The Pride of California
Our largest mobile recording effort so far, the new Cal Band album was released in spring 2012.
Racking more than half of the studio into mobile cases, and wrangling 32 microphones from our own mic case and those of a few friends, this project was an exciting challenge and a thoroughly Cal-spirited endeavor.
I approached Bob Calonico, Director of the University of California Marching Band, in the Fall of 2009 with the idea that it might be time for a fresh Cal Band CD to capture the energy of current students and their favorites arrangements from the past few years. I played trombone in the band from 1998 to 2003, so I felt this would be a great way to give back to the organization that had given me so much during my undergrad years. Bob agreed, and the following Spring we recorded the most popular Cal fight songs plus dozens of pop songs from the band's field shows.
With roughly 100 of the band's 215 members at each session, the neutral and controlled acoustics of the band's rehearsal hall on campus made for an ideal location. Interns from the UC Jazz Ensembles helped schlep equipment and learned how to set up microphones over the course of the three sessions, and it felt great to involve the students in the process in that way. Bob picked the best 23 songs and medleys for me to mix, and I feel like the final disc really captures the spirit of the band, the Pride of California.
Cal Band Great!
The University of California Marching Band is one of the oldest college marching bands on the West Coast with over 100 years of tradition. Over the years, members of the Cal Band have attended over 150 consecutive Cal football games, with the full band at every home game and the Straw Hat Band travelling to games as far as Wisconsin and Hawaii. The current Cal Band, under the baton of Robert Calonico, boasts a membership of over 200 students, and is one of the few bands in the nation and in the Pac-10 Conference that still marches the traditional and demanding high-step form.
The success of the Cal Band depends upon the loyalty, devotion, and spirit of its members, who, unlike in other bands, do not receive academic credit or financial compensation for their involvement in the Band. Once people see the camaraderie among Cal Band members and the smiles on their faces after a performance, they soon realize that the bandsmen do not work for "nothing."
The California Marching Band performs at all home football games, and at selected away games. The California Straw Hat Band is a subgroup of the marching band which performs throughout the year at various campus and community events, in addition to Cal's away football games, basketball games, volleyball, and other sporting events. The Cal Band has also been seen on "Wheel of Fortune" and has been given media exposure on numerous occasions through local radio stations, newspapers, and television stations.
This album is dedicated to Robert Orlando Briggs, Director Emeritus of the University of California Marching Band, who passed away on September 17, 2008. For those who do not know, the Cal football team wore decals with the initials "BB" on their helmets the following Saturday in his memory. Anyone who knew Bob is aware of how much that gesture would have meant to him. The Cal Band and Alumni Band paid tribute to our patriarch that day as well during the massed band half-time performance. Bob touched many lives through music, teaching, and friendship. Sadly, so many of my current students did not have the pleasure of meeting him and working with him. Every August, during our Fall Training Program, I take a moment to tell everyone about him. He may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten.