Saplings vie for mascot title during Tree Week

Feb. 18, 2014, 12:37 a.m.
Courtesy of Robert Siegel
Courtesy of Robert Siegel

Auditions to be the 2014-15 Stanford Tree–mascot of the Leland Stanford Junior Marching Band (LSJUMB) and kisser of hundreds every Full Moon on the Quad–began on Feb. 17 and will conclude this week when LSJUMB rolls out one of the eight candidates vying for the job.

“There is only one position–we introduce them to the Band’s management, they get to meet some of the Band and old Trees from years past and learn about the position,” said Allison Crow ’16, a public relations manager for LSJUMB.

Throughout the audition week, also known as Tree Week, prospective Trees, or Saplings, aim to impress the campus community with impressive stunts of all sorts.

According to Roselyn Miller ’16, another LSJUMB public relations manager, potential Trees are tasked with coming up with creative and memorable stunts that will leave an impression on both the campus community and the group of former Trees and LSJUMB leaders who will determine who becomes the face of the University.

“It’s a chance for them to show off their creativity,” Miller said. “We don’t give them guidelines for what stunts they should be doing.”

Guidelines or not, Tree stunts overwhelmingly take the form and character of the Band itself–irreverent and whimsical, while showing off a gratuitous amount of skin. To that end, this year’s candidates have a lot to live up to–the current Tree, Calvin Studebaker ’15, played a guitar naked on the steps of Meyer Library for a stunt.

On Monday, the first day of Tree Week, candidates introduced themselves to their evaluators. Stunts yesterday included hijinks ranging from mock crucifixion to a naked surprise baked into a dildo-topped cake.

Those were nothing out of the ordinary, according to Band leaders.

“There were a lot of really interesting stunts, some involving artistic creativity, some costuming, some dancing,” Miller said. “It was a good introduction.”

For Joanie Holberg ’15, a candidate for Tree, this opportunity is one that comes around only once in a lifetime.

“Thirty years from now, when I look back on college, am I going to think ‘Wow, that midterm was so nuts,’ or am I going to think back about being the Tree?” she asked. “I want to be a part of the Band community in a way where I’m creating the energy and acting in that leadership role.”

William Funk ‘16, another candidate, stated his desire to keep the tradition of the Tree alive.

“At the UCLA game this year…a lot of the old trees were there talking about the origin of the Tree and its tradition and what it means,” he said. “I just absolutely loved everything they were saying and they convinced me to try out for the Tree and made me want to keep up this tradition.”

Contact Edward Ngai at [email protected].

Edward Ngai is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, he has worked as a news desk editor, staff development editor and columnist. He was president and editor-in-chief of The Daily for Vol. 244 (2013-2014). Edward is a junior from Vancouver, Canada studying political science. This summer, he is the Daniel Pearl Memorial Intern at the Wall Street Journal.

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