A Student-Run Band

The Cal Band is one of few remaining student-run marching bands in the country. Our members run rehearsals, choose the songs we play, create the field shows we march, coordinate the trips we take, and advertise our organization throughout the community. We have one paid university staff director who serves on our Executive Committee. The rest of this committee’s members are bandsmen elected by their peers. Similarly, the members of the five committees (PR, Musical Activities, Administrative, Marching, and Internal Relations) are all comprised of selected bandsmen who excel in their respective fields.

The Cal Band performs the 2017 Lady Gaga Show for Big Game at Stanford. The visuals for this show were student-made and student-taught, and the video on our student-run social media has almost 100,000 views!

This creates a unique opportunity for our members to familiarize themselves with the workings of the University and to gain valuable work experience and resume material, like organizing away trips, recruiting for the band, or designing graphics for our website. Unlike many other college marching bands in which staff dictates band policy and performances, the Cal Band decides policy and performance schedules through committee vote and full band opinion, thus allowing Bandsmen to become involved in shaping the way the Band is run.

Our 2020 Executive Committee

Shannon Kai, Senior Manager
Our Senior Manager is responsible for all logistical and financial aspects of the Band, and is also our official link to the University. She is the person in charge of running the behind-the-scenes work within the Band

Christopher Harrod, Public Relations Director
The PRD coordinates and supervises all aspects of the Band as seen from outside. The public relations area of the Band allows members to develop their skills in photography, publicity, recruiting, design, publications, and fundraising by spreading the name of the Band both in and outside of the Cal community.

Mary Mijares, Drum Major
The Drum Major and her Stunt Committee are responsible for charting full Band performances including Pregame, Halftime, and Postgame field performances. Along with the Director, the Drum Major coordinates, plans, and runs all marching rehearsals. This area of leadership is concerned with maintaining and improving the marching excellence of the Band.

Dorothy Bechler, Student Director
The Student Director leads the Band in more ways than one. Along with her Musical Activities Committee (MAC) and the Director, she helps ensure musical quality and integrity during performances. Her duties include working with arrangers and copyists to secure music and with the Director, MAC, and Director’s Assistants (DAs) to ensure superior performance of the music, and handling our performance schedule and requests.

Ashley Gerrity, Executive Secretary
The Executive Secretary is in charge of internal communications, attendance, the annual apparel order, and other projects aimed toward improving the overall experience of being in the Band. Her goal is to ensure that information from the Executive Committee is being relayed to the Band’s membership and vice-versa, via minutes, calendars, and e-mails.

Matthew Sadowski, Director
The Director’s specific concern is the Band’s musical quality. Music rehearsals are planned and conducted by the Director in coordination with the Student Director, Musical Activities Committee, and Director’s Assistants. For more information about Mr. Sadowski, click here.

Involvement from the Start

Being a new student on a new campus can be a daunting experience. Since most new students were active participants in student organizations in high school, going to a new place and trying to find the same level of involvement can be overwhelming. One of the goals of senior officers is to make newer members feel comfortable from the start.

As a uniquely student-run organization, all members of the Band (including new members) hold power in the policies and functions of the Band. Student officers actively seek input and points of view from their peers. As Bandsmen continue their membership, their opportunities for involvement with the Band grow. Leadership positions may begin as soon as the spring semester, just enough time to allow our new members to get comfortable with the Band. After the fall marching season the Band actively encourages new members to pursue leadership positions in the Band. Spring is the time for training new members in the functions that second-year members traditionally hold such as musical section leaders, known as Director’s Assistants or “DAs,” and marching instructors, known as Teaching Assistants or “TAs”.