History of the Band of the Hour

The University of Miami Band of the Hour, named in 1948 after a Henry Fillmore march, “The Man of the Hour,” has existed in one form or another since 1928. Along with its commitment to musical and artistic excellence, the Band of the Hour has maintained a long tradition of service to the University.

The University of Miami Band of the Hour is the largest and most spirited student organization on the UM campus and draws its membership from the entire student body, representing every state and most majors.

Along with the activities related to Hurricane football including pep rallies, parades, home games in the Sun Life Stadium, and regular television appearances,
the Band of the Hour has performed in numerous national conventions, national television variety shows, three major motion pictures, promotional recordings of new band music and a national television commercial. The Band of the Hour recorded a popular CD The Eye of the Storm (‘Canes Records) and is available in national distribution and from the UM Bookstore. In addition, the Band has served three times as host band for the American Bandmasters Association, a distinction held by no other college band.

The Band of the Hour has performed at the 1987, 1994 and 2003 Fiesta Bowls, 1989, 1992, 1995 and 2004 Orange Bowls, 1990, 1993 and 2001 Sugar Bowls, 1991 Cotton Bowl, the 2002 Rose Bowl, as well as the Liberty, Peach, Gator, Carquest, Micron PC, MPC Computers, Emerald, Champs Sports, and Sun Bowls. Following its founding by Walter Schaffer in 1933, the band has been led by directors Fred McCall, William Russell, Michael Mann, Michael Dressman, David Ragsdale, and Phillip Clements. The Band of the Hour enters a new era under the direction of Jay Rees beginning July 1, 2014.

In its 79th year of existence, the Band of the Hour continues to be the “Eye of the Hurricane Spirit!”

Director Timeline:
The University of Miami Band was first organized in 1933 by Walter E. Shaeffer, who served as solo clarinetist and concertmaster with the United States Marine Band under John Phillip Sousa.

Fred McCall was appointed Director of Bands in 1948 and held the post until his retirement in June 1971, at which time he was awarded the title of Director Emeritus. Under his instruction, the Band of the Hour received its name. At a halftime show at the Orange Bowl in 1948, the band was playing Henry Fillmore’s march, “The Man of The Hour.” The announcer spoke over the public address system, “‘The Man of the Hour,’ played by the ‘Band of the Hour’!” This has been our official name ever since.

William B. Russell was appointed Director of Bands in 1972 and held the post until 1991. Ken Moses was assistant director for 17 years during Russell’s tenure.

Russell’s successor, Michael Mann, served as Director of the Band of the Hour and Associate Director of Bands from 1991-2000.

In 1993, Gary D. Green was named, and remains, Director of Bands at the University of Miami.

In 2000, Dr. Michael B. Dressman was appointed Director of the Band of the Hour and served until his retirement in 2004.

C. David Ragsdale was appointed interim director for the 2004-2005 school year. He was succeeded by Phillip Clements who served as Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Band of the Hour for three years.

On July 1, 2014, the Band of the Hour enters a new era under the direction of Jay Rees.