It was my senior year of high school, and I had just gotten a college acceptance letter from my No. 1 choice: I was going to be a UCLA Bruin. As a proud drumline nerd, I quickly searched for information about the UCLA Bruin Marching Band and found a website to sign up for auditions. I entered my email into the online form and hit submit. To my surprise, I received an instant message from Jamie [Strowhiro '06, M.M. '06], a sophomore in the drumline, offering to answer my questions. What started as informational quickly evolved into a love interest as we instantly hit it off. We chatted all through the summer.
While we IM’d daily, Jamie and I didn’t meet in person until the first day of band camp. I had no clue where Schoenberg Hall was, so he offered to meet me at the Bruin statue to walk me over. I was nervous to meet him. What if it was awkward? What if I'd read the signs wrong? To quote Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, what if he showed up, took one look at me, and left?
I approached the statue and saw him. He saw me. And just before my nerves consumed me, he raised his hands in the air, smiled, and yelled, “BAND CAMP!” I laughed, and suddenly all my nerves melted away. It felt like we’d known each other forever.
We spent all of band camp studying the music and practicing our parts. And yet, we found time to get to know each other, too. Jamie introduced me to the rest of the band; he showed me around Westwood, where we ate Diddy Riese and he showed off his DDR dance moves at the arcade. At the end of band camp, Jamie hosted a party at his Westwood apartment, and I made sure to stick around after everyone else left. We went out onto the balcony and shared a blanket as he told me about the buildings in the distance. Under the stars, he asked me if I would go out with him. I said yes.
During college, we spent our time together on the IM field at band practice, at the Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion cheering on the Bruins from behind our drums, and traveling with the band. One of my favorite memories was when we beat ’SC in 2006. Leading up to that game, we’d lost seven rivalry games in a row. But that year, with all of the grit, heart and determination of that ’06 Bruin football team, we beat ‘SC, 13-9. The crowd was electric.
After countless coffees together at Kerckhoff and lunches on the lawn by Janss Steps, Jamie finished his master’s in music at UCLA while I went to Loyola Law School. In 2009, Jamie and I were back on campus, walking down Bruin Walk to Pauley to watch a UCLA men’s basketball game. As we strolled past the student store, Jamie stopped. We were at the Bruin statue, where we had met five and a half years before. Jamie proposed. Through happy tears, I said yes.
We were married in November 2010, and our wedding day was filled with UCLA surprises. After the ceremony, as we walked up the aisle past family and friends (so many of whom are Bruins), a string quartet played the UCLA fight song. And alongside our traditional wedding cake: a UCLA marching drum cake.
Our love has grown along with our family as we welcomed Jordan, now 8, and Zoe, who’s 6. We love joining Bruin alumni hikes and watching UCLA sports. I’m an employment lawyer; Jamie is a professional percussionist.
You couldn’t drum up a happier ending.
Read more from UCLA Magazine’s Winter 2024 issue.