Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will guest conduct the USC Trojan Marching Band and 1,400 students from 14 local schools Saturday at halftime of the USC football game against Oregon State.
The combined band will perform the city’s unofficial anthem “I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman in celebration of the Olympics’ return to Los Angeles in 2028. The young performers will be taking part in “High School Band Day” — a tradition dating to the 1940s — in which secondary school students are invited to perform with the USC band at a USC football game.
“It’s a great honor to have the mayor of Los Angeles guest conducting our High School Band Day,” said Trojan Marching Band director Arthur C. Bartner. “We honor him Saturday because of the completion of USC Village, a great collaboration between the city and USC, and his work returning the Olympics to the Coliseum in 2028.”
Garcetti will not take on his role as guest conductor without preparation. As well as being an accomplished jazz pianist, Garcetti was previously serenaded with “I Love L.A.” by the Trojan Marching Band at his second inauguration in June. Although the band has performed at numerous civic events through the years, it was the group’s first appearance at a mayoral inauguration. Garcetti will be the first Los Angeles mayor to guest conduct the band.
Garcetti joins a long list of dignitaries who have guest conducted for USC’s High School Band Day, including entertainer Steve Allen, director Robert Zemeckis ’73 and conductor Elmer Bernstein. The event provides young musicians and auxiliary members an exciting chance to perform in a college football stadium in front of a large crowd. For many students, it is their first experience in a university setting. All of the bands on Saturday are directed by alumni of the Trojan Marching Band, some of whom were first exposed to USC at previous High School Band Day events.
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Halftime will begin at about 2:30 pm.