The Marching Band’s Epic 2022-23 Season

3 min read

Welcome Bruins, followers of the Solid Gold Sound, forever Bruins, to the 2022-23 marching season. And what a season it’s been!

Band Camp kicked off the year with its usual high intensity. Getting ready for the season is never a small thing, and the band members this year knew that expectations were going to be sky high for Bruin athletics and band alike. On the final evening of camp, the entire football team showed up to thank the band members for all the hard work and support. In a show of common purpose and school spirit, they snaked through band formation to fist bump every member. They were joined by coach Chip Kelly and Athletic Director Martin Jarmond. Then the band treated the football team to a front row performance of their traditional Pregame Show. It was the first time the football team had seen it, as the players are always in the locker room when the band performs it on game day. Seeing it live was a special moment.

The football team shows up to thank the marching band.

Football season opened at the Rose Bowl versus Bowling Green. Notching a 45-17 victory, the Bruins came out the gate hot. With the temperature on the field in excess of 110 degrees, so did the band. No field show for that one—just a focus on survival and making it to the following week, when Alabama State University came to town. It was the first ever visit by an HBCU band to the Rose Bowl. UCLA rolled out the red carpet for the first-rate Mighty Marching Hornets, who offered up dazzling march in, halftime, and “fifth quarter” postgame performances.

The following week brought South Alabama to the Rose Bowl, and also UCLA’s own Mariachi Uclatlán for a unique collaboration with the marching band. It was an all-day collaboration, as both groups conducted a march-in together right through a postgame show. The Bruins stayed undefeated, but only after an exciting fourth-quarter comeback, capped by the winning field goal as time expired.

Mariachi Uclatán marches in with the Solid Gold Sound

The Bruins continued to roll, notching two more victories against ranked teams Washington and Utah. The marching band did too, celebrating the Rose Bowl’s 100th anniversary with the music of Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa, and then celebrating the UCLA 2022 Hall of Fame inductees. Among the newly inducted was beloved football assistant coach Ed Kezirian, famous for his towel-waving on the sidelines, and the band paid him a special tribute.

“Thank you and the UCLA Bruin Marching Band for ‘waving the towel’ at halftime and throughout the second half vs. Utah,” wrote Kezirian after the game. “My family and I were thrilled your program would remember and honor my induction into the hall of fame. PLEASE thank all the members of the greatest band in the land!”

Mid-season proved to be a challenge for the Bruins, who fell to their implacable foe, the Oregon Ducks. After notching victories against Stanford and Arizona State, the Bruins stumbled against Arizona. The Solid Gold Sound did their best to keep spirits up, honoring the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX during the Stanford game with a show-stopping tribute to women’s athletics: RESPECT Show, featuring the UCLA Dance Team, Cheer Squad, Color Guard, and Twirlers, with music by Beyonce, Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera, and (of course) Aretha Franklin.

The stage was set for the November 19 showdown with USC. Both football squads had their sights set on the Pac-12 championship, both were nationally ranked. Sadly, the Trojans outlasted the Bruins in a high-powered shootout. But there was no doubt about who won the battle of the bands. UCLA’s Lizzo Show topped the night.

The final week of the regular season took the marching band on the road to Berkeley. With UCLA’s impending move to the Big 10, this could very well be the last trip to an away Cal game. The band stayed strong, willing the Bruins to a second-half comeback. The team ran to the band’s section and sang the alma mater while the band played. After the players exited the field, the Solid Gold Sound went toe-to-toe with the Cal band on the field. As a final goodbye, the UCLA tubas joined the Cal tubas for their famous hi-stepping finale.

The UCLA and Cal Altos pose for a picture

The season isn’t over! The Solid Gold Sound will travel to El Paso, Texas for the Sun Bowl on December 30. UCLA will face Pitt, and the band will gear up to perform, yet again, on the national stage.