Band Of The Hour membership skyrockets

The number of members in the University of Miami’s Band of the Hour has increased by about 50 percent.

This is bigger than any single year addition in the past 10 years.

As of Tuesday it had 179 members, but Charles L. Damon, senior staff assistant of the Band of the Hour Marching Band, says it is still growing.

These numbers have made Thomas Keck, the director of the Band of the Hour, think that his three-to-five-year goal of 200 people can be accomplished by next year. This will be his second year as director.

Kake attributes the growth of the band to persistent recruiting, retention, and the book scholarships now offered to band members.

He also cited the athletic department letting the band be a larger part of the game as a reason for higher interest in the organization.

This interaction includes more opportunities to play during the game and playing cheers that have more crowd involvement.

“We are going to play music students recognize and want to hear,” Kake said.

This music will include hip hop and rock and roll as well as Michael Jackson songs.

Raquel Schifrin, a senior at Miami Dade College that marches with UM’s band, agrees with Kake’s reasons but also thinks the dismantling of Florida International University’s band because of budget problems was a factor in the growth.

“We opened our arms and welcomed them to march with us,” she said.

The University of Miami does not limit itself to students from just its schools but people from other colleges can mark with them as well.

Even with the smaller numbers of the past years, UM’s band was still an adequate size. Kake said the general rule for college bands is they should be one percent of their undergraduate student body.

UM had 10,379 undergrad students in 2007.