The Unsung Heroes of the Big Game: the Cal Band

The weekend of November 20th 2021 was one of the most highly anticipated in the Bay Area. Each year, two prestigious and spirited Bay Area universities meet to celebrate a 124-year-long football rivalry: the Big Game. The celebration of the game is an all-day affair, with students and alumni alike tailgating, traveling and greeting friends in anticipation. The stands this year were particularly full as spectators were not allowed at the previous year’s game due to COVID-19.


Spirit groups of all kinds gather to cheer on their side, from cheerleaders to dancers to Cal’s very own RallyComm. However, no matter what team we’re playing, my favorite part of the football games is halftime, when the Cal Band marches onto the field in unison.


At this year’s Big Game, the Cal Band show was “Love Song” themed; previous fan favorites have been “The Cooking Show”, “The Lady Gaga Show”, and “The Shakira Show”. Walking formations of interlocking hearts and the “uwu” text face brought cheers from the crowd as the band played favorites such as “”. Nobody could deny that the band’s performance was absolutely impeccable.


The same cannot be said about the Cardinal band, however; dressed in mismatched costumes and running around the field in chaotic formation, the Stanford band was no match for the Golden Bears. And neither was the football team; when the final buzzer sounded and the blue-and-gold-clad crowd erupted into cheers, the Cal band wasted no time in joining in on the celebration. From the “Fight for California” anthem to “Take on Me,” the band was ready to match the celebratory ambiance of the moment. Although they hardly receive the recognition they deserve, the Cal Band serves an irreplaceable role in Berkeley’s spirit culture, and are central to the heart and soul of the university.