Sophomores Bryan and Justin Yee perform for rival marching bands — USC and UCLA, respectively — but the twins don’t let that get in the way of their brotherly relationship.
“Having a brother in the UCLA band makes the game more disappointing if we lose and more exciting when we win,” said Bryan, a business administration major. “Our family is pretty divided: Half are USC fans and the other half are UCLA fans. But my brother and I don’t fight about the rivalry. We always try to one up each other.”
Justin, a biology major at UCLA, echoed his brother’s sentiment.
“It really makes the whole college experience a lot more exciting knowing that my twin brother goes to a rival school and performs in the rival marching band,” he said. “When we’re around each other, we have our playful banter, but nothing is super serious between us.”
Natives of San Diego, Bryan plays the trumpet and Justin plays the alto saxophone. Both have been playing for 10 years. They started performing in marching bands when they entered high school and continued on in college.
When Justin was selecting a university, his decision was between the University of California, Davis, and UCLA, and location was a factor.
“I felt that there is a lot that LA has to offer in the culture and opportunities to explore new things,” he said.
Bryan only applied to California schools because he wanted a university that was close to San Diego but not too close.
“Actually, once I got my acceptance letters from all the schools, it came down to a choice between USC and UCLA,” he said. “Academics at both schools were pretty similar, and football was a big thing. Marching band was part of my decision.”
Bryan said some of the biggest differences between the USC and UCLA bands are the performances, marching styles and traditions. USC creates a new show for every home game, while UCLA has two main shows per year.
UCLA’s minimal number of shows ensures they have a perfected sound quality, while USC’s band has more of a “pep-band sound,” according to Bryan, who added that USC uses a “driving-it” style of marching in which band members point their toes at the ground, while UCLA uses a roll step.
Though the twins perform at many of the same events, they don’t usually see each other during the performances. But afterward, they make up for lost time with good-natured jokes and teasing.
“We do make fun of each other,” Justin said. “It’s cool how we’re rivals, yet we’re both [part of] legitimate and high-caliber marching bands.”
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