Students can usually only see them in the middle of the student section at home football games, but now people can catch USF’s Herd of Thunder (HOT) marching band performing right outside dining halls and dorms on select Friday nights.
Members of the HOT band put on a short performance outside of the Fresh Foods dining hall the night before USF football’s season opener, but this won’t have been a one-time occurrence.
Student leaders in the HOT band came up with the concept at a leadership retreat in August after they decided to start a band tradition. Part of their inspiration came from older bands with long-running customs. The HOT band is fairly new, as it came about in the late ‘90s.
Razanne Oueini, a senior double majoring in chemistry and music studies, explained that the idea was also developed as a way for the band to encourage and inspire the students.
“In college, all we do is entertain; There is no competition aspect whatsoever,” Oueini said. “What we do is we entertain audiences and we support the athletic teams.”
After the idea was brought up at the meeting, there was no turning back. All the leaders, and most of the band members, loved it.
At first, they were only going to perform the nights before the season opener and the Florida State University game.
They enjoyed their first performance so much that they wanted to do it again the night before the Northern Illinois University game. Unfortunately, it was too late to organize the band members by the time they decided on doing a second appearance.
They will be performing again this Friday and they hope for a larger turnout. The last time they played, it was Labor Day weekend and classes were cancelled because of Hurricane Hermine, so only a few students were on campus at the time.
The video Oueini took and posted on Facebook of that performance received over 2,500 views and 77 shares as of Friday night.
However, they decided not to advertise their informal concert because they wanted to surprise students.
“A lot of things are advertised and everything’s planned and scheduled, but this is one of those things where it shouldn’t feel planned,” said Nicolas Remy, a junior majoring in music performance. “It should just feel like a tradition.”
Remy, a bass drum section leader, said that after the band was finished, the drum line went over to the tennis courts beside the Cypress Apartments to continue playing because they enjoyed the experience so much.
“It’s just such a raw experience,” Remy said.
Matthew McCutchen, associate director of bands and director of athletic bands, said that he first heard about it at the leadership retreat, but it was the student leaders who planned and organized everything.
“We realized a long time ago that a lot of the best ideas come from the students,” McCutchen said. “They take a lot of pride in the organization of the band and coming up with new ideas.”
Remy and Oueini hope that this continues long after they’re gone. Their wish is that this becomes something so big that incoming freshmen look forward to it and accept it as USF tradition.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing, and I hope it continues,” McCutchen said.