The reinvigorated Frost Band of the Hour offers valuable experience for music majors and beyond.
“There’s so much that you can learn with this activity, like being a great teacher, leader, composer, arranger, how to perform for large crowds, or reacting under live pressure. These are valuable skills as a musician.”
When you think of the Frost Band of the Hour, the music and pageantry of college marching band might be the first thing that comes to mind. But the year-round athletic band program under the direction of Professor Jay C. Rees is much more than a spirit squad for the University of Miami. The Band of the Hour marching band, pep band, indoor marching drumline, and student leadership class provides valuable opportunities for Frost music students to enhance their degree program in new and unusual ways, while offering real-world experience and important life skills.
For Jesse Klirsfeld, a Jazz Trumpet Performance major, the Band of the Hour Pep Band is an additional component toward his goal as a powerful lead commercial player. As lead trumpet in the Frost Studio Jazz Band and Salsa Orchestra, Jesse is serious about his jazz studies. He embraces pep band as an experiential outlet that requires him to “play loud and high, yet also efficiently,” while also traveling on the road to UM football and basketball games and post-season tournaments.
Colton Freitas, a Music Education major with Jazz Emphasis, plays trombone in the marching and pep bands, and also serves as drum major, the highest leadership position in the organization. “The Band of the Hour gives me the ability to create feedback and offers hands-on experience in how to teach music effectively.” He adds that although Band of the Hour is not for everyone, the program allows him to do all the things he wants to do without compromising his musical goals.
“Anyone who says you can’t do both, doesn’t know what it’s like to be performing in a football stadium,” says Jesse. He adds that being hailed as the center of attention is invigorating, but that “you have to want to be there for yourself, your bandmates, and the audience.” In return, Frost students are rewarded with an extraordinary experience that connects all of their musical activities, whether performance, education, or composition.
“The quality of today’s Band of the Hour is so much higher in every phase of what it means to be a performer,” says Colton. “The atmosphere and output is so much more intense, and the instructors are focused on bringing out the best musicianship.” Even though the Band of the Hour accepts students from all courses of study across campus, Frost musicians in the ensemble do not feel they have to sacrifice a high level of musical performance as a result.
“Playing pop, rock and different styles of music is a great source of escapism from the more rigid musical structures of my study, but Professor Rees has it organized so well, we still play quality music,” adds Colton. “There’s so much that you can learn with this activity, like being a great teacher, leader, composer, arranger, how to perform for large crowds, or reacting under live pressure. These are valuable skills as a musician.”
Today’s Band of the Hour is on the cutting edge of innovation with a re-energized, and re-imagined persona. Graduate student, Taylor Yozwiak, recently wrote the percussion charts for the Band of the Hour’s new indoor marching drumline that performed a “Bang Bang” halftime show at several basketball games this spring. Nine musicians in the 17-member group, which included an electric rock trio, were Frost music students. Holly Freyre, Executive Director for Advancement and Associate Dean for Development of the Frost School of Music, commented that, “It was absolutely amazing. We’ve never seen anything like that before.”