The Pride of California: The University of California Marching Band

Jeff Gross

Many of you have seen myself or others encouraging you to donate to the Cal Band over the last few days, and some have wondered, "why now?" or "why me?" So I have set out to give you a little background on the band's financial situation, their current fundraising push, and some of the many reasons why any money you give to the Cal Band will be money well spent.

Why Now? Why Me?

First off, the Cal Band is primarily a student run organization, and has a budget of around $500k annually. This money must cover the director's salary, instruments, transportation, photocopying, uniform upkeep and a multitude of other expenses. This money primarily comes from private donors, but a portion comes from student fees, as recently as 10 years ago student fees covered 25% of the band's budget, but due to the campus' financial situation, that percentage had dwindled as low as 7%. The band covered the shortfall by deferring maintenance and tapping into unrestricted reserves.

After 7 years of this pattern (7 of the most popular years of Cal football in recent memory), the university started to make up this shortfall: On behalf of the University administration, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer responded to the band's request for additional financial support by allocating $90,000 per year to the band into perpetuity. This commitment of funds will make up for the reduction of registration fees that the band has dealt with for the past seven years. In addition, EXVC Breslauer has offered an additional $50,000 per year to the band for four years if we can match that figure in new donor contributions. This is an exciting opportunity for the band, and one we hope to bring to fruition. This is where you come in. I'm not a new donor, neither is Twist. we need to help the band make the $50,000 amount by the deadline for this year, is March 15th, in approximately 6 weeks. If you are a new donor, your donation will be doubled by this grant.

Why Give to the Band?

Many of us here were fortunate enough to be in the band. The band is a musical organization, it is a spirit group, it's a leadership training academy and it is a place where you can make lifelong friendships (or meet someone you might eventually marry).

On the spirit and musical side, the band attends at least one contest of almost every cal team each year, and performs at all major events. In addition to Football and Basketball, In my time in band I played at rugby, field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, baseball, swimming, water polo and other matches. This is the side of the band with which you are probably most familiar.

What you haven't seen is the benefit to the band members that the student run organization of the band provides. Through a tiered leadership structure where almost all significant decisions are made by students in the band, students learn and perpetuate the traditions of the band, while being empowered to become leaders of their fellow students; selecting shows, running rehearsals, purchasing equipment and choosing the next generation of leaders. Those that take these leadership positions are getting much more than your average Cal education.

Additionally, the band is a fraternal group where lifelong friendships are fostered. I have literally hundreds of friends on Facebook from band, and many people I have connected with in the following years who were in band before or after I performed. We hope to uphold many things in life but we're always guided by the charges given to us when we were initiated into the Cal Band:

  • Remember who you are and what you represent
  • Serve the University with all your heart.
  • Carry the California Spirit with you at all times and impart it to others,
  • Meet and surpass the standards set by your predecessors.
  • Perform to the best of your ability at all times.

Please help the band to give this wonderful opportunity to many future students by contributing to the band.

How can I part with my money?

All donations to the Cal Band are tax-deductible as allowed by law. If you would like to make a donation to the Cal Band, you can either use an online form or send a check to the Band.
To donate online, visit the following site:

If you would like to send a check to the Band, please make the check payable to “UC Regents – Cal Band” and send it to:

Cal Band
72 Cesar Chavez Student Center MC 4280
Berkeley, CA 94720-4280

For more information, call (510) 643-2662.
For additional information regarding giving gifts to the Band or the University, please visit UC Berkeley’s University Relations web site.

some background information from this post was provided by

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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