Emily Barton, a native Redlander and 2010 graduate of Redlands East Valley High School, is taking a leadership role as an assistant drum major for the college in her junior year.
Barton, who joined the band her freshman year, applied for one of two drum major positions prior to her junior year and she was accepted.
Her duties - along with fellow assistant drum major Stephen Hufford - include leading the band during practices, competitions and performances at sporting events throughout the year.
Barton first picked up an instrument as a young girl in Redlands.
Playing music was in her blood, she said, as her parents are band teachers at schools in the Inland Empire - her mom, Katie, serves as band director of Moore Middle School in Redlands, while her father, Robert, serves as band director of Ruble Middle school in Fontana.
"It was kind of expected that I learn something. So I tried out a few instruments my parents brought home from school and in the third grade I started playing the flute," she said.
In fourth grade, Barton joined the Crafton Elementary School band where she began to hone her skills on the instrument.
She went on to join the band at Moore and served as drum major in the eighth grade before playing with the Wildcat Marching Band at REV.
UCLA's marching band previously had four drum majors during its season, but director Gordon Henderson downsized and looked for only two this year.
Barton had to apply to be a part of the band prior to her attending UCLA, and had to do the same to become a drum major, she said.
Being in a band is a major commitment for any student, but Barton said she looks forward to performances and practices each week.
She also encourages those looking to play music in college to seriously look into it, because while it is continuing an education in music, it also has its perks.
"You get the best seats for sporting events, and a ticket to everything you wanted to go to," she said, adding that overall it's the experience that counts. "It's definitely a big time commitment... but it's a really cool experience."
Her parents agree.
"For my husband and I, it's really exciting... because we are both alumni of UCLA," Katie Barton said. "Marching band is a big thing in our family, so it was exciting when she wanted to try out for drum major. Plus, there are lots of perks that not always the whole band gets to go to."
After marching band season is over, Emily Barton will be joining the school's concert band to become reacquainted with the instrument of her choice, the flute.
But, she's also looking forward to next year's marching season.
"Next year our ultimate goal is to play at The Rose Bowl. (Our football team) has been really close to it in the last two years, and we're getting closer and closer each time," she said. "We play all our games at the Rose Bowl already, but it would be exciting to play in the Rose Bowl itself."