See stories and progress from The CENTENNIAL Campaign for
Entertaining fans and keeping spirits high with a dynamic fusion of sound, movement and color.
The UCLA Bruin Marching Band moves to the beat of its own drummers – and drum majors. For nearly a century, the 270-member ensemble has entertained and delighted crowds with its award-winning choreographed routines.
The UCLA Bruin Marching Band got its start in 1921 as a military band for the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In 1935 the band became part of the Department of Music and today resides under the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
The Solid Gold Sound, as the band is also known, performs UCLA classics like “The Mighty Bruins” and “Hail to the Hills of Westwood” as well as pop songs like “Iron Man” during events such as home football games at the Rose Bowl. They are also well versed in Hollywood productions, having appeared in movies including “That Thing You Do” and “500 Days of Summer” and TV shows including “The Amazing Race.” They have performed with music legends John Philip Sousa, Beyoncé and the Rolling Stones.
Throughout the band’s history, many individuals have led or participated to great fanfare:
Bugler John V. Vaughn ‘32 became the first drum major of the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, honored in 1928. Vaughn majored in Political Science during his time with UCLA and remained involved with the university after his graduation, including serving as a U.C. Regent and president of the UCLA Alumni Association. He was deemed UCLA Alumnus of the Year in 1971.
Clarence Sawhill, Director of Bands 1952-1972, led marches on and off the field including at the helm of the marching band as well as closing ensemble band concerts with a triumphant march. Sawhill also helped secure school credits for UCLA band members.
Student and trombone player Paul Carver Tiffany, Jr. ’64, MA ’66 made time to participate in music, even alongside his rigorous graduate coursework in engineering—a testament to his love for the band.
F. Kelly James MA ‘56 joined the UCLA Department of Music in 1959. During his time as Associate Director and Co-Director of bands, James arranged the “Sons of Westwood” and “Alma Mater,” taught music, arranged choral pieces, and provided musical supervision for the Department of Theater Arts and Spring Sing.
These leaders and participants helped strike up the band, and your gift keeps it going. Your gift supports various needs including travel, scholarships, staff, instruments and uniforms to ensure the band stays in step.
Your gift helps the band play on.
John V. Vaughn became the UCLA Bruin Marching Band’s first-ever drum major, in 1928.
The Gershwin brothers gifted “Strike Up the Band for UCLA” to the university in the 1930s.
Richard Jones, Kelly James and Clarence Sawhill kept time in the 1950s.
In 1969, the band performed at the 41st Academy Awards.
Bruin Band members march in formation at the UCLA-won 1976 Rose Bowl.
Marching band members opened for rock and roll legends the Rolling Stones in 2013.
Twenty members of the band recorded music for the 2017 ABC series “Imaginary Mary.”
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