Volume XVI - Issue I - Fall 2020
I hope all of you have had the happiest of holidays, and are looking forward to a clean slate with the new year. Despite distinct and ongoing challenges that come with a virtual fall quarter, I’m excited to fill you in on what we’ve been up to throughout the quarter. We are, at the moment, preparing to take care of all Psi- and band-related business online for the foreseeable future. Everything looks a little different this year, but we’re doing our best to embrace that as it comes!
First, I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who came to our first ever Virtual Joint Alumni Reunion! We had Zoom breakout rooms to chat, heartwarming speeches, and incredible stories. It was a great opportunity to see so many of you that might usually be unable to come to Band Alumni Reunion every two years. What a great tone you all set for virtual events in the upcoming months!
We also just kicked off the school year with a rewarding and innovative virtual marching season. Due to California and LA County pandemic guidelines, we conducted band camp, all of our rehearsals, and even performances virtually. Later in this edition of the Encore, you’ll hear from a few of our members about what we worked on, and their personal experiences during an online season.
You may be wondering as well how our recruitment efforts have changed this year. I’m pleased to announce that we are still welcoming in a new class of candidates this year, the Beta Omega class! Since KKPsi Nationals has yet to issue any guidelines for Degrees, we are still awaiting dates and times for those in particular. Most likely, we will be operating under a similar timeline for the candidate process as we have in past years, and all formal Degrees will be conducted virtually. I will be sure to send out more information as soon as I have it!
Stay safe, be well, and Happy New Year to you all!
Carrie Appel, BX
Alumni Relations Officer 2020-21
We are preparing for a fully virtual candidate season, but that doesn't mean we look forward to your involvement any less! If you want to get more involved in the upcoming candidate process, here are some ways you can:
We are also on the hunt for event ideas heading into winter and spring! If you have a virtual event in mind that you'd like to see come to life, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be prepared for upcoming event announcements from me in the coming weeks.
However the holidays look for you this year, I hope you're staying safe and healthy, and making the most of it. Take care, and enjoy this edition of the Encore!
By Natalie Wang, ΒΨ
Halloween this year has been kind of like the punishment that Tantalus received when he went to the Underworld. Much like the water and delicious fruit presented to Tantalus, Halloween had the perfect conditions of having a full moon and being on a Saturday. And yet, much like how the water and delicious fruit are always out of Tantalus’s grasp, we could not enjoy any Halloween parties or trick-or-treating due to the current pandemic. Well, almost everyone...but not PsiEK! To commemorate this fantastic holiday, the Directors of Brother-Sisterhood Relations and Directors of Music from Psi and EK banded together to host a virtual Halloween party, and it was 11/10 would-do-again-but-maybe-not-because-hopefully-pandemic-will-be-done-by-next-Halloween!
The party boasted an exciting agenda, with skribbl.io, Jackbox, pumpkin carving, costumes, and — my personal favorite — music presentations! Participants were encouraged to make lip sync videos of Halloween songs or PowerPoint presentations about a spooky song. Then, they could present in the music presentations breakout room. And before you ask, no, no one did Spooky Scary Skeletons. Instead, we had bangers like “One Good Scare” from Phineas and Ferb, “This Is Halloween” the Just Dance version, “Calling All the Monsters” from ANT Farm, “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 1”, and “String Quartet No. 7” by Ben Johnston. In order to give you an idea on each performance/presentation, here are my reviews:
“One Good Scare” from Phineas and Ferb: This lip sync video opens up with a very impressive intro of Gina Talcott as Isabella with a bad case of the hiccups. Then, like a knight in shining armor, Liz Gulli as Phineas decides to help “Isabella” out and scare the hiccups out of her. Later on, other characters join the fray: Nellie KH as Buford, Ceci Porras as Baljeet, Adriana Vree as Jeremy, and their non-PsiEK roommate Dahlia as Candace. They had coordinated dance movements and flawless lip syncing. They even lip synced dialogue parts! I give this one a 100/10 for coordinated costumes, dancing, and acting.
“This Is Halloween” the Just Dance version: Emma Boone, Erica Vellanoweth, Andy Nguyen, and Naveed Zaman recreated the Just Dance version of “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. While I find The Nightmare Before Christmas to be rather controversial (is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie??) , the four of them were able to cement this dance as a Halloween special by wearing spooky costumes. Actually, I’ve just been informed that Andy was wearing a hotdog costume in the video, but my point still stands. Spooky costumes. Also, if they ever dance this song at a party, they will definitely be getting Perfects on every move. I give this one a 69/10.
“Calling All the Monsters” from ANT Farm: Imagine this. You’re in 5th grade. You hate everyone. After a long day of hating everyone, you come home, turn on the TV, and tune into your favorite Disney Channel show, ANT Farm. Then, they drop this crazy AU episode where all the geniuses are monsters, and at the end, China sings “Calling All the Monsters.” And for the first time in your life, you think “You know, maybe life is not so bad.” Presentation was by Erica Vellanoweth, and it was ∞/10.
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 1: Alright, so I cannot offer an impartial review of this presentation because it was half presented by me. In the first part, Annabel Li and I presented our lip sync version of the song. Then, in the second part, I gave a PowerPoint presentation about Don’t Hug I’m Scared. Instead of giving a score, I will use this time to urge you, please dear reader, please watch all of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared (DHMIS). DHMIS offers beautiful commentary on the effects of capitalism in the media and the oppression of artistic freedom. There are 6 videos. I promise it will change your life.
“String Quartet No. 7” by Ben Johnston: Sometimes, I wonder how Orpheus felt when he went into the Underworld to find his lover Eurydice, only to lose her by accidentally turning around. According to one version of the myth, after his failure in reuniting with Eurydice, he spent everyday playing music so sorrowful and painful that he was killed by nymphs. I imagine that he must have taken a lot of inspiration from “String Quartet No. 7” by Ben Johnston. While we are on the subject, who hurt you Mr. Johnston? Who did this to you? Adam Traut did a great job explaining to us why this song sounds the way it does. He showed us diagrams of sound waves and explained to us how each violin needs to be perfectly out of tune for the song to work. His understanding of the subject is impressive, and the song is certified bon-chilling. I give this one a 420/10.
All in all, it was a great Halloween Party! A big thanks to the officers who put on the amazing event! Now, if you excuse me, I need to go blast “Calling All the Monsters'' while eating an entire jar of Nutella.
Our first major virtual service project of the 2020-2021 school year was “Workshops with the Solid Gold Sound”. We chose to partner with Crescenta Valley High School to teach musicianship and leadership workshops and to lend ourselves as a resource for music and college related questions. Brothers and Sisters signed up to serve on a preparatory committee, to lead or moderate a workshop, or to serve on a panel. The Zoom event was kicked off with speeches from our Interim Band Director Kevin McKeown and Director of Service Gina Talcott. Students first entered musicianship breakout rooms by instrument before returning to the main room selecting a leadership workshop.
The later part of the event featured two panel opportunities featuring PsiEK members from a wide variety of instrument sections, academic disciplines, grade levels, years of band experience, etc. The Crescenta Valley students present were encouraged to ask the panels questions about their time as members of the UCLA Bruin Marching Band. Though shy at the outset of the first discussion, the students asked thoughtful and insightful questions, such as, “Why choose UCLA?” and “What are the advantages of being in the band at such a big school?” The students’ shyness melted away as they discovered that the scary college students in front of them were just band kids at heart, glad to share their stories and advice. “What impressed me is being able to interact with the college students and them being incredibly friendly to students,” wrote one CVHS band member.
The second set of panel discussions took place in major-specific breakout rooms, where smaller groups of Brothers and Sisters fielded questions specific to their experiences balancing band involvement with their chosen academic discipline. Even the “(f)un-declared” high school students with less of a clear idea of what they wanted to study were invited to shop around the various breakout rooms for what interested them most at the time. In these smaller groups, students asked more particular questions and received more in-depth answers from the panelists about their niche with one foot in the band and the other in their scholarly department. And what they found was more commonalities than differences — “The thing that impressed me was how nice and relatable everyone was,” wrote another high schooler. Sharing more particular interests, these smaller groups of students formed bonds in the recognition of that fact that, despite their differences in age and experience, they were all pursuing the same things: being the best band members, students, and leaders they could be.
Self Care Clinic with Emma Davis
I collaborated with fellow Brother and former Director of Service Gabriel Ramirez to create and lead a workshop titled “Self Care in a Global Pandemic.” In college and life, Gabriel and I are strong proponents of self care and mental health awareness. We felt as though a self care workshop would serve these young musicians well and set out researching facts and resources about self care and mental health from the professionals.
Ultimately, we broke down self care into its benefits for mind, body, and heart. We shared the Eisenhower Box method of using time effectively, not just efficiently. Our overarching goal was to offer actionable ways to incorporate self care into our attendees’ daily lives and to invite their active participation. We shared statistics about the prevalence of mental illness, the harmful effects of stigma around mental health, and ways to cope with stigma. We did an activity called “washing away the stigma” in which we wrote down something harmful we’ve been led to believe about self care or mental health on a piece of paper and dropped it into a bowl of water where the words were washed away. We shared our favorite apps and instagram accounts for journaling, meditating, and scheduling downtime from screens. We also guided the students through UCLA’s free Mental Health Care Package PDF, COVID Anxiety Workbook, and video series on related topics. We rounded out our workshop by sending all of our references and resources to the attendees and invited them to make a promise to themselves on how they will commit to caring for themselves.
As breakout rooms closed and students returned to the main room, the two main leaders of the event (Director of Service Gina Talcott and Crescenta Valley Alumnus Colin McClure) thanked the participants from CVHS for their time and enthusiasm. In turn, CVHS Band Director and Psi Chapter Alumnus Mathew Schick thanked the members of the Psi and EK Chapters for planning and hosting the event, offering his sincerest gratitude, and then invited his students to log off and enjoy the remainder of their Saturday evening. But the event did not end there. Among those UCLA students who stuck around to hang out and those CVHS students who stayed to ask questions, Mr. Schick began to tell old stories of his time in the UCLA Band. The field bleaching. The Note. The immortal antics of E-Crew. And while the Brothers and Sisters who came were there to share their wisdom with future members of UCLA’s and other colleges’ marching bands, they left knowing that much more had just happened. They experienced plenty of joy and wisdom on behalf of Mr. Schick and his students, and this kind of exchange is as special as it is rare.
By Carrie Appel, BX
Joint Alumni Reunion (JAR) -- a biannual opportunity for our fraternity and sorority alumni to reconnect and socialize -- had a bit of a makeover this year! As you may remember, this event is normally a barbecue on UCLA’s campus which coincides with the weekend of Band Alumni Reunion at the Rose Bowl. In a time where many people are feeling isolated by the ongoing pandemic, we coordinated a Zoom reunion that aimed to capture the same kind of spirit. Virtual JAR, which took place this November, would not have been possible without the help of Tau Beta Sigma’s Secretary of History/Alumni, Victoria Sanchez, and both organizations’ incredible alumni committees!
The majority of the reunion consisted of Zoom breakout rooms, with conversation starters and fun games for small group interaction. Breakout rooms were organized into familiar groups, putting people with their sections, with their Psi families, and with those that graduated in the same era as them. I personally had so much fun seeing everyone’s faces, and meeting many of you that I hadn’t interacted with yet! PsiEK alumni of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences gave touching speeches throughout the event as well. You shared powerful stories of your time in band, and led us by the hand down memory lane. It was an opportunity to smile, laugh, and reminisce together.
Not that I want to or even can speak for everyone, but Virtual Joint Alumni Reunion was such a special day to be a part of, particularly in the monotony of quarantine. The event was built on a foundation of much-needed connection, and reconnection -- and I hope those of you in attendance found value in that as well. Thank you to all of you who made Virtual JAR so wonderful; safety permitting, I look forward to seeing you all at the next in-person BAR and JAR!
Our entire 2020 fall marching season was conducted (no pun intended) virtually! Read below to hear from a few of our seniors on their experiences.
One of the best things about the UCLA Marching Band is the tight knit community that we have established over the years. It is pretty easy to plan social gatherings in person, but this was our greatest challenge while zoom was the only option. We decided to have Fridays be an optional social hour for the band. The idea behind this, instead of a full-band rehearsal, was to give all of the new members an idea of the community we strive for in the band and to remind the returning members who we are. The main priority was to be welcoming and excited that everyone was here for the band.
Planning the social events was difficult at times, we wanted to make sure everyone was able to participate and be excited to come back every week. One of the coolest events we had was inviting some of the UCLA Women's Basketball Seniors to our call to play some games and answer questions. It was an awesome experience and it surely opened the new members’ eyes how much we LOVE Women's Basketball.
A socially distanced season of marching band has been nothing if not interesting. Meeting people outside of your section is always difficult, and continued to be difficult, considering everything had to be virtual. I thought that band leadership did a great job of making the Friday social hour fun and reminding members of what the band is all about. In smaller circles, one thing that has never been hard is getting to know people in your own section, considering the amount of time normally spent in sectionals. This year presented its own unique challenges in acquainting members of sections with themselves.
From games of Among Us to section Minecraft servers, there really has been no shortage of ways for new members to meet each other and other members of their sections. Many students really stepped up in a big way for sectionals, and not just section leaders. Sectionals really were a group effort, and there was so much help from other members who weren’t afraid to contribute to make their fellow new members feel more at home. In many ways, the situation finally gave the band an excuse to compile resources that could be useful for years to come! More thorough online flaps with newly made full band recordings for every song, as well as audio files for each individual instrument were helpful in sectional to help teach music in the absence of group rehearsal. One thing is for sure: after running zoom sectionals, I’ll never turn off my camera in a class again!
By Fidel Negrete, ΒΨ
As an effort to promote music inclusivity within chapter this fall, Brothers were able to sign up for the Music Buddies event set up by our Director of Music, Renee Shanteler! This event consisted of each pair recommending a weekly song following the fun theme for that week (for example “Favorite song with a key change”), though brothers were strongly encouraged to also share music outside the theme! In order to encourage musical diversity in a one-on-one environment, Brothers were paired by different music tastes and instruments. This allowed for greater music variation, and also gave Brothers the opportunity to introduce each other to styles and genres that they otherwise might not have considered giving a listen to.
I was more than happy to recommend my taste in music like the classic “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra, as well as the soulful and melodic “Sound and Color” by Alabama Shakes, just to name a few. I was able to share the details of what I found so special in my recommended songs, as well as listen to my partner’s thoughts on them. I was paired with Randy Reza, who offered amazing recommendations like “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” by Less Than Jake and “Seven Ways Till Sunday” by T.R.A.M., both songs I had not listened to before but ended up adding to my playlist. Ska punk and progressive rock are two genres that I did not imagine myself listening to, but I do admit that I have developed a greater interest in these styles.
In addition to participating in the weekly themes, we decided to finish our Music Buddies experience by collaborating on our very own music project! With the help of Soundtrap, a free digital audio workstation that grants users the ability to collaborate on music projects remotely, we were quick to create an upbeat drum loop and bass line that formed the foundation of our song. We later added a catchy melody line using our MIDI devices and our finished product was a wonderful piece that was a combination of both our music tastes. This experience was greatly rewarding as it broadened my appreciation for more styles of music!
By Natalie Wang, BΨ
Greetings, one and all! It’s time to take a peek at the better line of the BBC Wormhole fam (I’m just kidding, you’re still cool @other line haha it’s just a joke)! Also, fun fact, we are called “Wormhole” because many years ago, my 6x-ish great grandbig Anthony Salazar (BΓ) left UCLA for UC Irvine and joined their chapter. Then, several years later, James Simonelli, who was from UCI and part of Anthony’s line there, came to UCLA, joined our chapter, and continued our line. Boom. Wormhole.
During the BIJP (before I joined Psi) era, the line split when my great-great-grandbig Laura Yraceburu (BO) took on 2 littles, thus creating my line and our other line. Then, in order to adhere to family tradition, my awesome big, Haley Breland (BY), also took on 2 littles, Meigan Wu (BX) and me (BΨ)! Much to my disappointment, Meigan has had a head start on me, and she is already building a line with her little, Fidel Negrete (BΨ). But not to worry! Once I get a little, I’ll be sure to defeat said little in a duel, strip them of their honor, and send them on a harrowing journey to defeat Fidel so that we can reestablish the fire nation’s dominance over the...sorry, that was a tangent.
(Left to right: Haley Breland, Natalie Wang, Fidel Negrete, and Meigan Wu)
As you can see, we are definitely a very sweet and gentle line. Except for Fidel. He scares me. If I were to describe our dynamic, I’d say that it’s two very unlucky adults, Haley and Meigan, trying to do damage control with feral gremlins, Fidel and me. What can I say, Fidel and I are just trying to represent Beta Psi.
(Natalie as “P”, Meigan as “F”, and Fidel as “A”)
Our line is unofficially the “pressure line.” I’m sure all you physics majors are frothing at the mouth from this cool picture. It is also fitting because our collective stress could create enough diamonds to pay off all student loans. And yes, my face is blurry. Probably for censoring purposes.
To help Fidel and me get better at this thing called “socialization,” Meigan would sometimes invite us to eat together. I personally think I really nailed it the first time when I told them about my dreams of burning down this planet, effectively eliminating ecology from existence. Fidel, who by the way is an environmental science major, also showed some progress by introducing us to his very cute stuffed animal sloth, lil Tim. However, he gets some points docked for roasting me AND liking ecology. Meigan doesn’t need to improve her “socialization,” but she also gets points docked for hating pumpkin. Her distaste for pumpkin reflects poorly on her relationship with autumn, and it’s only about time that the pumpkin spice cult finds her. Sleep with one eye open, Meigan.
In fact, Fidel and I got so good at “socialization” that Meigan rewarded us with a video call with Geoffrey! Even though UCLA has been very Zoom for the past 2 quarters, we have been staying connected with ATLA watch parties and very important powerpoint presentations about pop culture that Meigan seems to have missed out on. A lot of fun!
Finally, I’ll leave you with a nice summary of each line member with classic yearbook superlatives:
Haley Breland (BY): most likely to brighten up your day
Meigan Wu (BX): most gullible
Fidel Negrete (BΨ): most likely to take over the world
Natalie Wang aka me (BΨ): biggest class clown