A performance by Princeton’s Glee Club was interrupted on Saturday, when a Harvard student impersonating a Princeton alum was dragged off the stage.
The incident occurred at the “Football Concert,” an event that has been annually hosted by the two universities’ glee clubs for over a century. The program generally includes a set of standard songs, followed by a medley of the schools’ respective “fight songs.” This year, the performance fell the weekend after Princeton’s football victory against rival Harvard. Traditionally, the end of the concert is marked by an attempt by Harvard to steal “Tiglet” — a stuffed animal tiger that rests atop the Princeton club’s piano.
This is not the first year that the ritual tiger theft has gone awry. Emily Della Pietra ’24, a member of the Glee Club, mentioned that during a previous concert, “someone’s shoes went flying … and there was one [altercation] that resulted in blood on a tenor’s face.”
Tiglet is also often targeted at the Yale-Princeton Football Concert, which will fall on Nov. 4 this year. According to Pietra, however, this year was the first that the stuffed animal incurred damages.
During the concert, the conductor opened the floor for an alum to come on stage and sing along. Dressed in a Princeton sweatshirt and scarf, the Harvard student passed as a Princeton alum and pretended to sing along on stage.
“He came over and actually stood next to me. Then he said, ‘oh, Harvard is going to try to steal the tiger, we should hold it,’” Charlie Ambach ’26, another member of the Glee club, said. “He went over and he grabbed the tiger but I didn’t know he was an imposter yet. Once we started the song, I could tell he wasn’t actually singing anything and he wasn’t mouthing the right lyrics. So I put my arm around the tiger just in case and then I said to him, ‘Having fun with the lyrics, bud?’”
A struggle ensued as the Harvard student seemingly attempted to run off with the tiger. Ambach and fourth-year graduate student Josef Lawrence GS recalled grabbing hold of the tiger during the scuffle.
“After we realized what the Harvard people were doing, I was able to just strong arm my way into being the guy in possession of it. Then I just held on for dear life. I kind of crouched over into turtle position to try to protect the tiger,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence remembers hearing the tiger begin to rip, and reported letting go in an effort to prevent further damage.
In a video capturing the conflict, Harvard students rushed the stage as student from both schools joined in tug of war with the tiger until the song ended. When Princeton students finally secured possession of the tiger, the Harvard student impersonating the alum was dragged off the stage. The scuffle resulted in one of Tiglet’s paws being ripped off, but Harvard has since replaced the stuffed animal.
“It's always just kind of silly fun, right,” Lawrence said. “It kind of adds to the puzzle on the petty rivalry and it’s part of the tradition. In the end, you make [traditions] significant to the degree you choose to make them significant.”
Doris Lee and Hiba Samdani are both News contributors for the ‘Prince.’
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