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Is Gunn High School's Pep Band a Divison of Stanford University?

Original post made by Confused, Triple El, on May 5, 2013

I attended the May Fete Parade on University Avenue yesterday and was quite confused when I saw the lead off act. It was the Gunn High School marching band. I was near the announcer’s stand and they clearly stated that it was the Gunn Band. There were 3 pompom girls riding in a Cardinal Red vintage 41 Packard 110 Deluxe Convertible owned by Mr. James Nelson and on display in Heritage Park at the end of the parade route. I took a photo and you can see this impressive vehicle for yourself.

The cheerleaders had pompoms which they were waving triumphantly as the band rolled onto University Avenue to start the parade. I believe that the band was playing “Raiders of the Lost Arc” but I am not sure. They were actually quite good and provided real entertainment value.

The three young ladies had all white outfits on with very short skirts and long sleeved white sweatshirts with STANFORD emblazoned across their breasts (in Cardinal Red letters). The announcer did not say that these were Stanford students riding in the lead. Why weren’t these girls wearing GUNN sweatshirts? Were they part of a contingent of pompom girls who have already received their admission notices to Stanford? Were they part of a PR team implying that if you go to GUNN you might increase your odds of admission to Stanford or another prestigious Ivy League institution?

I have some additional questions to ask. Whose idea was it that the girls should be wearing Stanford garments? The band leaders? The students? The parents? I am confused! Who were these girls and why were they advertising for Stanford? Or were they advertising for Gunn’s tremendous success in getting students prepared for Stanford admission?

When Paly’s Pep Band appeared at the end of the parade, I was impressed with their unpretentious costuming which consisted of green tees with a understated white circle on the upper left quadrant of their shirts which had “Paly Pep Band” discretely and tastefully printed in white letters. Paly’s colors are Green and White. Gunn’s school colors are red and black. The other pompom girls not riding in the convertible had outfits with GUNN in red and black which is what I would have expected the lead girls to be wearing. What gives here?

I am confused? Why would Gunn want to have the Stanford pompom girls leading them in a parade on University Avenue in an expensive red vintage vehicle? Or were these Gunn girls? Help, I am confused!!!

Would anyone care to speculate as to what this all means?

Comments (20)

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Posted by not confused
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (and cheerleaders) were marching in the May Fete parade this weekend.

Maybe the announcer mis-announced the order or, as you say, you were confused.

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Posted by Confused
a resident of Triple El
on May 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

@not confused: I think you are the one that is confused. LSJUMB apperared later on in the parade with their Tree, cheerleaders (dressed differently than the Gunn High School facsimiles) and the band. It was definitely the Gunn girls dressed in their version of Stanford dollies (that's what they used to be called!).

Does anyone out there know what the deal with that was? Come on now, I know there are parents and students from Gunn who read these comments. Please inform us of what the band's intention was with this display.

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Posted by former PALY parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I am not up to date about Gunn's band or marching band, but I can attest that PALY's marching band was down-to-earth in nature and modest in the time period I observed it, getting the job done as the pep band while PALY football team won a ton of games (awhile ago, in our day, I am not current on PALY football at all recently). I wasn't at the parade this year, but I would think it unsuitable for anything/anyone associated with Gunn to become a PR arm of Stanford University.

1 person likes this
Posted by VoxPop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Why must some PaloAltans find something to complain about in every facet of everyday life? Do they always have to impute some dark motive to even the simplest of occurrences? Couldn't you have gone to the parade and just enjoyed it. Maybe this was a group of young people who found joy in dressing up in costumes of yesteryear and were not associated with any particular organization. Perhaps the owner of the car knew the young people and asked them to participate in a bit of the theater of nostalgia.

In other words, lighten up, people. Chill. Enjoy the abundance of life here. If you want to worry about things, pick things of some significance.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Lets just be clear, Gunn's band bears no resemblence to the Stanford band. Gunn's band bring folding CHAIRS to the Gunn football games which they set up on the track. They don't even play standing up. I see no way on this green earth they could be confused in any way shape or form with the Stanford band - unless one is confused by the 'red/black/white color similarity.

On the other hand, Paly's band plays 'all right now" as their celebration/touch down music, in a most obnoxious copy cat fashion.

Anyone paying even a little attention would be drawing a different conclusion about who's copying who...

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm

By the way, Gunn's colors ARE 'cardinal' red black and white, which could explain the similarity in colors to Stanford worn by Gunn, in the parade, and possibly might be why they were riding in a 'cardinal' red car?

The fact that the girls were wearing white chearleader suits (yes, Gunn chearleaders wear white with red and black trim), and Stanford sweatshirts? - hmmm. Maybe they are seniors who have been admitted to Stanford? I understand Gunn has a good many that were... Which also might be confusing/disorienting to the Paly fans observing.

But i wasn't there so I can't say for sure.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 5, 2013 at 9:05 pm

And one last observation; Palo Alto Online in fact includes in their 13 pics of the parade attached to their article, one very clear pic of the Gunn band with the cheerleaders in the lead, with GUNN TITANS clearly on their uniforms. So not sure what parade you were at? But it looks like Gunn Titans' band made an appearance not pretending to be Stanford.

(Maybe you were just a little peeved that the Paly band was a little lackluster in comparison in the parade this time? Perhaps the confines of University Avenue were a little too restrictive for their usual stadium schtick. I wouldn't worry, I'm sure the backdrop of a big "State Champion" football team will restore the Paly band/cheerleaders to their usual luster this fall.)

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Posted by Confused
a resident of Triple El
on May 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm


You said:

“Maybe this was a group of young people who found joy in dressing up in costumes of yesteryear and were not associated with any particular organization.”

Surely you are joking? There was nothing “nostalgic” about the way they were dressed. They had on modern sweatshirts with STANFORD clearly emblazoned across their beasts. How could anyone say that female cheerleaders would wear teensy weensy skirts and modern sweatshirts in 1942? Nice try for an explanation though.
I truly enjoy the abundance of life and know that I am truly blessed to live in Palo Alto. I do not worry about things but it sounds as if you do! On the other hand, I know that there are many things of significance relevant to the lives of our precious students. One of those things of great significance (particularly at Gunn HS) is academic stress. Let’s not kid ourselves Vox, the Ivy league sweatshirts say something about where Gunn students are aiming. You are the one that needs to chill my friend.

You haven’t read my posting carefully. The only thing that was confusing is that there were a trio of Gunn cheerleaders perched in an open vintage luxury convertible with STANFORD sweatshirts on. Why were GUNN girls not wearing GUNN sweatshirts? The announcer clearly stated that the first act (which these girls were leading) was Gunn HS marching band. The girls in the photos you referred to were at the end of the group I believe. The band was sandwiched into the middle. If you were not there it would be impossible for you to guess about the details. Thanks for admitting that you are just guessing. I am stating the facts here.
Surely you are joking that Paly is impersonating Stanford or trying to copy something that BELONGS to Stanford. All Right Now is in the public domain and many teams play it when they have scored. I think you might be a bit irritated by the fact that Paly has an exceptionally fine team and that opponents of Paly may have to hear All Right Now played entirely too many times. Just get over it. So, does the Paly band put on Stanford sweatshirts before bursting into their “obnoxious” victory tune? never got the bands confused……….it was just those cheerleaders that confused me
Speaking of tunes, I believe (based on multiple listenings over the years at games) that the Paly band was playing the school fight song in the parade. It was quite sweetly nostalgic for me to hear that school song. It was very understated and lovely to hear that tune. I think that “Raiders of the Lost Arc” was well played by Gunn but a little over the top as a tune choice.

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Posted by VoxPop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 6, 2013 at 9:57 am

@Confused: You might try spelling “Raiders of the Lost Arc” correctly next time. An arc is a segment of a circle; an ark is the sacred chest where the ancient Hebrews kept the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The movie was about the search for that ark. But I can understand that you're Confused.

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Posted by Gunn students
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Dear author,
I would like to clear up the confusion up. In truth, the Stanford cheerleaders in the car were in no way affiliated with the Gunn marching band. Maybe you noticed that the Gunn banner came after the Stanford procession? Please get correct information next time.

Also, in my opinion the shirts are very classy. ;)

-Gunn band students

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Posted by The Real Gunn Students
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm

The posts above obviously is VERY misinformed. I am a student in Symphonic Band in Gunn High School. I know for a FACT that we were trying to imitate the 49ers. we were trying to pay tribute to their Super Bowl loss and to show support for them. we had voted on the theme and we chose 49ers, as evident by the red, black, and white color scheme. You're welcome for helping clear things.

ps i hate the polo shirts a lot. they are not classy

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Posted by No reason to be confused
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Just for the record, we never played "Raiders of the Lost Arc" either. So, all in all, the Stanford girls in the front were NOT from Gunn, Gunn cheerleaders WERE in the front, and we played 3 different songs, none of which were from Indiana Jones.

The announcer not mentioning the Stanford girls may have made it confusing, but I am just stating the (real) facts here. :)

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Posted by GunnRules
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm

what you are saying is completely correct. However, you failed to mention that we had extended our hand crosstown to Paly. We wanted to represent the football teams we loved. as a result, we represented the 49ers while Paly represented the Green Bay Packers. Also, the Stanford cheerleaders were actually seniors who had made Stanford this year. We were trying to help them out with their advertising to show how great of a community we are. I'm not sure what "Gunnstudents" is thinking. Hats off to the author for analyzing the situation correctly.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Now I'm confused.

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Posted by Confused
a resident of Triple El
on May 6, 2013 at 10:35 pm

@Vox Poop: Had you been a better proofreader and had carried your critiques of my posting to a complete and competent analysis you would have noticed that I misspelled your name (not by accident by the way!) and that I misspelled Division as well. Maybe I just like to play stupid. Obviously I am not Gunn material!

@No reason to be confused: I said that I thought it was the "Raiders OTLA" theme but was not sure. I know it was the theme music from one of those movies of that genre. I was just guessing on the name of the tune. Paly was a great rep for the Green Bay Packers by the way!!

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Posted by VoxPop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

@Confused; obviously you are.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I wonder if Confused is still Confused, or if that was always just a case of mistaken identity and 'Confused' should have all along just called themselves "Sh* Disturber for No Good Reason". When making unfounded claims badmouthing the other guy, I guess its always good practice to pretend to be 'confused', for cover as you hurl thinly veiled and unfounded insults across town for no apparent reason.

Now, what we've learned boys and girls...
a) If you ARE tempted to claim to be confused, probably best to keep the insults to yourself because you may indeed be confused, and best just to remain confused than to open mouth, attempt to insert foot, miss, and give yourself a black eye.
b) Gunn band and Gunn cheerleaders don't seem to have some secret agenda to go marching around in parades charading as Stanford students for some sneaky and underhanded reasons. They do very well indeed for real on their own merits, both as a band, academically, as cheerleaders, etc., and don't seem to need to 'pretend' to be Stanford 'facsimile's for any reason. However, I'm sure we'll see many of them wearing Stanford sweatshirts, Ivy sweatshirts, and many other prestigious college sweatshirts around town in the near future (and you'll see many of these logos on their graduation caps soon), and we shouldn't be confused by this and assume dark and disturbing ulterior motives.
c) Paly band plays All Right Now at football games after touchdowns, which is widely known as the standard, long adopted Stanford celebration song, for going on 4 decades, and which song is for all intents and purposes joined at the hip with Stanford and known to be Stanfords song from coast to coast. And that in fact does make Paly look like "facsimile" wannabes, and they should probably go ahead and learn their own school fight song, write a fight song, or pick another not-already-claimed popular song to adopt as their own signature song, so as to avoid this perception, if in fact they don't want to look like they're blatantly trying to copy Stanford band. Although they may very well LIKE to create that comparison in which case they should go right ahead and keep copying Stanford, because it IS a free country.

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Posted by timmy the titan
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

excuse me good sir, i found many false statements in this article
1. the girls in a car, had nothing to do with the gunn band as the gunn banner came after the car.
2. it was the stars wars theme song not radiers of the lost arc
3. paly was less classy then gunn as we had dress pants on
4. stanford was shirt less and threw their instruments in the air.
so please try not to disrespect the honor of gunn high school.

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Posted by BandFan
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hey Timmy: No need for either band to trash the other. They are both good in their own right. As are all three middle school bands BTW.

Paly does have it's own fight song (Green and White) and it is played all the time. All Right Now is played as a celebration song and it is not considered Paly's fight song at all. In fact, back in the day Gunn played ARN as well. So lighten up.

There are many schools who play ARN. Paly certainly wasn't the first or the last.

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Posted by Hmmmmmmm
a resident of Green Acres
on May 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I guess the author of this thread must have been correct in their assumptions. It is pretty disgraceful that the Gunn people have to masquerade as Stanford pom pom girls (even if they did happen to qualify to audition as "dollies" next year by virtue of the fact that they may have been Stanford bound). I really liked the Green and White Forever fight song that the understated by excellent Paly Pep Band played. I am so delighted with them for just doing a good job without trying to "impress" the spectators. The Gunn band sounded good mind you but the car thing was just over the top and unnecessary. I agree with "Confused" that it was confusing. Thanks to the Gunn students who have removed the confusion.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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