The main concern that we hear from students thinking about joining the Herd of Thunder is “I don’t know if I will have the time to participate in the band with my…” classload, work schedule, etc. So, we asked our current members to tell us their experiences with being a member of the HOT Band and the time commitment. Below are some of their comments.

“My first year of college I took 17 credits and had a 40-minute commute to school, but HOT Band was worth every minute. The class is at the end of the day so you typically don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts with other classes. You will meet more friends than you will ever have in any of your classes and the memories will last a lifetime. In my two short years I have traveled to New York City, played in unforgettable settings and gotten cheered on by tens of thousands of fans. HOT Band has truly made my college experience.”

Alexander Bortz, Tenor Saxophone

“I took a marching hiatus my freshman year because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle 18 credits, a part time job, and the three ensembles I was in; I regretted that decision because I have now realized as a sophomore that marching in HOT was the best decision I have made to enhance my college experience. I am now taking 15 credits, fulfilling on-site classroom observations required for my elementary education major, pursuing a minor in economics that I just added to my degree, and working 20-25 hours at Publix, all while commuting half an hour to school three days a week from Pasco County and keeping my GPA above 3.5. So if you ever question whether or not you’ll be able to fit in HOT rehearsals and performances with your school schedule, the answer is yes you can; if you have the passion to march, it is 100% worth your time.”

Alison Flaherty, Trombone

“I am a middle school mathematics education major that takes 18 credit hours worth of classes, is a facilitator for the Emerging Leaders Institute, and plays flute in the HOT Band. I teach middle school classes 8 hours a week, go to class 14 hours a week and still manage to make every practice and every performance with time to spare. Your schedule may take a little juggling, but there is always time to march.”

Rebecca Karlan, Flute

“I have more time to march with USF than I felt like I did in high school. I take roughly 15 credit hours each semester, I’m an accounting major, I’m in a few student organizations, I have a job, and my GPA is still outstanding even while marching with HOT. It sounds like I have a busy schedule, but I still have time to hang out with friends and do things I want to do!”

Kalen Hess, Alto Saxophone

“I am currently a senior and section leader in HOT. I am a Math Education major with minors in Math and Chemistry. I work at least 10 hours a week, am an officer of my fraternity, and am taking 17 credit hours. It is more than possible to time manage everything. You learn to discipline yourself, which is a huge part of college. I have had similar work loads for the past 4 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The HOT Band is a family and you accomplish so much with the support of the band. I’ve always found that the more I have on my schedule, the more I can do.”

Jessica Leon, Flute

“This year I am a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Chemistry and American Sign Language. This is my second year marching with the HOT band, but aside from band and taking 18 credits per semester, I work two jobs – one as a gymnastics instructor and the other as a server at a barbecue restaurant in Orlando, which I commute to weekly. I also am a part of USF’s Cheer Club, and I take tumbling classes at an All-Star gym 3 days per week. HOT band is worth it!”

Chelsea Bacon, Flute

“For those of you that are nervous about the time commitment required for the Herd of Thunder, I would like to tell you that it is definitely worth it! I am a double major in Music Studies and Psychology, am taking 18 credit hours this semester, and am an executive board member for three different organizations. Despite all of this, learning a new instrument, and marching for the first time, I not only found time for band, but I enjoyed every moment of it! You will not regret this opportunity. – Go Bulls!”

Jordan Schueler, Mellophone

“My name is Jennifer and this is my third year marching with the guard. I can tell you that you most definitely have time to march and do anything else that you need or want to do. It’s all a matter of knowing yourself, how much you can handle, and managing your time wisely. I am double majoring in Finance and Management, I work part-time, and I hold executive board positions for two student organizations on campus. Yes, my schedule is packed, but at the end of the day I still find time to do what I’ve always loved to do – spin.”

Jennifer Mammen, Color Guard

“I’m a commuter from St. Petersburg, which is a 40 minute drive. I also work 30 hours a week! With that being said, joining the HOT Band was the best decision I’ve ever made. It is totally doable for busy commuters!”

Nick Yeager, Alto Saxophone

“If the only thing holding you back from joining this wonderful and talented family is that you aren’t sure if you will have the time, don’t stress! Going into college from high school, you will be amazed to discover how much extra time you will have on your hands now that you aren’t in school 6-8 hours everyday. I’ve been a member of the HOT Guard all four years of college while taking a full course load, working two jobs, and being an active member in Sigma Alpha Iota (a professional women’s music fraternity). Speaking as someone who definitely has a lot going on, being a part of the Herd of Thunder is absolutely manageable. Being a part of this family has been the best part of my undergraduate experience, and I encourage anyone who wants to be a part of something really great to come out and see what we’re all about!”

Kristina Moreau, Color Guard

“I commute from New Port Richey and am currently taking 16 credits at St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs. Because of the distance, I have to plan to leave for events an hour and 15 minutes before call time. It’s a much different case than other students who live right off campus and can get there in five minutes or back if something important is forgotten, so I’ve really had to become a much more responsible student. Marching with the drum line has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I cannot wait for these next three years. Don’t worry about having time to march; you’ll make time because of how much fun it is and the amazing people you’ll meet.”

Drew Titland, Drum Line

“I’m a Non-Degree Seeking student that attends Hillsborough Community College and participates in the marching band at USF. I have work, school, etc., just like everyone else! On top of that, I also take the bus to and from school and work. Trust me, if I can do it, you all can, and I promise it will be the most fun you have ever had! – Go Bulls!”

Jeriah Williams, Trumpet

“I have been a feature twirler for USF for the past 5 years. Within the 5 years I was a Non-Degree Seeking student, I commuted from St. Petersburg, held 3 jobs (1 in St Pete, 1 in Tampa, and 1 in Orlando). I have held a 3.5 GPA the entire duration of my college career, as well as taking close to 16 credit hours every semester. I have held 2 leadership positions the past 2 years that take a lot of time and dedication. I am a communications major and minoring in American Sign Language and have competed on a national twirling circuit. To be 100% honest, HOT Band has been one of the aspects of my college career that has kept me sane. Yes, we have 2-3 practices a week from 6:00-8:30 at night. However, these two and a half hours are the times where I put my homework, laptop, and anything else that can distract me away, clear my head, and spend time with the people I call my second family. HOT Band helps you in so many ways for connections in classes as well as learning how to manage your time. This was the best decision that I made during my college career.”

Tiffany Jockers, Feature Twirler

“If you’re wondering if you have time to march, you probably need to march. I am a senior music education major with a psychology minor. I’m taking 17 credit hours, am in both Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble (not included in those credit hours) on 2 different instruments (and I’m marching a 3rd), tech for a high school marching band in St. Petersburg 2 days a week, am an active sister in Sigma Alpha Iota, am on staff for Festival of Winds, maintain a “magna cum laude” G.P.A., and did my Honors College Thesis. HOT Band was one of the things keeping me sane, because it’s a scheduled break from the craziness, and it’s one of my biggest support groups. – Bulls!”

Kelly Jordan, Trombone