But the band played on: piccolo player Roxanne Chalifoux goes viral


But the band played on: piccolo player Roxanna Chalifoux

Claire Hoffman

For many Villanovans, Saturday evening was spent mourning the tragic defeat against No. 8 seed North Carolina State and the elimination of Villanova from the NCAA Tournament. Through the darkness, however, a woodwind-playing star shone. 

After the game, senior Roxanne Chalifoux was caught giving a teary eyed performance with the band, which was then broadcast nationally. Footage of her heartbreaking rendition of Villanova’s fight song circulated throughout every corner of the Internet, earning her the alias #piccologirl and gaining her national recognition.

“I found out hours later actually,” Chalifoux told The Villanovan about learning she had gone viral, “My phone had died at the game and I went out to dinner. When I charged my phone back at the hotel, all my friends were like, ‘Don’t go on Twitter. You’ve gone viral.’” 

Images of Chalifoux and her piccolo (which has been confirmed to be in fact a piccolo, not a flute) had been made into memes, and videos were made with songs like Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” playing behind it. Chalifoux represented all of the sorrow that came with “March Sadness,” and the Internet loved her for it.

Since then, Chalifoux has found herself making appearances on the 94WIP Morning Show as well as playing with The Roots on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” which she described as “life changing.” 

“It feels weird.” Chalifoux said, “I didn’t expect something like that to become a big deal. Lots of people cry after losses for all sorts of reasons, and I really don’t see anything that special about the video.” 

Through it all though, Chalifoux has been thankful for all the support that she’s received from the University. “The Villanova community has been very kind to me, peers and professors included,” she said. “I’m so lucky to go to a university that has really had my back through all this craziness.”

Chalifoux is a biology major, planning on attending optometry school after graduation this May as well as a member of Delta Gamma sorority. 

She’s played instruments since she was ten and will continue her support of Villanova’s men’s basketball team even through this tough time.

“I love the team. I had so much fun supporting them and cheering them on these past four years,” she said. “They gave me some of the most incredible memories over the years, and I’ll really miss going to the games after graduating.”

Ultimately, it seems that Chalifoux has been taking her fifteen minutes of fame in stride, choosing to focus more on catching up on homework than a book deal. “This will all pass soon, which I’m happy about.”