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June 28, 2023

By Gracie Westergaard, Class of 2025, Music Performance, Instrumental and Music Industry & Deb Fought, Senior Administrative Assistant, Athletics

A Musical Summer

During Summer 2023, Deb Fought, senior administrative assistant, athletics, and her daughter, Gracie Westergaard ‘25, trombone performance, attended the Northrop Grumman Family Day in Mountain View, California with the California Repercussions, a semi-professional marching band. This band has a rich history and is well-known for their lively and entertaining performances. 

“For me, I started in Reapers at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), as an undergrad for another musical outlet. It has fast become my musical family as well as my main creative outlet,” said Fought. “Now, I play in Reapers for the sheer joy of spreading music and entertainment to others. I’ve been with this group for 35 years and never would have toured the places we’ve traveled by myself or met the people I did.”

In 1983, the California Repercussions were formed when the California Aggie Marching Band (CAMB) of UC Davis, were invited to perform at the Pig Bowl, a friendly football game between the police and the sheriff’s departments in Reno, Nevada. The organizers of the event requested the band to not only play at the game but sell tickets and perform a number of revolving, short sets in local bars the night before.

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The CAMB knew that the Regents of the University of California would not be too keen on associating with such an event. While interested, this posed a problem for the Aggie Band, as they were an official university-affiliated organization and could not participate in activities that conflicted with the university's values and regulations.

To navigate this predicament, the band’s student run leaders came up with an alternative solution. They formed a separate band, unofficially known as "this other band," that would essentially fulfill the commitments of the Aggie Band for the Pig Bowl event. In terms of naming the band, they settled on the California Repercussions, a play on words that cleverly merged the concept of repercussions with the musical term percussion.

The gig at the Pig Bowl and the subsequent performances at local bars were successfully carried out by the California Repercussions, providing entertainment and fulfilling the commitments originally intended for the Aggie Band. The secrecy surrounding their affiliation and the clever disguise employed during the events added an element of intrigue and amusement.

Over time, the Repercussions evolved well beyond its initial purpose. To this day, the band continues play together, with membership ranging in ages from 12 to 70. They have taken on a variety of gigs beyond the Pig Bowl, like various parades, fairs, festivals and private venues across the globe, including the NFL Pro Bowl, San Francisco Giants, California State Fair, National Mayor's Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oracle Corporation Picnic. They have also been featured in commercials and have toured countries such as Japan, the Soviet Union, England, Germany, Spain, Australia, and Brazil.

"Although my experience with the California Repercussions differs from that of the founding members, it is still meaningful to me as a second-generation Reaper. My mother is a performer in the band and growing up in that environment inspired me to pursue a music degree and eventually become a member myself,” said Westergaard. “Performing with the Reapers taught me so many valuable lessons, both positive and negative, and being a part of this amazing group has greatly influenced who I am today."

For more information about the California Repercussions please visit

Learn more about the Conservatory of Music at Capital.