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Omega Lambda Chi

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Charles Ives

Charles Ives (arr. Brion)

This work bears various titles: March in F & C with "Omega Lambda Chi", March for Band, S. 53 (K. 1D6), and March: Omega Lambda Chi.

General Info

Year: 1896 / 1974
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental, for availability information, see Discussion area.


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
E-flat Soprano Cornet
Cornets Solo-I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

March "Omega Lambda Chi" was first heard in May 1896, played at an annual event held by Yale upperclassmen in order to dupe freshmen into providing them cigars and drinks, lest they be subjected to the "Pass of Thermopylae," a backside-challenging hazing ritual staged in the pass between Dwight and Alumni Halls. Omega Lambda Chi itself was a phony fraternity created in honor of fraternal societies banned by Yale in 1880, and it would find itself banned in 1900, forever shuttering the Pass of Thermopylae.

The song Sailing, Sailing was published in 1880 -- the year the earlier fraternities were banned -- and is extensively quoted in the march, scored initially for an odd group of winds, 12 brass, and percussion. It didn't receive a formal premiere until July 13, 1965, when Keith Brion led it with the North Jersey Wind Symphony. Brion also edited March "Omega Lambda Chi" into a version for modern wind band in 1975, which has become the standard edition for concert performances. Ives also created a parallel version for solo piano, from which the band score was made; in September 2007, it remained unpublished.

- Program Note by Uncle Dave Lewis,


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Band (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University Concert Band (Bruce Moss, conductor) – 7 March 2019
  • Culver-Stockton College (Canton, Mo.) Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band (Trent A. Hollinger, conductor) – 12 November 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 20 April 2017
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 16 November 2016
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Symphonic Band (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 17 November 2015
  • Johansen High School (Modesto, Calif.) Symphonic Band - 6 May 2011
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (William V. Johnson, conductor) - 9 May 2004

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Brinberg, Isaac. "David Wallis Reeves and John Philip Sousa’s Influence of Charles Ives’s Early Marches for Wind Band." Journal of Band Research vol. 57, no. 2, Spring 2002, pp. 37–59.
  • Ives, C.; Brion, K. (1974). March: Omega Lambda Chi: For Band [score]. Associated Music Publishers: New York.
  • "The President's Own" United States Marine Band program notes