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-12 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.