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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!

  1 month 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!

  1 month 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.

  11 months 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

  11 months 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!”

  11 months ago

The song “Everybody’s Everything” features the Bone section as they perform “head-choppers” with their trombone slides! This stunt requires a lot of practice and coordination, all while still playing their instruments!

The song “Everybody’s Everything” features the Bone section as they perform “head-choppers” with their trombone slides! This stunt requires a lot of practice and coordination, all while still playing their instruments!

  11 months ago

Meet John Gunnison! He’s a fourth year Engineering Physics major and EECS minor. As graduation rapidly approaches, John looks back on his awesome Berkeley experience.

"Hello everyone! My name is John Gunnison and I’m a fourth year from Anaheim, California studying Engineering Physics and minoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Besides playing tenor drums (the big quad drums) in Cal Band for the last 4 years I’ve had the privilege to get involved with some pretty neat groups here at Berkeley.
I’m a pretty internationally minded person who fell in love with traveling and meeting people from different cultures after studying abroad at the University of Hong Kong in the spring of 2012. Since my return I’ve gotten involved with Berkeley’s international office helping new full time international students and temporary exchange student acclimate to Berkeley and the culture of United States. I’ve been a part of the international buddies program which paired me up with an exchange student from the Netherlands last semester and this coming fall I’ll be a part of a new program working as an international peer mentor for new international freshmen students. I’ll get paired up with a group of international freshmen and be invested in helping them navigate a brand new place and culture. So far I’ve loved getting to meet people from different cultures and I’m made some awesome friendships with some exchange students who I hope I’ll be able to visit some day in their home countries. I’m super excited for the upcoming semester and getting to know and mentor new international students who I hope will benefit a lot from having an experienced Berkeley student helping them out.
I’m also actively involved in research here on campus working with a civil systems engineering research group that does research work in transportation and social science. Since my 2nd year I’ve been working in the group programming android smart phones to collect data for various experiments the groups runs. One of our coolest projects I’ve worked on was tracking users with smart phones and figuring out what their mode of transportation was. I know it sounds kind of creepy to have someone know where you are at all times and even how you get around but it was a really interesting and challenging project to figure out if someone was riding a bike, driving, taking a bus, etc. just from the data that we can collect using the sensors on a person’s phone. As an example, think about the differences between driving a car and taking a bus and how you could figure which was which just from information collected from someone’s smart phone. Having the opportunity to work with that group for the past three years has been an awesome experience that’s been invaluable in my technical education and will give me a lot of opportunities going forward. In fact, because of the skills I’ve learned working with that group I’ll be working this summer as a software engineer intern at Amazon, Inc. working on software that runs on the kindle fire tablet.
I’ll be returning to Berkeley in the fall to finish my last semester but won’t be returning to the marching band. I’ve had a great time in Cal Band during the past four years but I think I’m going to need some time next semester to figure out what I’m doing with the rest of my life after graduation. I’ve loved my Berkeley experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. As always, Cal Band Great and Go Bears!” ~ John Gunnison

Meet John Gunnison! He’s a fourth year Engineering Physics major and EECS minor. As graduation rapidly approaches, John looks back on his awesome Berkeley experience.

"Hello everyone! My name is John Gunnison and I’m a fourth year from Anaheim, California studying Engineering Physics and minoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Besides playing tenor drums (the big quad drums) in Cal Band for the last 4 years I’ve had the privilege to get involved with some pretty neat groups here at Berkeley.

I’m a pretty internationally minded person who fell in love with traveling and meeting people from different cultures after studying abroad at the University of Hong Kong in the spring of 2012. Since my return I’ve gotten involved with Berkeley’s international office helping new full time international students and temporary exchange student acclimate to Berkeley and the culture of United States. I’ve been a part of the international buddies program which paired me up with an exchange student from the Netherlands last semester and this coming fall I’ll be a part of a new program working as an international peer mentor for new international freshmen students. I’ll get paired up with a group of international freshmen and be invested in helping them navigate a brand new place and culture. So far I’ve loved getting to meet people from different cultures and I’m made some awesome friendships with some exchange students who I hope I’ll be able to visit some day in their home countries. I’m super excited for the upcoming semester and getting to know and mentor new international students who I hope will benefit a lot from having an experienced Berkeley student helping them out.

I’m also actively involved in research here on campus working with a civil systems engineering research group that does research work in transportation and social science. Since my 2nd year I’ve been working in the group programming android smart phones to collect data for various experiments the groups runs. One of our coolest projects I’ve worked on was tracking users with smart phones and figuring out what their mode of transportation was. I know it sounds kind of creepy to have someone know where you are at all times and even how you get around but it was a really interesting and challenging project to figure out if someone was riding a bike, driving, taking a bus, etc. just from the data that we can collect using the sensors on a person’s phone. As an example, think about the differences between driving a car and taking a bus and how you could figure which was which just from information collected from someone’s smart phone. Having the opportunity to work with that group for the past three years has been an awesome experience that’s been invaluable in my technical education and will give me a lot of opportunities going forward. In fact, because of the skills I’ve learned working with that group I’ll be working this summer as a software engineer intern at Amazon, Inc. working on software that runs on the kindle fire tablet.

I’ll be returning to Berkeley in the fall to finish my last semester but won’t be returning to the marching band. I’ve had a great time in Cal Band during the past four years but I think I’m going to need some time next semester to figure out what I’m doing with the rest of my life after graduation. I’ve loved my Berkeley experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. As always, Cal Band Great and Go Bears!” ~ John Gunnison

  11 months ago

This week’s SHB Hat of the Week belongs to Alan Bach!He stylized his hat with “Male Picc Pride,” added a yellow Bruce neopet on top, and a Caterpie Pokemon card on the back!

This week’s SHB Hat of the Week belongs to Alan Bach!

He stylized his hat with “Male Picc Pride,” added a yellow Bruce neopet on top, and a Caterpie Pokemon card on the back!

  11 months ago



Before each Sproul Steps Concert, bandsmen run up the stairs from Lower Sproul to take their positions on Mario Savio Steps.

Before each Sproul Steps Concert, bandsmen run up the stairs from Lower Sproul to take their positions on Mario Savio Steps.

  11 months ago

Meet Derek Fitzgerald! He’s a third-year Civil and Environmental Engineering major, and has been the Executive Director of LASA this past year!"Hey y’all! My name is Derek Fitzgerald and I am a third year from Corpus Christi, Texas, and I am studying Civil/Environmental Engineering. In addition to playing Phonez in Cal Band, I spend a lot (and by a lot, I mean basically all) of my free time serving as the Executive Director for the Leadership Award Scholars Association. During the month of April, our organization joins the rest of campus in welcoming a whole batch of new students through our Overnight Stay Program. The Overnight Stay Program (OSP) invites admitted high school seniors to the Berkeley campus for a 24 hour program to experience what life is like as a student here at Cal! We run three programs throughout the month of April, and see 750 students and parents come through our doors during those sessions. The students and parents who attend the program hear from student, parent and alumni panels, enjoy a “taste of Berkeley,” the campus dining commons, as well as the famous Top Dog for meals throughout the program, have fun with an Acappella group at our evening dessert reception, and take a hike up to the Big C for that spectacular view we all know and love. By the end of the program, most students leave with a new friend (or more commonly, 20 new friends), a desire to submit their intent to register, and a new love for Cal.The program is completely student run, and we as a staff really pride ourselves in that. Planning begins during the Fall semester, and most of the details are hammered out throughout the Spring semester. We have a board of 11 amazing directors, some 20 odd coordinators and an amazing group of volunteers that put in hundreds of hours to make this program possible. Parent and student participants are impressed at the professionalism of the program, and though that is quite important to our group, it isn’t our main focus. We are there to show these students what Cal is like, show them that we have a good time, and in the end, help them make an informed decision about whether or not Berkeley is the right place for them! It’s amazing to watch these students fall in love with Cal in just 24 hours. I have to say, it’s pretty crazy (and awesome) that in that short amount of time, we change the lives of these people who attend. Making those college decisions is no easy feat, and our ultimate goal is to help make that decision a little bit easier. Watching the program come to life, working with an incredible group of friends, and watching students and parents leave a little bit less worried, and a lot more excited leaves us all feeling a little happier. I could not be more grateful or humbled to have worked with such a dedicated, loving and supporting team. And at the end of the day, I feel inspired myself, and reminded of the reasons I fell in love with this University.Though the programs have come to a close for the month, the excitement still lingers, many of the participants are gearing up to join the bear family in the fall, and we are already looking forward to another three great programs in 2014.Stay happy, and as always, Go Bears!” ~ Derek Fitzgerald

Meet Derek Fitzgerald! He’s a third-year Civil and Environmental Engineering major, and has been the Executive Director of LASA this past year!

"Hey y’all! My name is Derek Fitzgerald and I am a third year from Corpus Christi, Texas, and I am studying Civil/Environmental Engineering. In addition to playing Phonez in Cal Band, I spend a lot (and by a lot, I mean basically all) of my free time serving as the Executive Director for the Leadership Award Scholars Association. During the month of April, our organization joins the rest of campus in welcoming a whole batch of new students through our Overnight Stay Program. The Overnight Stay Program (OSP) invites admitted high school seniors to the Berkeley campus for a 24 hour program to experience what life is like as a student here at Cal! We run three programs throughout the month of April, and see 750 students and parents come through our doors during those sessions. The students and parents who attend the program hear from student, parent and alumni panels, enjoy a “taste of Berkeley,” the campus dining commons, as well as the famous Top Dog for meals throughout the program, have fun with an Acappella group at our evening dessert reception, and take a hike up to the Big C for that spectacular view we all know and love. By the end of the program, most students leave with a new friend (or more commonly, 20 new friends), a desire to submit their intent to register, and a new love for Cal.
The program is completely student run, and we as a staff really pride ourselves in that. Planning begins during the Fall semester, and most of the details are hammered out throughout the Spring semester. We have a board of 11 amazing directors, some 20 odd coordinators and an amazing group of volunteers that put in hundreds of hours to make this program possible. Parent and student participants are impressed at the professionalism of the program, and though that is quite important to our group, it isn’t our main focus. We are there to show these students what Cal is like, show them that we have a good time, and in the end, help them make an informed decision about whether or not Berkeley is the right place for them! It’s amazing to watch these students fall in love with Cal in just 24 hours. I have to say, it’s pretty crazy (and awesome) that in that short amount of time, we change the lives of these people who attend. Making those college decisions is no easy feat, and our ultimate goal is to help make that decision a little bit easier. Watching the program come to life, working with an incredible group of friends, and watching students and parents leave a little bit less worried, and a lot more excited leaves us all feeling a little happier. I could not be more grateful or humbled to have worked with such a dedicated, loving and supporting team. And at the end of the day, I feel inspired myself, and reminded of the reasons I fell in love with this University.
Though the programs have come to a close for the month, the excitement still lingers, many of the participants are gearing up to join the bear family in the fall, and we are already looking forward to another three great programs in 2014.
Stay happy, and as always, Go Bears!” ~ Derek Fitzgerald

  11 months ago