Building the Bandlink

What does it take to make a band? After all, in order to put on a show-for football fans, kids in hospitals, or skiers in the Sierras-you need people. Lots of them. How do you get them? By recruiting. What do you tell them that could draw them into the Cal Band? The University of California Marching Band is special. Ask a thousand of its members or alumni and they’ll tell you that’s true. But why?

Aside from the answers that you might hear from any college band member-the shows, the trips, maybe even the university itself-you’ll hear about the one, special aspect of the Cal Band: the students.

As with most bands, that means friendships, camaraderie, being a part of a larger experience. But with the Cal Band that is only the beginning. At Cal, students are the larger experience, because at Cal the students plan and rehearse the shows, plan and manage the budget, recruit the members, and handle the music. Its system of student government is one of the Band’s most prized features. No other college marching band can boast of a student system that produces the level of performance that the Cal Band achieves.

Predating the uniform, music, and even the marching style of today’s Cal Band is the radical notion of student government, a fundamental principle of the Band. James Berdahl, a student director before his tenure as the Band’s Director, summed it up. “If you throw responsibility to the students, they will shoulder it.”

One of the Band’s greatest gambles-and greatest rewards- comes from its continually changing student leadership. The challenge begins anew each year: to impart a sense of history and tradition and to encourage the creativity and willingness to experiment that is so vital to the “Pacesetter of College Marching Bands.” And among the first thing the students must accomplish is recruiting enough members to form a block band of whatever size the shows require, be it 96, 120, 144, or 169.


The Newman Barbecue is one of the most important recruiting events for the Cal Band. It is named for the guest of honor: the new Band member. Since 1982, each summer prior to the Band’s Fall Training Program, the Public Relations Director and his committee invite current and potential Band members and their parents to a barbecue, usually held at Tellefsen Hall. This casual setting promotes mingling and talking between recruits and Band members.

For freshmen, the event might well be their first personal introduction to Cal. The social setting and the presence of older students are important to these newcomers, and Band members are encouraged to be especially sociable. Phone recruiters and their recruits get the opportunity to meet the faces behind the voices. Current Band members make an effort to seek out future section members.

More importantly, the recruits get to see the camaraderie and friendship among Band members as they greet and talk with one another after a summer-long separation. Recruits are encouraged to ask questions about participation in the Band, and the entire event is designed to show how valuable a student-run band can be.

The recruits see organized, responsible, and skillful student leaders at work as they experience a well-planned meal and watch section leaders mingle with parents. They learn that Band members and alumni arrange virtually all of the Band’s music. While eating, recruits will meet the Executive Committee members, who personify the Band’s student leadership.

The highlight of the afternoon is the performance that follows lunch. From familiar rock-and-roll tunes to traditional school songs, recruits hear the Band’s wide repertoire; they see how much the fun the Band has dancing to the “Time Warp” and singing “Stanford Jonah.”


high-step wall

Band members practice high step by kicking walls at FTP.

The Band’s next, crucial step is the Fall Training Program (FTP), where new members meet the old members and learn how to march the Cal Band’s way. It is one of the most important events of the Band: an introduction to the richness of the Band’s history and traditions. The essence of the Cal Band is presented: marching fundamentals are taught, Cal songs are sung in lusty chorus, friendships and camaraderie are forged, and the color red is presented as the very antithesis of Cal.

Edwards FTP 1978

FTP at Edwards Track Stadium, 1978.

As the Band’s fundamentals became more numerous and performances more sophisticated, there was a need for an orientation program at the beginning of the fall semester. This program would serve as an audition and training ground for prospective Band members and start the season off on a unified note. In 1963, the Band held the first Fall Training Program.

Originally held in Berkeley, FTP is currently held at UC Davis during the week before classes begin. It is generally three days of intensive marching training, drills and music rehearsals. The work day begins early (8:00 am warm-ups) and, after a full day of marching fundamentals, performing audition drills, and evening music rehearsals, ends late (about 9:00 pm).

hat salute

Band members learn the hat salute at FTP.

And afterwards, most return to the dorms to practice some more. Old members help the new members with fundamentals they have learned, and the hallways are filled with the sounds of new members kicking walls to perfect their high- step form while yelling “DRIVE! DRIVE! DRIVE!” Meals are punctuated by spontaneous bursts of Cal songs and new members frantically fumbling through their song books to find lyrics.

marching fundamental

Although the Band began to implement a new style in 1950, it took several years before the new style was institutionalized. The details of performing the fundamentals were passed on from year to year essentially by word of mouth; Drum Majors reinterpreted information each year.

In 1961, Drum Major Michael Flier compiled all of the marching fundamentals in the Band's repertoire into a manual, complete with photos of body and instrument placement; execution and response commands; and commentary about the air of spirit, pride, and precision that was to be exuded while executing the fundamentals. The manual was a very important step because it standardized the way in which fundamentals were to be executed and served as a reference for subsequent Drum Majors, Teaching Assistants, and band members. The information compiled by Flier has remained virtually unchanged to this day.

back pivot fundamental

The fundamentals that Band members learn at FTP are the marching heart of the Cal Band. There are about 20 basic movements, developed since 1950, consisting of various marching steps, hat salutes, bows, turns, and instrument positions. On the field, these movements are accentuated by the details of the uniform: the white of the spats, gloves, hat plumes, and vest against the dark background of the coat and trousers. Most movements have an accompanying vocal element that enhances the performance and recalls the essence of the step. The quintessential fundamental is the high step, designed to show the enthusiasm and precision of the Band.

high-step form

Band members learn proper high step form at FTP.

The fundamentals are more than just a motion; they are an attitude, a way of thinking. A fundamental performed correctly has both a physical and spiritual aspect. At FTP, the prospective members learn not just the motions but the spirit behind them.

Band members have the chance to test their mastery of these aspects during the second part of FTP. The week after FTP, the Band begins to rehearse the pregame show. New band members learn about the Poop Sheet, the road map that shows each Band member his position and marching instructions for a field show; marking music by noting marching instructions on the music; and how to move around the field following the Poop Sheet and the music. Sometimes frustrated at first, new members soon understand the habits of rehearsal.

Another important aspect of FTP is the functioning and coordination of the student structure. Months before the fall season begins, the Ex-Comm meets to determine overall goals, policies, and plans. Then each officer must work out details with his respective coordinating committee. At FTP, the Ex-Comm meets every night to discuss the day’s proceedings and the performance of Band members.

The Senior Manager and his Administrative Committee arrange for rehearsal facilities, lodging, and meals. At FTP they are also responsible for maintaining the supply of “gak,” the band’s thirst-quenching tonic of lemon juice and water. The DM and Stunt Committee must review the marching fundamentals and coordinate the Teaching Assistant (TA) squad. The TAs are responsible for teaching marching fundamentals to a squad of current and prospective Band members. The TAs evaluate individuals Band members’ performance during the audition drills, and these evaluations are the basis for deciding who will make it into the Band.

The Student Director, with his musical activities committee, and the Director plan the musical rehearsal material for FTP. They must also train the DAs who are responsible for teaching Cal songs and other music to the Band in sectional rehearsals.

With the help of the Public Relations Committee, the PRD keeps track of all the recruits and makes sure that they have taken the music audition. They also put together photos of all of the new members to help the Ex-Comm, Stunt Committee, and the TAs learn names quickly. The effort and planning involved with FTP are indicative of the Band’s attitude about performance. Individual Band members work to improve their marching skills; students in the structure plan for months to ensure a smooth program.

The Baton Societylink

Baton Society key chain

Baton Society key chain.

In 1934 the members of the Band decided that there should be some way of honoring dedicated Band members. They would not necessarily be officers or section leaders but rather members who had performed some special service beyond the call of duty to the Band or its members. The honorees received the Order of the Baton and were known collectively as the Baton Society.

Baton Society card

Baton Society membership card.

Baton Society card

Members of the Baton Society, 1954.

Baton Society members continued their service to the Band by sponsoring social events like banquets and the annual “Baton Smoker.” The smoker was held at the beginning of the fall semester as a social event to renew old acquaintances and make friends with the new Band members. Everyone dressed up in coats and ties, drank beer, and smoked cigars. In the late 1940s, football coach Pappy Waldorf attended these smokers and Baton Society members discussed the upcoming football season with him. The Baton Society used its limited budget to buy small things for the Band, such as the ping pong balls for Room 5. The Baton Society also sponsored the football pool in Room 5 on game days. On the more serious side, the Baton Society purchased a trophy to award each year to the Band member with the highest grade point average. This “Baton Cup” is still awarded each year.

The Baton Society also was a forum in which members discussed the Band, its goals, and its objectives. In the 1930s and 1940s, these discussions were usually closed to all but society members, but during the 1950s the meetings were held openly when some Band members complained about the secrecy. In the 1960s, as Band members became occupied with planning the performance tours, the Baton Society lost momentum and faded into Cal Band history.

Silent Walklink

Sather Gate

Since the fall of 1959, Silent Walk has been the formal initiation of new members into the Cal Band. It was designed to highlight the traditions and rich lore of the Band and the University. It emphasizes the key role of the Band in service to the campus community and the continuity of that association: “Once a Band member, always a Band member.” Patterned partially on the Senior Pilgrimage, an event originally begun in 1898 as part of Senior Week, Silent Walk takes place on the evening of the first home football game, a time when excitement and camaraderie are high. One week earlier, each new Band member receives a written invitation to participate. New members and Band officers assemble at Strawberry Creek bridge and are addressed briefly by the Public Relations Director. The Walk then formally commences at Sather Gate, where new members are addressed by a speaker welcoming them to the campus. Generations of Band members fondly remember the style and reverence of Garff Wilson at Sather Gate. The initiates then proceed solemnly to Campanile Way and up to the Campanile while listening to the strains of Cal songs played on the carillon. There, a speaker talks about California Spirit.

Continuing its campus walk, the group moves to Room 5 Moses Hall (old Eshleman Hall, the longtime former home of the Band), passing through its court in which for years the block Band formed up each morning of a home football game. A speaker there describes the relevance of this location. Then it is up to the Greek Theater, where once Bill Ellsworth and now his successors describe more about the history of the Band and the University, and the importance of the Band’s role in instilling the California Spirit.

The final stop is Memorial Stadium. By this time it is usually dusk, and the only illumination is provided by the scoreboard lights bearing the final score of the day’s game if a California victory. The group enters through North Tunnel and passes through two columns of older Band members en route to the Andy Smith bench. There, the initiates are addressed by the Director, the Cal Band Alumni Association President, and the Senior Manager. Membership is conferred by a pin and membership card, the pins given and attached by one or two older members of the initiate’s instrument section.

Select Moments From the Silent Walk:link

“As Band members, you may look forward to experiencing a great deal together. You will share major accomplishments, good times, good friends, and some of the proudest moments of you life. Tonight, however, you will take part in a much more personal experience. Tonight, you will be introduced, as an individual, to the very soul of the Band and the mighty university it represents. California’s very heart will be unraveled for you by some of its finest spokesmen.”

“Once you have entered into the life of the University, you will discover two attributes which make your Alma Mater unique. One is her all-embracing nature. She takes to her heart, with equal favor, those of every race color and creed. She welcomes and teaches people of every belief and every point of view. And thus she helps to unit them in spite of their differences. The other unique attribute of the University is her enduring nature.”

“As members of the Cal Band, you have a unique opportunity to serve the University in ways few can. You literally personify the California Spirit to thousands who see you perform on football fields, gymnasia, street corners, and anywhere the lively strains of ‘Fight for California’ proclaim the presence of the Golden Bear.”

“I encourage you now as a new Cal Band Member to strive towards the mark of excellence set by Cal Band members before you. Work hard, march well, and enjoy yourself and you will find that your years in the Cal Band will be the best in your life.”

“Tonight you have received several charges and challenges:
First, to remember who you are and what you represent.
Second, to serve the University with all your heart.
Third, to impart the California Spirit to others.
Fourth, to meet and surpass the standards set by your predecessors.
Fifth, to carry the Cal Band Spirit with you always, and
Sixth, to perform to the best of your ability at all times.”

“I now entreat you to accept these charges and live up to these challenges.”

The entire Band then proceeds to Tellefsen Hall for a Silent Walk party. There, videos of that day’s pregame and half time shows are viewed by all. The event ends with a special cake for the occasion and the joining of arms to sing “All Hail.” Thus Silent Walk, a milestone and a truly spiritual experience, is concluded.

Tellefsen Halllink

The predecessor of Tellefsen Hall, in many ways, was Mrs. Roth’s Boarding House. By the late 1950s, many members thought it would be great to have a house for Band members, but they knew it would take considerable planning to bring it into existence. In the meantime, Band officers promoted living in Mrs. Roth’s Boarding House. It was a kind of gathering place, and many bridge games were played there. The house was on Haste, east of Telegraph. It was demolished some time in 1968, and the site is now part of People’s Park.

Old TH

The original Tellefsen Hall.

The establishment of Tellefsen Hall was a tremendous undertaking filled with frustrations prior to its eventual success. In the late 1950s, the Band was losing membership to the fraternity system, which offered housing in addition to social activities. Many Band members also found it difficult to be in the Band due to schedule conflicts with various campus living groups.

The dream of establishing a house for the Band started with a few Band members living at Mrs. Roth’s boarding house, which led to the idea of getting a house for all Band members. The Band decided that the new residence needed to be close to campus and have excellent eating, sleeping, studying, and social facilities, all at a cost lower than other living groups. Finding such a place with a limited budget in crowded Berkeley was difficult.

Finally a faculty member provided a suitable building at 2421 Prospect Avenue on a fifteen-year lease/purchase contract. After adding significant renovations to the structure, the new residence was opened to thirty Band members in 1960. Everyone agreed that it should be named for Chris Tellefsen, one of the people who helped found the modern Cal Band. Tellefsen Hall, or “TH” as it is commonly known, at last became a reality.

Although the dream of a residence for the Band was realized by the founding of TH, by the late 1960s the small size of the old house moved Band members to search for a new facility. They needed a house that was bigger and more comfortable, quietly located, closer to campus, and reasonably priced.

During the early 1970s, college fraternities throughout the nation experienced a significant decline in membership, and through a tremendous bit of luck and effort, the Band was to benefit. Lambda Chi Alpha, owner of a large house at 1755 LeRoy Avenue at LeConte Avenue, suffered from financial and membership problems in 1973.

Tellefsen Hall offered Lambda Chi Alpha $50,000 plus the house on Prospect Avenue for their residence . The fraternity accepted the offer on September 4, 1973, and work began immediately to prepare the new hall for occupancy in time for the fall quarter.

The new house had been built in 1899 by the prominent banker V. D. Moody. Architect A.C. Schweinfurth, who designed the Hearst mansion in Pleasanton, chose an Old Flemish design for the house, and added a brick bridge over the rippling waters of the North Fork of Strawberry Creek.

New TH

The new Tellefsen Hall.

Once called “the premier house” of Berkeley by Sunset Magazine, the residence adorned postcards in the early 1900s and was one of the few houses north of campus to survive the devastating 1923 Berkeley fire. TH’s original name, “Weltevreden,” still appears above the front entrance. The addition of the top two stories to the building in 1956 increased the living capacity of the house to forty-four people.

The original “Weltevreden” had one more special characteristic: as the of Lamda Chi Alpha house, it had been the college home of the Band’s beloved “fossil,” William Ellsworth, and many of the Greek letter plaques on the front walkway had been placed there by him. When he learned of the new location of TH just before his death, Ellsworth shared many pleasant memories of his college days as a Lambda Chi Alpha. Because of Ellsworth’s association with TH, the library on the first floor proudly bears his name.

TH living room

House residents study and relax in the living room at TH.

The men of TH enjoy one of the best living situations in Berkeley. It is an easy walk to anywhere on campus from TH, as it is only two blocks north of Hearst Avenue. The large patio, barbecue pit, deck, dance floor, and basement make the house perfect for social functions. The usual noise problems of student housing are unknown at the peaceful Northside location, making TH a good place to study. The house has enforced nightly study hours since the very beginning in 1960.

The living group provides the tradition of a fraternity, but no “hazing” or “pledging” has ever been permitted. The meals are usually far superior to those of the dorms and other living groups. Residents of the late ’70s and early ’80s have fond memories of Myrtle Davis, who was considered not only the best cook on campus but the de facto “house mother” as well.

TH is operated by the nonprofit Tellefsen Hall Association, whose Board of Directors oversees major financial matters. They appoint a student manager, who runs the day-to-day affairs of the house for one year. Band members who live at TH elect a President and House Council to coordinate house activities, particularly social functions.

The men of TH enjoy a full social calendar, including formals, exchanges with sororities, and parties for the Band. Most Saturday nights after home football games, the entire Band is invited to TH for a postgame party. The Cal alumni who own the Blue and Gold Fleet in San Francisco often provide a boat for the TH Spring Formal in exchange for a Straw Hat Band performance.

Tellefsen Hall remains a vital part of the Cal Band. The hours of energy and devotion that members give the Band is made more possible by a living group that has the same schedule as the Band. In housing-starved Berkeley, TH is also a very valuable recruiting tool for the Band. Tellefsen Hall provides just the right environment for mixing Band, study, and social activities, exactly as the Band members from the 1950s predicted it would.

Freshman/Senior Barbecuelink

The Freshman/Senior Barbecue takes place the Sunday after the Big Game. All first-year members are invited, as are all fourth-year members and any graduating seniors. The event usually is held at the home of a Band member or a parent. Nearly everyone eligible comes, and the house has to be large enough for about 75 people to eat together, watch videos of seasons past, and share stories.

Before 1976, when the Band began using video tape, the big surprise at the barbecue was the Big Game film. Normally after a game, the 16-mm color film wasn’t available for viewing until late the following week. The Band took black- and-white film and had it developed overnight so that they could show it at the Freshman/Senior Barbecue. Freshman would gather around to see some “old” black-and-white footage, only to gradually realize that it was their own marching performance from the day before.


Randy Baxter relates a story at the Freshman / Senior Barbecue in 1985.

The tales that seniors have always told to new members have helped to reinforce the Band’s camaraderie and traditions. The Band is built on the experiences of generations of its members, so it is important to hear about these people and what they contributed to the Band. The Cal Band is influenced also by the activities of the present generation, so the personal memories of the outgoing seniors contribute to the Band’s knowledge and lore. At the Freshman/Senior Barbecue, the older members help to instill in the new members the desire to experience the Cal Band to the fullest and to make memories of their own.

The Cal Band Banquetlink

A new crop of initiates has trod the turf of Memorial Stadium, adding a piece to the history of the Band. But what guarantee is there that the history will be there a year hence? How can a system fully dependent upon students-men and women whose tenures in the Band are limited-continue that rich history?

One of the most important events in the Cal Band is the Election and Awards Banquet held annually at the end of the fall season. At this function, Band members are recognized for their service and devotion to the organization and the next year’s officers are elected. Prospective candidates for Band office offer their final hopes and perspectives for the upcoming year.

All candidates for the offices of Drum Major, Student Director, Public Relations Director, and Executive Secretary deliver speeches to their peers, and Band members vote by secret ballot for their preferred candidates. The Senior Manager presides over the elections.

Upon winning the office, each new officer receives from his predecessor a token of the specific office, a tradition that is carried from year to year. The drum major receives a new baton with the expectation that it will never touch the ground and signs the official paddle, a symbol of his responsibility to discipline. The Senior Manager receives a gavel so that he can call to order his Executive Committee meetings and signs the framed Manager’s Certificate. The Student Director gets a conductor’s baton with which to lead the group in “All Hail” at the conclusion of the banquet.

The Public Relations Director receives a desk set to use in the tasks of publicity and recruiting. The Secretary receives a clipboard to keep attendance records. All of these exchanges represent a changing of the guard in the Band’s leadership, but also serve as reminders of tradition and responsibility.

The Band’s student government today includes a wide range of committees to coordinate the various activities of the Band. These committees, which report to the Band officers, are known as coordinating committees (“Co-Comms” for short). These Co-Comms are the Administrative Committee, the Stunt Committee, the Musical Activities Committee, and the Public Relations Committee. Comprised of Band members with at least two seasons’ experience, these committees are responsible for recommending and implementing the policies of the Band. Co-Comms make many of the daily decisions necessary to run such a large band, and thereby offer the opportunity for training and experience to future Band officers.

Cal Band Awardslink

Cal Band Awards

The Cal Band awards, from left to right: Sprague, Bell, Pacesetter, Baton, and Bear.

The awards ceremony is an essential part of the Band’s banquet. All second-year Band members receive a token for the commitment they have shown over the past two years; in recent years the award has been a ceramic stein with the Cal Band logo and the year imprinted . Fourth-year Band members receive the coveted Senior Blanket, a beautiful woolen blanket with the Cal Band logo sewn and the Band member’s name embroidered onto a dark blue field with a gold frame. In addition, there are six other awards given to individuals. The Sprague Award, donated to the Band by former Band member John Sprague and first awarded in 1954, honors the most spirited first-year member. The Bear Award, also given to a first-year member, recognizes musical excellence. Superior scholarship is also a recognized achievement. In 1937, the Baton Society, the Band’s honor society, created the Baton Award, which goes to the Band member with the highest grade point average.

In 1985, the Executive Committee decided to give an award to a senior who epitomizes the essence of performance. The Pacesetter Trophy, thanks to the sponsorship of Jack Brown and the workmanship of William Corlett, honors the best performer. The oldest and most prestigious of the Band’s trophies is the Bell Award, a replica of the bell that hung in Old North Hall. Donated by the California Alumni Association, the Band presents this award to the student who has shown exceptional service, involvement and dedication to the organization-the most valuable Band member.

The Election and Awards Banquet is important as an inspirational and regenerational aspect of the Band. It is this chance to reflect on the past and look to the future that contributes to the Band’s uniqueness, vitality and spirit.

A Century of Student Governmentlink

“For students who get involved in the structure, the Band is a tremendous experience. They learn how to prepare a budget, execute a budget, and live within a budget. They plan, figure out how to get people places, solve problems, buy instruments, get uniforms cleaned. These are vitally important life experiences.”
-Margy Wilkinson, (Class of ’66) Administrative Assistant

The Band has not always needed this kind of complexity. Nevertheless, when the Cal Band first became an activity of the ASUC, it inherited a tradition of student government from the old Cadet Band that dated back to 1891.

Working in Room 5

Student officers at work in Room 5 Eshleman Hall.

The student system was formalized in a Constitution written in 1925, which defined an Executive Committee of three voting members: the Captain, the Drum Major, and the Librarian. The Captain, whose role was equivalent to today’s Student Director, was the chairman of the Executive Committee and had responsibility for the musical aspects of the Band. The Drum Major created the drills and parade formations and led the Band while marching. The Librarian was in charge of the Band’s music library, which consisted mostly of handwritten transcriptions.

In the 1930s, the Band grew significantly. The Band also acquired new facilities in Eshleman Hall and many new instruments. The Executive Committee replaced the Librarian with a Manager to take care of the Band’s logistics, finances, and property. A new position, Representative-at- Large, was new created to serve as a nonvoting representative of the Band’s membership.

After the Rose Bowl of 1950, the Band needed to survey its problems, reorganize and revamp old policies, and strike out in a new direction. A Constitutional and Organizational Advisory Committee (COAC) was established under the leadership of Band members Louis Kahn (’50), Bob Desky (’45), and Bill Colescott (’51).

Deus managrum nostrum damnet

The Senior Manager's Plaque.

The COAC drafted a new Constitution in 1954 which, by restructuring the Executive Committee, redefined and redistributed the workload. The new Executive Committee had five voting members: Senior Manager, Representative-at- Large, Drum Major, Student Director, and Director; and three nonvoting members: Secretary, Librarian (a cumbersome role in the days before copiers), and Representative-to-Music- Council. The new structure served as the framework upon which the successes of the Band during the late 1950s and early 1960s were built.

Both the Band’s progress and the phenomenal growth of the ASUC and the University led to additional changes. The 1958 Constitution distributed what was an overwhelming workload to more members. In the Senior Manager’s area, Junior Managers became Associate Managers and took on greater responsibilities, including nonvoting status on the Band’s Executive Committee. Senior members of the Band were appointed as coordinators of such areas as public relations, photography, electronics, and sound. Recruiting and attendance policies, once part of the Manager’s domain, were transferred to the Rep-at-Large while the Manager assumed all fiscal responsibility for the Band.

Because stunts on the field had become more frequent and complex, a constitutionally-supported Stunt Committee was created. According to the 1958 Constitution, “A stunt committee shall consist of seven (7) voting members; Drum Major-Chairman, Student Director, Assistant Director, and four (4) other Band members. The nonvoting members shall include the Director and Twirler(s) of the Band.” Assistant Drum Majors were put in charge of Drum Major Committees, responsible for the publication and distribution of all stunt material. Group leaders, responsible for a squad of other Band members on the field, became a permanent entity in the learning process. Marching fundamentals, communication methods, and instruction techniques were all more clearly defined to meet the demands for greater precision.

The Straw Hat Band, formerly a loose-knit group, developed into a popular organization in which the whole Band began to take part. Consequently, the Student Director’s responsibilities expanded with the creation of various committees composed of Band members to handle the increased workload.

After such rapid expansion in a single decade, the Constitution that was developed in 1954 was no longer meeting the Band’s needs in 1965. Hence, eleven years after the first COAC, the Executive Committee again appointed a joint student-alumni COAC to investigate the structure, Constitution, overall organization, and goals of the Band. The COAC, composed of some thirty members, divided into subcommittees that covered such issues as performance, organization, administration, and public relations. The subcommittees held meetings, selected chairmen, and kept minutes. The activity of these subcommittees was so overwhelming, even by current government bureaucratic standards, that the COAC coordinating committee, fondly known as “Com Comm,” was formed to oversee the subcommittees.

The COAC subcommittee meetings were closed to non-COAC members, but minutes were posted and open discussion was encouraged outside the meetings. The subcommittees wrote evaluations and recommendations which the entire COAC reviewed and then submitted to the Band Executive Committee.

The New Ex-Commlink

1983 officiers

Outgoing and incoming Cal Band officers, 1983.

Organizational chart

Organizational chart, 1985.

After the dust settled, a new Constitution emerged. So profound were the changes that the Executive Committee added the following line to the title: “Approved by unanimous vote of the membership on Feb. 23, 1966.” The new Constitution established the following Band officers: Director, Senior Manager, Drum Major, Student Director, Public Relations Director, and Secretary. That set of officers has remained unchanged in the quarter century since its creation.

Director: Responsible for the musical rehearsal of the Band, the Director conducts the performances of the Band on the field and in the concert hall. He is a voting member of the Executive Committee. He auditions prospective members and may assist in the Band’s arranging, either personally or through working with student arrangers.

Senior Manager: the only appointed senior officer, the Senior Manager is selected by the outgoing executive committee. He is responsible for the logistical aspects of the Band. He is the chairman of the Executive Committee and a voting member. In dealings outside the Band, the senior manager is the Band’s representative; as such, he is the Band’s official liaison with the University and community. Further, it is the senior manager’s job to coordinate-along with his coordinating committee, Ad Comm-the logistical and financial aspects of the Band, including rehearsal setup, facilities, purchasing, bookkeeping, inventory, uniforms, and the logistics of special projects such as travel and Fall Training Program.

Drum Major: Elected by the Band membership, the Drum Major is a voting member of the Executive Committee. The drum major coordinates the aspects of the Band directly relating to creation and execution of performances, both through the marching season and for the Spring Show. Further, he extends that duty to any special performance schedule such as tours. The Drum major-with his coordinating committee, Stunt Comm-is responsible for supervising show planning, working with the Band’s charters, teaching the shows to the Band members, including selecting and training the TA’s, the Band’s musical performance assistants.

Student Director: Elected by the Band membership, the student director is a voting member of the Executive Committee. He .is responsible for the non-marching musical performance of the Band, including the Straw Hat Band, and any musical subgroups. The student director selects and coordinates the activities of the DA’s, the Band’s musical performance assistants.

The student director is also responsible-along with his coordinating committee, MAC-for issuance and upkeep of the Band’s instruments and the distribution of music. He also focuses on the organization of the Straw Hat Band and its activities (including trips) and acts as the SHB’s representative.

Public Relations Director: Elected by the Band membership, the Public Relations Director (PRD) is a voting member of the Executive Committee and acts as Chairman of the Executive Committee if the senior manager is absent. His primary responsibilities are recruiting, publicity, and coordination of fund raising. The PRD-along with his coordinating committee, PR Comm-works on the design and distribution of Band publicity, ticket sales for all major Band performances, and relations with Band supporters. He conducts mail drives aimed at fund-raising and recruiting. The PRD also administers Band attendance policy and is responsible for production of the Band’s yearbook.

Secretary: Elected by the Band membership, the Secretary is responsible for taking minutes at the Executive Committee meetings and for keeping attendance records at rehearsals and performances. A nonvoting member of the Executive Committee, he represents concerns of the general Band membership to the committee.

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