The high school squads may have that ol’ prep spirit, but they don’t have prancing tubas. The Cal marching band is a world unto itself, with customs, superstitions, and the ability to spell out words at a collegiate level. The nearly 200-person-strong band is often overshadowed in the Bay Area by the antics of their rivals in the Stanford region, but battling note-to-note, it’s no contest. The Golden Bears bring it loud and proud to every home football game and to high-profile road games as well. The band isn’t just stuck between Sather Gate and North Gate, either; you can hear it as it travels the city popping up at various primary and secondary schools as well as random civic functions. The Bears’ band boasts a glittering alumni component as well, so you get trombones of all ages and all paces on the field. And if it’s drama you want, there is little that happens between the sidelines that beats whether the drum major will catch the baton launched high into the air. So if the Cal gridiron stars are struggling to move the ball, never fear, the halftime show always travels in perfect time.