How Do I Join the USF Band?
There are several ways:
- Freshmen and transfer students join the band by attending Retreat, our camp for new and returning band members.
- If you missed Retreat Week, the next best way is to contact us at USFDonsBand@gmail.com
- You are also invited to show up at any of our Monday Night Rehearsals, or to come introduce yourself when you see us performing. Contact Us us for details.
How you join really depends on the time of year. We accept members year round, but our largest number of new recruits join the week before fall semester during Retreat.
What is Band Retreat?
Retreat is our 5-days camp for new and returning band members:
- New and returning band members come to campus and move-in to their residence hall at the start of Retreat, 5-days before the general move-in day.
- During Retreat we teach you all there is to know about being in the Band.
- Each night we hold fun social events and team building activities.
- You'll meet your section, bond with them, and have a fun learning about your new home at USF.
Retreat revolves around getting new members acclimated to our campus, the USF Band, and university life. It is a really fun way to make friends before classes start, and a great way to get to know the USF campus. During Retreat we learn and rehearse music, practice a bit of marching, eat on campus together, go on adventures, and bond as a group. It's an incredible amount of fun, and you don't want to miss it.
When is Retreat?
Retreat is the week before classes start in the Fall. New and returning band members living on-campus will move-in to their residence halls that day. Retreat continues through Friday evening.
How Do I Register?
Please visit the Retreat Registration section to register for Retreat.
After submitting your registration form, we will contact you via email and request the following:
- A short personal statement* (your 'freshman letter')
- A photo of you
- $25 Retreat fee**
*Please note - your short personal statement shouldn't be a formal essay! It's just a way for us to get an idea of who you are, what instrument you play, what you like to do, how serious or goofy you are, etc. So feel free to make it fun and interesting!
**The Retreat fee is a non-refundable deposit that covers the cost of your USF Band uniform vest. You'll receive your vest at Retreat, and it's yours to keep and adorn with buttons and mementos.
How Much Does Retreat Cost ?
The Retreat fee is $25 for new members. This covers the cost of your USF Band uniform vest, which is yours to keep and decorate with pins, buttons, and patches. The Retreat fee is non-refundable. We ask that you pay the $25 after you submit your Retreat registration. Payment instructions will be emailed to you after your submit your registration.
Do I Need to Attend Retreat to Join the Band?
No, you don't need to attend Retreat to join. But we highly recommend that you attend Retreat if you want to join the band! Here's why:
Retreat is the best time to join the Band because our time is 100% dedicated to introducing new members to what we’re all about. By attending Retreat, you’ll start your year off knowing your new home on campus, and you'll already have a ton of new friends. Retreat is 5-days of fun, music, bonding, and making friends. We've yet to hear someone say they wish they hadn't attended Retreat, and those who miss it typically regret it.
At the very least, you'll appreciate spending a few days getting to know USF, learn your way around campus, and you'll meet some great people. If you find that you don't have time to participate in the USF Don Marching Band after classes begin, there is no pressure for you to continue your participation in the group. So Join us for Retreat
If you're unable to attend Retreat due to a schedule conflict, don't fret. Contact us and let us know you'd like to join.
What If I Don't Live On-Campus?
Yes! All USF students can attend Retreat. Students living off-campus are invited to participate in all of Retreat's scheduled activities. This includes joining the on-campus members for lunch and dinner each day during Retreat. Students living off-campus should register for Retreat via the Retreat Registration form.
Will I Miss New Student Orientation?
Nope. Retreat ends Friday, the day before the general campus move-in, meaning you'll be moved in and ready for orientation activities Saturday evening. (General Orientation, Convocation, DonsFest, etc.)
Retreat includes a Welcome Event for all new and returning Band members and their families on the first afternoon of Retreat (after you move-in to your residence hall). We encourage all friends and family members to attend.
What's the Time Commitment?
Our Band is student-led, so we realize that grades in your other classes are important to you. Your commitment level varies depends on how much free time you're willing to spend with us.
The Band meets every Monday for "MNR" (Monday Night Rehearsal) from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Sections also schedule a 1-hour sectional each week around their section's schedules.
The band typically performs 1-2 times per week, usually in the evenings. These performances are sign-up based, meaning we take sign-ups each week to determine who is available for each week's performances. This gives members an opportunity to opt-out of specific performances if they have class, work, or tests to study for.
In short, the time commitment is very flexible. Band shouldn't consume your life or keep you from experiencing all that college has to offer. Many of our members have jobs, outside commitments, or participate in other campus organizations. The USF Band is meant to be an activity that gives you time away from studying, allowing you to relax with friends, play some music, and have fun during your time at USF.
Are There Auditions?
There are no formal auditions to join the band. However, placement on a specific instrument or part is determined by the director and section leaders.
What is Your Instrumentation?
We currently have the following instruments in the Dons Band:
- Bb Clarinet (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
- Bb Trumpet (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
- C Tenor Trombone (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
- C Flute (1st & 2nd)
- C Piccolo
- Eb Alto Sax (1st & 2nd)
- Bb Tenor Sax
- Eb Baritone Sax
- F Mellophone
- BBb Sousaphone
- Bass Guitar
- Bb Baritone Horn (B.C. & T.C.)
- Drum Set
- Snare Drum
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Cowbell, Tambourine, Cabasa, shakers, and other Aux Perc.
Don't see your instrument? Contact us! We're always open to adding additional instruments. Seriously: if you can read music, we'll make it happen.
What If I Haven't Played Recently?
No problem. The open nature of our program means Band members have varied levels of experience. Everyone involved is in it to have a good time. We have members who have played for years, members who haven't played in years, and members who are just learning. Everyone is welcome, so long as you're willing to learn the music and improve.
What Should I Expect?
Fun, new friends, good music, travel, excitement, and new experiences!
The band is a fun-loving, diverse group of students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, all interested in making the most of their college experiences. Our band is student-led, meaning elected student officers lead the group and decide what the band does. We like to think we're not your average college band.
Our style is informal and non-traditional. We're a little goofy (ok, a LOT goofy), but we take our music and sound seriously. Members cheer loud, play hard, and rock out as much as possible. Our uniform consists of blue jeans, white shirt, and green 'Dons' vest, which members adorn with pins, patches, mementos, and badges of honor from past trips and performances.
We march in a few parades and events each year. Our informal-style means there is less regard for things like glide stepping, heel-to-toe rolling, Dinkles. Confused? Here's a clip from the 2018 SF Chinese Lunar New Year Parade.
We do one informal competition a year: the infamous Battle of the Bands versus the likes of Stanford, Cal, UC Davis, Humboldt State, UC San Diego, and UC Irvine.
A few of our members major in Music, several minor in Music, and most of our members study something else entirely. Our members are in the band because they like to play, they love the band, and they have a great time being with friends. Many of our members are involved in other activities and organizations on campus (though if you ask, they'll probably tell you the USF Band is their favorite ;)
Lastly, the USF Band asks, nay, expects that members enjoy being in the Band. In fact, we don't just expect it, we require it. You must have fun to be in the Band!
What If I've Been in Marching Band Before?
The Dons Band is more of a pep band than a marching band, so that's fine! We often call ourselves a marching band, but that doesn't mean you need to be able to march to join us. The Dons Band 'marches' parades sometimes, and sometimes, but it's more of a walk and play than a march ;). We'll teach you everything you need to know join in.
What If I Want to Learn a New Instrument?
We've had several members successfully learn a new instrument while in the USF Band. If you plan to learn a new instrument, all we ask is that you give it some serious effort. It helps if you already have a background in music (i.e. you've read music before and have some experience in instrumental or vocal performance).
We're here to help you learn, but it takes a personal commitment to pick-up and play an instrument. Provided that you are willing to spend the time it takes to practice and improve, we encourage you to give it a shot! And if nothing else, we always need more cowbell.
When & Where Are Rehearsals?
Our regular Monday Night Rehearsal (MNR) takes place on Monday nights from 6:30 - 8:30 PM. Rehearsals are generally fun and relaxed, with the first half focused on learning new music and the second half focused on covering our favorites. Rehearsal is typically War Memorial Gymnasium, but it's best to meet us in the band room (aka the Band Shack) on the east side of Lone Mountain. Contact Us for detailed directions and information.
Do I Need to Register to Receive Course Credit?
We request that all members register for for 0, 1, or 2 units of credit, as it helps the band secure rehearsal space. However, you are not required to register for course credit to join the band or attend Retreat.
Almost every Band member registers for course credit. Baring scheduling conflicts, we suggest you register to receive course credit for your participation in the band. Those who sign up for credit can register for 0, 1 or 2 units of credit.
You can register for course credit on MyUSF under the 'Music' subject in the 'Look Up and Register for Classes' module. The band is listed as MUS 111-02 (CRN 41024). Alternatively, you can register at the start of each semester via an add/drop form, provided by your advisor or at Monday Night Rehearsals.