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From Fundamentals to Field Shows: Our Path to Gameday

With the start of every school year, Cal Band kicks into high gear as it introduces its vibrant traditions to a new recruiting class. This year, the recruits had just two weeks to learn how to march before performing two field shows at the Sacramento State game last weekend.

When we arrived at Cal State East Bay in Hayward for our Fall Training Program three weeks ago, the teaching assistants and returning members were eager to show our recruits the fundamentals of Cal Band’s marching style.

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The recruits then practiced and perfected their form alongside returning members.

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After spending over eight hours on the field practicing fundamentals and learning drills each day, the full band gathered for music rehearsal in the evening. Despite the long hours on the field, we maintained our enthusiasm while rehearsing some crowd favorites.

The time spent practicing marching and music proved beneficial as the band combined these two elements to perform our mock show.

After a weekend of learning fundamentals, we returned to Berkeley and started putting our skills into practice as we began learning our Pregame show. This included some of our Pregame trademarks, including as Spellout and Script Cal.

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The band took a break from rehearsing as fifty members accompanied our football team to Chicago for their season opener against Northwestern. We were thrilled to cheer on our Golden Bears as they defeated the Wildcats 31-24.

With a victory under our belts, we were even more driven to continue perfecting our Pregame and Halftime Shows, even after full days of lectures, discussions, and labs. When Saturday morning arrived, the band assembled bright and early to polish our shows before performing them for tens of thousands of Cal fans.

After our final marching rehearsal, we were ready to take the field and support our Golden Bears in the home opener at California Memorial Stadium. Before the team took the field, we performed our Pregame show for a stadium of proud Californians.

Immediately following our Pregame show, we set up in the stands to cheer on our team as they scored an astounding six touchdowns against Sacramento State in the first half alone. The team’s notable lead added to our excitement as we took the field for our P!nk Halftime Show. The fans added to the the excitement as they sang and danced along to the tunes.

After a rousing halftime performance, we returned to the stands to watch our Golden Bears defeat the Hornets 55-14. With an undefeated team and a class of recruits with two performances under their belts, we knew we had an exciting season ahead of us.  We have already started preparing for the game against the Colorado Buffaloes on September 27, when we will perform alongside local high school bands for our biennial High School Band Day. We look forward to continue working hard to support and entertain our fellow Californians throughout the rest of the season. But for now, please join us as we raise our glasses to a successful first gameday!

  1 week ago

Cal Band Spotlight: Ned Udomkesmalee

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Meet Ned Udomkesmalee!

Ned, a snare drummer, is graduating in a few days with a Bachelor’s in Physics. An enthusiast of all types of sports, he enjoys golfing with director Bob Calonico, among other Cal Band members, as well as IM basketball, and tennis. His plans for the next year include pursuing his dream of becoming a pro golfer, then possibly pursing a graduate Computer Science degree.

He once interned at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena as a systems engineer doing “cubicle programming” for spaceship-related instruments, but he says it wasn’t his cup of tea.

Ned was nicknamed “AM/PM” during his freshman year because he missed the bus to the Cal/Oregon State football game: used to the late night schedules of drum corps, which he experienced in 2009 as part of the Velvet Knights, he thought the bus would be leaving at 11 p.m. rather than 11 a.m.

His favorite bands are AC/DC, Two Door Cinema Club, and the Backstreet Boys.

  4 months ago

Cal Band Spotlight: Alyssa Ransom

Meet Alyssa Ransom, first-year phonez (alto saxophone) player and champion chicken catcher!

As an SPCA volunteer back in the 6th grade, Alyssa discovered her chicken-catching abilities while caring for 10 energetic chicks that hatched from a feisty hen. With her grandmother, she raised all of them, even while living in a city environment.

Now, she now majors in Molecular and Cell Biology and volunteers at the Glass Lab, studying how fungi can degrade lignin as a biofuel. She’s also a spirited music tutor for Music Connection, working with a 4th grade trumpet player from John Muir Elementary School.

Her ultimate role model is Beyoncé who “knows that what she does is herself.”

  4 months ago

Cal Spring Football Experience

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Springtime in Cal Band is often associated with basketball games, fun trips, Cal Day, Spring Show, and new student officers. This year we added an exciting event to our spring lineup. On April 26th, the band took the field for an exciting marching performance at the Cal Spring Football Experience.

In the recent past, the Cal Football Spring Game had been scheduled either during Spring Break, during basketball trips, or on Cal Day, so the band was only able to attend in limited numbers for an Straw Hat Band performance in the stands, if at all. This year, however, the Spring Football Experience was scheduled late in the semester, which provided enough time to chart and learn a field show.

This was the first time that the Cal Band performed a field show at a spring game. Over 90 members volunteered to participate in this inaugural performance. This event also allowed the new coordinating committees to test and hone their skills before the start of football season. The new Stunt Committee charted the halftime show and new Administrative Committee handled gameday operations.

Charting a field show for this event was a very tall order for the new Stunt Committee. In a span of three months, they had to learn the ins and outs of CalChart, our field show charting software (which usually takes the majority of the spring semester), pick a TA squad, and chart a show. Stunt decided that, especially, due to the limited amount of time, the halftime show would be performed to Cal fight songs and would feature iconic Cal Band traditions, including the Flying Wedge, Big “C”, and the Script Cal.

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The Athletic Department was excited about our interest in performing a field show and facilitated rehearsal time in Memorial Stadium the week before the game, but the band had only four hours of rehearsal to learn and perfect the show. Our first two-hour rehearsal on the Wednesday before the event was spent learning all of our continuities for the nearly five-minute show and putting it to music. We arrived at California Memorial Stadium before 7 a.m. to refine the show before the gates opened at 10.

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Thankfully, our performance went smoothly and the Cal Spring Football Experience proved to be quite enjoyable and a fitting opportunity for the band as well as the football team. Hopefully this year’s participation will spark a new tradition and the band will take the field at California Memorial Stadium again next spring.

Check out the show on Youtube!

  4 months ago

Cal Band Spotlight: Bill Mullen

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The Cal Band Spotlight returns! Meet Bill Mullen! 

A second-year phonez (alto saxophone) player, Bill is a delightful resident of Tellefsen Hall. In his free time, he goes backpacking with friends and family to Yosemite, where they have a secret swimming hole. Inspired by Jim Morisson and The Doors, Bill sings as a low-key hobby, and also enjoys poetry. Cal Band has given him “a step towards being more social, exposure to diverse personalities, a marching style outside of the comfort zone, and the ability to be spontaneous, not just regimented.”

Favorite quirky snack combo? Milton’s multigrain bread + Johnny’s Caesar Dressing!

  4 months ago

A Band’s March Madness: Las Vegas

With only a few days’ rest after our journey to Seattle, we were off once again on another flight out of Oakland on Wednesday afternoon, bound for the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas. There was even a lovely sign by our gate to wish us good luck.

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On our departing flight, we happened to run into none other than head football coach Sonny Dykes, who was seated just a few rows ahead of us. After our arrival, we loaded onto a bus for a very short run to the Tropicana, the hotel of choice for Pac-12 bands this year, just across the street from the tournament’s home, the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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While we were left to our own devices that evening and the next morning, we eventually headed over to the arena on Thursday afternoon and waited under the seats while Arizona dismantled Utah.

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When we finally made it to our seats, we were joined by faithful members of The Bench.

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We were also joined by the always wonderful Cal Dance Team, Oski, a member of the UC Rally Committee, and our head Mic Man, Spencer.

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Many Arizona fans, who had turned the entire arena red for the previous game, stayed to watch our game while Cal and Colorado fans trickled in before tip-off.

1973902_10201760821081936_1616725015_o_mediumWe calmly waited until the game began, before watching the Bears fall into a slump early against Colorado.

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On the other hand, the Bears came out hot early in the second half and Cal fans rallied with them.

1052305_10201760847802604_586668660_o_medium1921197_10201760842002459_611065907_o_medium1836683_10201760843162488_1781792194_o_mediumWith the Bears playing catch-up, it was exciting to see the action up close as Justin Cobbs’ dunk brought us within one.

1529786_10201760858042860_744145660_o_medium1979183_10201760863122987_2135344733_o_mediumIn the end, the second-half effort wasn’t enough for the Bears to take down Colorado, as the Buffaloes made their final free throws to seal the game and keep us out of the semifinals.

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It may have been a very quick trip, but we really did enjoy cheering on our Bears in Las Vegas. Thank you to Southwest Airlines, the Tropicana, the Pac-12 Conference, and the City of Las Vegas for their hospitality.

Check back next week for a recap of our journey with Cal Women’s Basketball to Waco, Texas for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament!

We hope you enjoyed reading about the Band’s trip to Las Vegas. If you would like to support the band, please check out more information about our new donor matching challenge on our website. Thank you and Go Bears!

  6 months ago

A Band’s March Madness: Seattle

Our series of basketball trips began last Thursday afternoon when we departed from Berkeley for the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament in Seattle.

Ruhznxh_mediumThe Band, Mic Man, Rally Comm, and Cheer Team filled the back of the Southwest plane. The flight crew and other passengers seem to excited about presence and our rendition of “Fight for California” on takeoff. We were also fortunate to enjoy a beautiful sunset above the clouds.

7affozi_mediumCi6wzbl_mediumSqagbk3_mediumHaving arrived in the late evening, we went out to get a bite to eat and returned to the Renaissance Hotel for a relatively quiet evening.

7l9ez3k_mediumDjb5wet_mediumWith Friday’s quarterfinal game not until 6:00 p.m., the morning was a great opportunity to explore downtown Seattle. For some of us, it was a return just four and a half months after the Washington football game. For some others, it was their first time in the Pacific Northwest. Pike Place was the perfect place to start.

Zc3ta94_medium Jxjc7as_medium8bkknbh_mediumYuow4hv_mediumKtpbzlg_mediumGiwyhy4_mediumOf course, we made a stop at the gum wall!

Xhnw6js_mediumTl4rfwo_mediumThe shops figured all sorts of trinkets, including pins and buttons (our favorite)!

Dxbafcj_mediumEnd5nuf_mediumA4fc34m_mediumMany of us fell in love with the “World’s Best Mac & Cheese” from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. They even make their cheese on-site.

X4k1iqk_medium74zbfmc_mediumFellow musicians were abound on the city streets.

F345odv_medium6zlscsj_mediumThe spirit of the 12th Man, including support of former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, was still palpable weeks after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory.

Sbvdtml_mediumX5t8ve4_mediumQswqsb8_mediumWe had just enough time to walk up to the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Psklzgg_mediumEjxitgt_mediumMs0q1kx_mediumWe met two and a half hours before tip-off to drive to the team’s hotel and play as they boarded their bus.

Iksicen_mediumAfklfjj_mediumBefore heading to KeyArena, we made a stop at T.S. McHugh’s to play for a group of Cal fans also planning on making their way to the game.

Wbdiccm_mediumCr7virk_mediumWe pulled up to KeyArena just over an hour before the game. We were placed behind the basket by the Cal bench and waited for shootaround.

Oaaefms_mediumBibavtb_mediumQ4osncx_mediumQch7tz3_mediumGfxeyhd_mediumAfter their high scoring win over Oregon, there were an abundance of Washington State fans in the stands. However, there were a great group of spirited Cal fans that certainly made their presence known.

L1xm65e_mediumAfter trading tunes with Washington State University Cougar Marching Band, our quarterfinal game had finally begun.

Trgqcgr_mediumU77xg2p_mediumXfpjcpg_mediumAfter a hard-fought first half and trailing by just one point, we enjoyed a performance by a sensational jump rope troupe.

Wb9sewt_mediumBefore we knew it, the second half was underway. At the 8-minute timeout, our very own Joseph Hartman was featured on the “Dance Cam” for his dynamic routine to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.”

Mynucti_mediumThough the second half was rough for our team and fans, we remained steadfast in support of our team. In the end, a last-minute surge was not enough as the Golden Bears fell 91-83.

Kg10szn_mediumIe82ov6_mediumRgt7ypw_mediumWhile still disappointed by the loss, we were still able to spend time with members of other Pac-12 bands, including Colorado and Washington State. It was great being able to share stories with our fellow musicians and we look forward for more of those opportunities this week in Las Vegas.

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Though we wish we could have stayed in Seattle longer and celebrated a conference tournament title, we left late Saturday morning and were even able to catch the end of Cal Men’s Basketball’s thrilling victory over Colorado!

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Thank you to Southwest Airlines, Renaissance Seattle Hotel, the Pac-12 Conference, and the City of Seattle for their hospitality this past weekend. We look forward to returning to Seattle soon!

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Stay tuned for pictures from the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas and other basketball tournaments.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the Cal Band’s trip to Seattle. If you would like to support the Band, please check out more information on our new donor matching challenge on our website’s donation page. Thank you and Go Bears!

  6 months ago

Whenever we’re not performing at football games, Cal Band switches into our Straw Hat Band gear, complete with our Oski ties, pin-covered vests, and our signature Straw Hats.The Straw Hat band can be seen around campus playing for different organizations and clubs, or even in downtown San Francisco for the fanciest galas!
Interested in having the Cal Band perform at your next event? Find out more here.

Whenever we’re not performing at football games, Cal Band switches into our Straw Hat Band gear, complete with our Oski ties, pin-covered vests, and our signature Straw Hats.
The Straw Hat band can be seen around campus playing for different organizations and clubs, or even in downtown San Francisco for the fanciest galas!

Interested in having the Cal Band perform at your next event? Find out more here.

  1 year ago

Meet Janet Hsiao! She’s a fourth year bearitone, majoring in Environmental Sciences and minoring in music. Reflecting on the good people and supportive network that band has provided, she has an excited outlook for the future.

Read More

  1 year ago

This week’s SHB Hat of the Week belongs to Ross Greer!He decorated his hat with playbills of classic musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “The Producers,” and “Mamma Mia!”

This week’s SHB Hat of the Week belongs to Ross Greer!

He decorated his hat with playbills of classic musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “The Producers,” and “Mamma Mia!”

  1 year ago