band, because they are indeed a section of the band. As such, the Guard should be subject to the same standards and requirements, like following the commands of the Director of Bands during rehearsal. That often did not happen, from the Guard. This isn’t a product of the Guard being jerks, it’s a product of the many years of tradition that have taught each Guard member the rule that you listen to your Captain above all others.

    That rule is understandable. At the same time, it should have a limiting factor, as any good rule does. For instance, when the Director of Bands tells you to move to the next set during rehearsal, you should do that, instead of standing still… holding up rehearsal, disrespecting the faculty, and detrimentally affecting the productivity of the band would be likely grounds for a severance meeting for any other band member. The Guard has been (under the banner of tradition) pulling this stuff for years.

    It’s not these five returners’ fault. Looking past some incidents involving alcohol, tardiness, attendance… stuff happens, I’m pretty sure the directors understand that. But at some point, someone needed to clean house. It’s sad that these guys kinda get the shaft, but someone was gonna. The Guard needed to start acting like they were a section of the band… and they didn’t. It’s sad to see the old traditions of Inspection go, and even further to see the returning members be unable to return. But the Guard needed a clean slate. This ushers in a new opportunity to improve the band as a whole, from viewpoints of both technique and togetherness.

    Sometimes you have to cut some branches, even if they’re pretty, to make sure the whole tree thrives… no one likes to be the gardener. But someone’s gotta do it.

    • A

      thanks for sayin what needed to be said

    • t

      Thank you. So many people don’t understand what has taken place because of the Guard. I remember so many times being held up during a bowl game because they got to drunk or even leaving them behind. The most recent crew has actually cleaned up their act a lot and things have improved. At the same time things were getting out of hand during inspection from the fans. I love the guard and think they are a symbol but you can’t continue with something that constantly causes problems

  • reasonablebandmember

    James,

    From one band member to another, stop being such a stuck up little twit.

    Sincerely,

    A reasonable band member

    • James

      Please read my most recent comment, I’m sorry I have a little more pride about being a band member than you. I got a little caught up in the argument.

      • O’Brother

        You misspelled passive aggressive sissy. Fortunately, not all the band members have such a Fredo Corleone vibe going on.

  • O’Brother

    This is a singularly poor decision on the part of the band director and a poor reflection on the University leadership that he was empowered to make it unilaterally.

    • Robert

      WRONG O’B! This should have been done years ago!

      • O’Brother

        Why? The vast majority of people enjoyed The Irish Guard. I’m not interested in any passive aggressive little turf war that the band geeks or the band director may have had with them. The Irish Guard represented the University just fine. What will this new demiguard group represent? The Lollipop Guild?

  • A

    James you’re such a buzzkill.

    This is all just so heavyhanded, and I gotta wonder why the Guards were apparently not consulted beforehand. Yet another case of ND powers-that-be making huge changes without talking it over first with the people who stand to be affected.

    The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule applies here, and the longer the tradition has been around, the more broke it has to be to justify such a severe change. Without knowledge of the internal issues (they can’t be *that* bad), I can say that from the student section the Guard looked just fine. Not sure how i’m supposed to see this as anything but a sh**ty thing to do on Dye’s part.

    Go Irish, beat stupidity.

    • James

      If you are a student and you don’t know the actual underlying problems you shouldn’t be sharing an opinion here.

  • TL

    Many of you are falling for what the University wants you to believe. Those of you who are blaming the directors of the marching band are focusing your anger in the wrong direction. I can tell you 100% it is not the decision of the Directors. This has come from way on high up in the university. ND had the director give the news and spoke about what changes will be made, as per usual so that the blame is directed at a lower level and the University as a whole remains intact. So if you have a beef with anyone aim your anger a little bit higher. Also these changes have come for a variety of reasons one of which is due to the treatment of the guard during inspection, things were getting pretty nasty and inappropriate, so to protect them from the fans changes had to be made. There are also other reasons such as guard behavior (there have been many problems). Do I agree with these changes no, I have grown up with the band and it is a part of my life, but i truly dislike that anger that is being blamed in the wrong direction. Say what you will, call me ignorant, or that I’m wrong, in which case you are the one that is blinded by your own emotions. It’s sad to see the Guard change I have always looked forward to seeing them on game day.

  • A

    Very, very sad. I wish the thoughts of alumni and the entire Notre Dame community would be taken into account when making decisions like this one. I think most of us will agree that the Irish Guard tradition is one of the most important to our school and to the oldest band in the nation, and therefore should not be changed. To the past members: thank you for representing our school, and I am deeply saddened that your Irish Guard tenure was wrongly cut short. You will be missed on that field.

  • Saddened Band Member

    I must say, that reading this comments section is so disheartening. I am a past band member who was in the band from 2005-2009. I think that people are being very unfair. I absolutely loved the band and was so proud to be a part of it. That being said, were there days that I would have rather been elsewhere than rehearsal? Absolutely. Were there times that I maybe walked a little slower to my spot than I should have? Of course. We’re all only humans, and I think that some band members are just as guilty of holding up rehearsal at some point as the Guard was. I’ve read countless comments in the comment section about the Guard holding up rehearsal. Yes, the Irish Guard held up rehearsal more often than others during my time in the band, but so what? Did they do what they were supposed to on game day and all appearances… YES. And, honestly, regardless of what people are saying here, a lot of the time they had reason not to be too into what was going on. A lot of times when we rerun a set over and over again, it is because a certain section wasn’t getting the music right. Since the Irish Guard wasn’t playing instruments, it makes sense that they would not have needed as much rehearsal on some parts as those playing a tricky part of the music. I even remember times when I would walk out to rehearsal and I would see that the Irish Guard were already there practicing on their own – practicing the parts they needed to work on that maybe weren’t getting as much rehearsal time because the rest of the band didn’t need to practice it. Although I didn’t know any of the members of the Irish Guard very well during my time in the band, I never had any ill feelings toward them, and in fact, looked up to them.

    I was in the band for the 2005 game against USC (yes, I know we don’t like talking about this game, but something has to be said here). That game was so disheartening, and I remember walking out to post game absolutely miserable. I walked out to my spot on the field to find that USC players and cheerleaders were there celebrating and would not move. Myself and some others tried to get to our spots, but no one would let us. I distinctly remember a few members of the Irish Guard coming up and helping up out. I remember them helping to clear the field with grace and sportsmanship. It was incredible. It was in moments like these that I felt protected by the Irish Guard and new they were there to help serve the band as leaders. I have other examples of instances of this as well, but I will leave it at that. There have been a few comments on here where people have replied to someone trying to express that the Irish Guard protected them that make me ill. I can’t believe a band member would belittle someone saying that. Maybe you didn’t encounter any rude fans at any time at a certain game, but maybe that was because they had already been taken care of by the Irish Guard… Maybe everything was so smooth for you because the individuals leading the band were doing their job so well. Or maybe you just got lucky and didn’t encounter any hostile fans, but I know it was always nice to know that the Irish Guard was there… just in case.

    For those members of the Irish Guard who wrote this, I commend them and I want to say thank you. Everyone has their faults, and it seems like a lot of them are getting brought up in this comment section which is just unfair. These individuals just wanted to express how hurt they are about being left out of something that they truly loved. As a band member, I know if I had been told I could no longer be part of the band anymore, it would have broken my heart. Just put it in perspective and think about that. Maybe changes needed to be made, maybe someone higher up made them, whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. This letter was about respecting the individuals who have been told they can’t be part of something that they loved anymore. I truly hope that people try to take that into account, and I also hope that perhaps this whole reorganization is looked at again. Maybe changes needed to be made, but if those individuals who were already part of the group were willing to help with the changes and still be part of it, that should have been respected.

  • C
  • Robert

    The other reason the names were never printed is because these guys, on too many occasions, brought shame to the band and University with their arrogant behavior and drunken booze fests. They were less than desirable representatives of ND too many times. Acting like spoiled, entitled little snots, well maybe not so little. Dye could have thrown them under the bus on many, many occasions but took the high road. Now the Guard will be an honored achievement by real musicians who get it and earn the right. Looking forward to the Honor being restored in The Guard! Great decision Dr. Dye, good job and it needed to be done….probably years ago! FACT!

  • C
  • Charlie ’72

    It can’t be true! Notre Dame has made a very bad decision. Whatever is said about the rationale for dissolving the Guard it is probably based on $$$$! A great Tradition is destroyed in a heartbeat……..callous arrogance rules the day, again.

  • CJD, ’81

    Finally! Those self-centered brats needed to be taken down about 12 notches. Thanks, Dr. Dye–appreciate you cleaning up this embarrassing portion of the Notre Dame experience. Hey, former Irish Guard-guys…you can still have your own little club where you inspect each other, have your own little pecking order, so to speak…just do it in private where the rest of us don’t have to watch and be embarrassed, OK?. Can’t tell you the number of visitors we have hosted to ND football games who ask “who are those clowns?” or something very similar.

    • Duh

      Can’t tell you the number of visitors I have hosted to ND football games who ask “Who are those guys? They’re awesome! Let’s go get our picture with them!” They are always super gracious about taking pictures with people, I’ve seen them hold babies, dogs, and even “Flat Stanleys” for kids’ show-and-tell type projects.

      • CJD, ’81

        I guess you saw them when they were sober. That one time.

        • Duh

          Over a span of about 8 years…

  • Liz

    I do not understand where all the abuse about the Irish Guard is coming from. The few I have known are have been fine young men. It is possible for any student to act out of character and be a jerk. Band members, football players, guardsmen, students in general. One cannot avoid such issues by limiting the potential candidates to band members. What one needs to continue to do is make evidence of strong character a fundamental criterion for membership in the Irish Guard. Let’s keep it open to all students who meet the traditional criteria and successfully audition , enforce its character standards, and keep marching TALL. Please do not change another celebrated tradition in this University. (And can’t we get over the fact that certain jobs are better suited to tall guys?)

  • why o’ why

    What the %$^@ is happening? A great Notre Dame tradition dismantled by a USC man….. the end is near!!!!!