April 25, 2012By: Gabe Fierro
Did you ever wonder where band members go to do their homework or hang out during a normal weekday? Probably not until I asked that question!
We call it the lounge.
It’s a small room, just enough space for a couple couches and a table. It’s snug and it’s ours. Every day, band members come in and out of it, sitting, eating, sleeping, studying and just hanging out.
And up until a week ago, it was probably one of the most nauseating places on campus.
The band moved into the basement of the Golden Bear Café in 1960, and it looks like no one has cleaned it since. Of course, I exaggerate, but I don’t overstate when I say that it hasn’t received a serious deep cleaning, painting and refurbishment in the lastfifteen years or so.
The room was literally festering. Every day, if felt like a new creature, cockroach, mouse, or beast too fast to identify, was making its home in our space. And our furniture! The couches looked like a bear had been in there (granted, lots of Bears have been in there – after all, we do go to Cal). It wasn’t pretty. The fabric was torn to shreds and it smelled like mold and perspiration.
This semester, the band took it upon itself to clean the lounge up. People came out of the woodworks to offer suggestions on how to improve the lounge and offer time to actually make those improvements. In one week, we were able to move all of the musty furniture out of the room, give it a few deep cleans, paint, and move new furniture back in. Dozens of band members helped out for hours at a time to make this happen and the change has been remarkable.We just reopened the lounge this last Monday, and it’s cleaner than it’s been in fifteen years. We can still fit just a few couches and a table. People are practically sitting on top of each other during a busy hour. It’s a snug space. It’s ours. And now, it’s clean.
Thank you to all the people who helped out and all the donors who gave furniture to make this change possible! The lounge is put to good use.
April 16, 2012By: Gabe Fierro
Cal Day is coming up on April 21st and as always, we have a great line-up of performances that will bring the Spirit of California to this event! Our performances will feature Cal Fight songs, new music from our student arrangers, the hits from this year’s halftime shows, and, of course, the classic Cal Band favorites! There will be six chances to watch the University of California Straw Hat Band perform from the morning to the afternoon:
1. The Chancellor’s New Student Welcome Ceremony, Haas Pavilion, 8:30am
2. Undergraduate Admissions Event, Pauley Ballroom, 9:45am
3. Spring Football, Edwards Stadium, 10:00am
4. Sather Gate Concert, 10:30am
5. Noon Rally, Sproul Steps, 12:00pm
6. Oskiland, Memorial Glade, 1:00pm
We are excited to showcase the talent and sprit of the Cal Band and we hope to see you in the crowd singing (and hopefully dancing) along!
August 11, 2011By: PR Comm
This summer I got to live and work at Camp Three Falls, a Boy Scout camp in Frazier Park run by the Ventura County Council. I had previously worked at a different Boy Scout camp (Camp Whitsett), but decided to try a new camp this summer after I was offered the Scoutcraft Director position. Summer school finals caused me to miss Staff Week, so when I showed up I knew nobody and had no idea what was in store for me. The first two weeks consisted of 3 separate sessions for Webelos- Cub Scouts in their last 2 years as Cubs and moving on to Boy Scouts. Each Pack stayed for 3 days and attended classes in the different areas of camp.
Scoutcraft (or “Mancraft”) is the area in camp where basic and essential scouting skills are taught. My staff and I were responsible for teaching three classes during which the Cubs would earn activity pins and awards for completing requirements. “Leave No Trace” taught the Webelos the basic Leave No Trace frontcountry guidelines and ways they could implement the guidelines on their future outings. In “Outdoorsman” class they hiked, worked on conservation projects, learned about fire safety, how to (safely) build, light, and extinguish a fire. and how to pitch a tent using 3 essential knots: two half-hitches, taut-line, and a square knot. Our most popular class was the “Whittling Chip” where the Cubs earned their Whittling Chip cards, allowing them to purchase, carry, and use pocketknives. They were taught knife safety and given bars of soap to carve to demonstrate that they knew the safety guidelines.
After 2 weeks of Webelos, we were ready to welcome 2 week-long sessions of Boy Scouts. Scouts signed up for the classes they wished to take and attended their merit badge classes every day for 1-2 hours, just like being back in school. Scoutcraft was responsible for the Camping, Pioneering, and Fire Safety merit badges along with the Pathfinder Program in which youngest Boy Scouts learned basic skills that helped them advance through ranks more quickly. While more challenging, teaching merit badge classes is rewarding in that you are helping Scouts earn badges towards their Eagle Scout rank.
Staff at Camp Three Falls is divided into areas and those areas consist of Directors, Instructors, and CITs. We had about 35 staff members, 5 of which were female, ranging from 13 to 50+ years of age and all were equally incredible. Living and working with a group 24/7 made for strong friendships, prank wars, and crazy antics. Somewhere between the fabulous uniform, the staff’s constant singing, my elbow fracture, our friendship bracelets, campfire skits, listening to The Book of Mormon on repeat, and time-off adventures I fell in love with Camp Three Falls. By and far this was my favorite camp summer and I look forward to returning next summer. If you’re looking for an amazing summer job, apply for Camp Three Falls Staff 2012. You won’t regret it.
August 3, 2011By: PR Comm
Greetings from our nation’s capital!
For the past two months, I have been living in Washington D.C., soaking up all things American and learning firsthand about how the government works. D.C. is a fascinating city; there is so much history here and so many things to see. I’m part of a program called Cal in the Capital, which provides housing in the city and helps students to secure internships. Many Cal Bandsmen have participated in this program before, and this year I’ve enjoyed spending time with the three other Cal Bandsmen that are here with me.
D.C. is a great city for exploring. My friends and I have enjoyed visiting almost all the Smithsonians (which are free!), taking night tours of the monuments, dancing at free outdoor concerts hosted by the Roots drummer, Questlove, watching movies during sunset on the National Mall, and constantly hoping for a sight of Obama by the White House. My favorite day so far has been the 4th of July. Decked out in red, white, and blue, the city was brimming with patriotic spirit as everyone gathered on the Mall for the big fireworks display. We watched the Capitol Fourth concert on the Capitol lawn and then saw the most spectacular fireworks show take place right behind the Washington Monument with some of my closest friends. It was definitely a night to remember. I’ve even had the chance to visit New York City twice, and I’ve been extremely lucky because I got to see a live taping of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and see this year’s winner of the Best Musical at the Tony Awards, The Book of Mormon.
Sightseeing is only part of the fun, though. During the day, I’ve been working on Capitol Hill for my congresswoman, Congresswoman Jackie Speier. My internship consists of some standard intern duties, like answering the phone and booking tours for constituents, but I’ve also been able to do more interesting activities, like get cosponsors for bills, attend hearings on both the House and Senate sides, and even help write a little speech for my congresswoman. One of the most exciting House intern duties is giving Capitol tours, and I’ve had such a good time learning fun facts about the Capitol Building (the Rotunda is so high that the Statue of Liberty wouldn’t even touch the top of it!) and meeting constituents. I’ve even met an array of famous faces during my time here, including Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Al Franken. It’s been fascinating working on the Hill, especially since I’ve gotten to experience the effects of the Weiner scandal, debates over Libya, and the debt ceiling crisis firsthand. I now have a much better grasp of how our government works, and I’m hoping to continue onto a career in public service one day.
D.C. has been such a fun place to live and work this summer, especially because there are so many Cal alums and therefore so much Cal spirit here! Everywhere I go, I see someone wearing blue and gold, and it makes D.C. feel a little more like home. Go Bears!
July 29, 2011By: PR Comm
Hola me llamo Mathijs y yo estoy en la Republica Dominicana!
For the past six weeks, I have been in the Dominican Republic with a team of five others. I am allowed to take part in this amazing experience through The Salvation Army’s ‘Service Corps’ program, which sends 5 missionary teams around the world to volunteer in their respective countries. I have been to many parts of the “D.R.” since arriving in June. I have eaten delicious foods, seen beautiful mountains and beaches, and made many friends. This experience has also been an adventure; driving on winding dirt roads with the car doors open, past motorists who don’t have speed limits has made me feel more like Indiana Jones than I ever want to be.
What has really amazed me about the Dominican Republic is the willingness of the locals to talk to complete strangers. Early on in the summer, I was taken aback by the friendliness of the people, compared to the coldness I have felt from some Americans. Thanks to this openness I have seen, I have been able to work with many people. We have worked with kids, painted a school/church, worked with more kids, volunteered at a summer camp and…um did I mention kids? Mainly what my team and I have been doing is leading “Joy Hours” which are times when we lead kids in songs and games and teach a story from the Bible. In my short time being here, I have worked with over 500 children who get very excited when the team comes to visit. Additionally, I have visited hospitals to comfort the sick and elderly, and I’ve gotten to deliver food to people who aren’t able to get meals on their own.
It truly is more of a blessing to serve than to be served. Though my reason for coming to the Dominican was to serve others, I often find myself feeling the most blessed. There have been moments where I have wished to be back at home, curled up in a blanket with a Wii controller tied around my wrist, but seeing a child’s face light up as we sing a song, or having conversations with strangers on the street has given me such a joy about serving in a foreign country that I can’t wait to do it again next year.
The friendships I have made in addition to the beauty of the country has made this experience life changing. I can’t wait to return to school and band with a fresh perspective on life.
Until then, Go bears.