New UC Davis marching band gets interim leadership following dissolution of Band-uh!

Three weeks after UC Davis announced the dissolution of the student-led Cal Aggie Marching Band following a review that found a culture of “concerning behaviors,” the university has appointed a new interim assistant director to lead the newly formed university-supervised band.

Garret Rigsby, a former assistant conductor in the UC Davis music department, was appointed as interim assistant director, said interim vice chancellor for student affairs Emily Galindo in a statement to campus Wednesday.

“Rigsby will work with the Student Leadership Team to re-establish the band with a continued focus on excellence in musical performance,” Galindo said.

“Rigsby will serve in the interim role until the search for a permanent assistant director is completed,” she said.

Rigsby will make his first appearance in his new position at the Aggies home football game vs. the University of Montana Grizzlies on Saturday.

The announcement comes after the release of an independent review by law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, which anonymously surveyed hundreds of current and former band members and found “corroborated concerns” about “alumni interactions, negative traditions, pressure to participate in formal and informal (band) activities in order to be accepted, and negative treatment of first-year students,” the report said.

The review was announced less than a week after a Sacramento Bee investigation into allegations of hazing, binge drinking and sexual misconduct in the band. The independent review also found several “areas of concern,” ranging from sexual harassment to widespread accounts of hazing.

Investigator Deborah Maddux said in her report that the same students who reported having a positive experience, told stories that suggested “a culture and climate that has normalized concerning behaviors.”

“Indeed, many of those who noted that they were ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’ provided narrative response or answers to specific questions which raised serious concerns,” Maddux wrote.

The university announced Sept. 3 that the student-led Cal Aggie Marching Band would be disbanded and replaced with a “university-supervised” band with a new name, uniforms, governing structure, bylaws and guidelines. The university also cut ties with the alumni band, saying it will no longer be recognized and will be barred from participating in campus events.

The new band will begin a two-year probationary period and be limited to performing in university athletic games and campus ceremonial events.

Molly Sullivan covers crime, breaking news and police accountability for The Bee. She grew up in Northern California and is an alumna of Chico State.