-Bumped. BN Eds.
Keep in mind I was in the band all four years I was at UCLA, and attended any and near-every event we played at, not just the marquee matchups involving our (then-making-)revenue teams. This is my response to a mailing from the UCLA Band Director Gordon Henderson requesting donations.
Dear Mr. Henderson,
I recently received a request for a donation to support the Bruin Marching Band. My experiences in the band were among my most memorable moments at UCLA, from having a blast at the lesser-attended volleyball and women's basketball games, to going crazy in the Coliseum watching Marvin Goodwin's interception to clinch the Rose Bowl berth my senior year, and even to the painfully brief trip I finally got to experience in going to the NCAA tournament that same year.
While I still to this day get chills thinking of marching into the Rose Bowl with 250+ fellow band members, strutting to the drum cadence and getting ready to blow a wall of sound with the 20th Century Fox Fanfare, I note that so many of my memories revolve around sports. Men's basketball won 20+ games each year I was there, and the football team won the first three of its eight year streak against USC.
I look at the athletic program now, and it's a joke. Our women's basketball team was placed on an opponent's court for a NCAA tournament game despite being the higher seed, and our athletic director did nothing. Our football team continues its slide into irrelevancy. Our AD was allowed to hire his third football coach...because the first two worked out so well. Even our men's basketball team is floundering, with this year likely to be the second time in three years that they will not appear in the NCAA tournament. A number of players have left due to never getting minutes, only to play impressively in other programs; some players get 30-35 minutes a game despite persistently showing little skill or effort.
I realize that the band is not connected to the athletic department, and I imagine you are just as frustrated as I am at the pitiful showings of late - you have had to suffer through many of them in person. Nonetheless, I will not donate another cent to UCLA until Dan Guerrero is dismissed. This was a very hard decision, but my hope is that Chancellor Block will finally notice the decline in athletics when there is a decline in donations, as nothing else has seemed to draw his attention. Living away from southern California, though the academic excellence of UCLA is noticed whenever I mention my degree, athletics is the public face of the school. I will copy this letter to Michael Dean, Timothy Rice, and Christopher Waterman, as well as Gene Block. Perhaps the collective voice of the four of you, added to that of myself and other alumni deciding not to donate, will be heard by the Chancellor.
UCLA class of 1994
CC: Michael Dean [chair, Department of Music]
Timothy Rice [Director, Herb Alpert School of Music]
Christopher Waterman [Dean, School of the Arts and Architecture]
Gene Block [co-destructor, UCLA Athletics]