Band of the Hour embodies school’s unwavering spirit

WE GOT THE BEAT: The Band of the Hour performs its halftime show during a football game at Land Shark Stadium. CHELSEA MATIASH // FIRST IMPRESSION STAFF

Started by Walter E. Shaeffer in 1933 and currently under the direction of Thomas Keck, the University of Miami’s Band of the Hour represents nearly every academic major on campus and every state in the country.

Band of the Hour is comprised of brass, woodwinds, percussion, the Hurricanette color guard and dancers. It is a one-credit art and humanities course available to any student. The group also covers textbooks for its members the entire year.

“It was extremely exciting and probably the best decision I’ve ever made during my college career,” Hurricanette captain Kayla Kasel said.

The season starts with band camp, which begins on August 14, and extends through the end of the fall semester. Members perform at Land Shark Stadium for all home football games, one away game (Florida State this season), exhibitions and a bowl game if the team is invited.

“It’s a great way to meet good friends and take in football games from a different perspective,” Keck said.

Rehearsals take place Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., often on the Yaron Intramural Fields. Members perform three different halftime shows, with this year’s focus to be an infusion of music influenced by the student body’s likes and sounds of Miami. A more traditional performance will set up the football team’s entrance.

“It’s impossible to describe the feeling you get marching onto the field in front of thousands of people wearing orange and green,” Kasel said.

Members take part in the long-standing tradition of “Famous First Rehearsal.” This symbolic first rehearsal is attended by UM’s president and administration, and heralds the beginning of each academic year.

“Many people don’t know that the band continues through basketball season where a select few get to play at the basketball games as well as volleyball games,” drum line captain Victor Gonzalez said.

Students are charged a nominal fee for supplies and instrumental rental. The university and the band department pay for all other expenses and travel costs.