Meet the Band

Hannah Fontanos

Instrument: Baritone & Alto Sax

Major: Nursing, '20

Hometown: San Mateo, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

Everyone seemed pretty close with each other, or at least with a few other people. I was happy to be a part of a more relaxed music group and I felt like I could actually let loose and move around while playing music.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

My favorite memory so far is this one rehearsal towards the end of the year when there was leftover food from some event in the gym and we were able to get free food. The baked potato I had that night was yummy.

Favorite Gig / Performance

Picnic Day. It was fun marching and playing music for all sorts of people.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Friendship and a sense of belonging at USF that I was unsure I'd be able to find going into my freshman year.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

Learning how to loosen up and really enjoy playing the music is something important I've learned from being in the band. I was always kind of tense in other bands I've been in (they've had a more formal atmosphere).

Ivana Perez

Instrument: Alto Sax

Major: English, Dual Degree Teaching Program, '19

Hometown: Gonzales, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

I love music. I knew I wanted to join band before I even came to USF. Once I joined, I knew I made the right decision. Everyone was so friendly and the music was so much fun to play.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Vegas 2016. Hitting the strip with my friends and staying up all hours of the night playing card games.

Favorite Gig / Performance

Games in Vegas. They are so energetic and everyone gets super pumped.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Friendships. I've made so many friends who I hope will be my lifelong friends.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

People are amazing. And band is where the most amazing people are.

Robert Macaibay

Instrument: Baritone/Valve Trombone

Major: Computer Science, '20

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

First Impressions of the USF Band

I thought the band was intimidating because everyone looked so good and looked like they were having a fun time. What made me happy? I'm happy that we're good and we're ALWAYS having a fun time.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

My favorite memory was when Joe forked over all the sweet wads of cash to us at Vegas.

Favorite Gig / Performance

My favorite gig is the one basketball game I lost my voice in because I was screaming for Jimbo to make a play. Jimbo, for your information, is a national hero.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Friendship. The band is full of weirdoes, but they're my kind of weirdos. <3

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

I've learned how to do horn movements. Horn movements is LIFE.

Mitchell Lee

Instrument: Saxophone

Major: Computer Science, Minor in Chinese Studies, '20

Hometown: Mabel, Minnesota

First Impressions of the USF Band

After meeting all these dank young adults I knew it was going to be a good time

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Getting to laugh almost everyday with these goons

Favorite Gig / Performance

Picnic day is standout for many reasons, but anything off campus is pretty dank

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Friendship! Joining the band was an amazing way to meet great (& dank) people coming into USF without knowing anybody.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

That anything is possible if you blow hard enough

Phyli Nguyen

Instrument: Alto Sax

Major: Psychology, Minor in French, '20

Hometown: Santa Clara, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

first impression: I don't know if I should join this? But the people are weird just like my high school's marching band--and that's great.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

When Thalia and I were talking about our crappy exes in high school during the Vegas trip. (Second is when the USF cheer squad told us to join them in cheering during the game in Vegas against Gonzaga)

Favorite Gig / Performance

Vegassssss

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

To always laugh and enjoy the moment when you're in band 💕

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

You don't have to be a perfect musician as long as you are surrounded by people you like the same interests as you.

Vincent Khamkhosy

Instrument: Flute & Percussion

Major: Mathematics, '20

Hometown: Hillsboro, Oregon

First Impressions of the USF Band

My first impression of the USF Band was we are a very small group compared to my high school band, but we all enjoyed playing music, sounding good, and performing. I myself am very happy to be a part of this group because I got to meet and make some new friends as I began my college career.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

During my time in band so far, I would say my favorite memory is when we organized a game night and had a racing tournament. It was really intense.

Favorite Gig / Performance

Picnic Day at UC Davis, where we competed in the Battle of the Bands is my favorite gig in the year.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

The best thing I have gotten out of the USF Band is a bunch of new friends and a close-knit group of people I can talk to and enjoy playing music with and exploring San Francisco with.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

Probably the most important thing I've learned from being in band is time-management. Because as a college student I have classes, studying, activities and a lot of other things on my mind and Band one of my higher priorities. Music is one of my greatest stress relievers and it helps me get through the year.

Briane Martinez

Instrument: Flute

Major: Nursing, Minor in Child and Youth Studies '20

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

First Impressions of the USF Band

Everyone was so close to each other. It makes you feel like you're part of a family.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Las Vegas trip was really fun. I got to bond with the other members of the band

Favorite Gig / Performance

My favorite was the Halloween gig even though it was pouring the whole time. We got to see cute children in cute costumes

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

I met cool people (:

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

As long as you enjoy playing music, you'll have a great time in band

Alex Yee

Instrument: Trumpet

Major: Accounting and Marketing, '19

Hometown: Saratoga, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

A much better sense of belonging, being able to have deeper connections with others

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Playing out in the golden gate park ^_^

Favorite Gig / Performance

Halloween block party

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Knowing that there will always be someone supporting you, no matter what or where or when

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

Knowing that no one is a perfect human being, while accepting imperfection

Becky Fisk

Instrument: Cymbals

Major: Critical Diversity Studies, Minor in Peace and Justice Studies, '20

Hometown: Malden, MA

First Impressions of the USF Band

Everyone was so excited to be there!

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Vegas was so fun, we got to play super close to the court and did a show for local kids.

Favorite Gig / Performance

Vegas bby

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

I love being part of something at USF where we can represent the school

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

I've learned that band is really cool and I've met people from all over

Jennette Yee

Instrument: Trombone & Flute

Major: Performing Arts and Social Justice, Minor in Chinese Studies, '19

Hometown: San Leandro, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

Seems like a serious band, but turns out not as serious a serious I thought. Full of nice people

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Playing Mario Kart before rehearsals and whenever people are in the band room

Favorite Gig / Performance

Vegas Trip

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Meeting all of the people and getting to know them

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

People have different ways of running something and compromises are necessary.

Kelsey Beechler

Instrument: Clarinet / Sousaphone

Major: Environmental Studies '17

Hometown: San Dimas, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

My first impression of the band was the silly atmosphere. Throughout summer, I looked through the photos and was excited to be apart of random activities I saw the band was apart of. Meeting up with band, I realized what a fun group of people made up the band and really fed off of the energy that was created.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Picnic Day and Battle of the Bands is my most favorite memory, not only of band, but of my first year at USF. It was the event I was looking forward all year and it really met my expectations. It was an event full of meeting new people, wearing fun costumes, stepping out of our usual confidence levels, and playing great music with great people. Definitely the best!!

Favorite Gig / Performance

Probably the last day of the Men's round of basketball for the Vegas trip. We were all so excited for the team and we had a lot of fun screaming the whole game! I also feel like we sounded pretty good that day and the energy of the group was so positive and so high. A pretty great experience overall!

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Being a transfer student, I was worried about friends and belonging at a new school. By joining band, I was introduced to a great group of people and was provided with an automatic group of friends. My group of friends have become practically my family and I don't know how I would've gotten around USF without them. I know I will have these people and these experiences for the rest of my life.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

The most important thing I've learned from being in band is how to be a bit more comfortable with myself and the things I enjoy doing. I am a pretty shy person, but by being around this close-knit group of people who are all pretty wacky, I got a lot more comfortable. No one is judgmental and we all learn how to appreciate everyone and how to co-exist with each other.

Sammy Nicole Sosa (2017 Update)

Instrument: Flute

Major: Psychology, Minor in Neuroscience and Chemistry '18 I really don't know at this point (Sammy, it's okay we love you)

Hometown: Hercules, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

My first impression of band was that everyone was super welcoming and sweet. SOO NICE. all of them.

A lot of things about band make me happy that I joined. What made me the happiest was when I realized how genuinely sweet and nice everyone was. When I first meet people, I get the feeling that whomever I am talking to is being a little too nice or a little too friendly... to the point where it just seems fake and forced. HOWEVER, I realized that these people are actually this friendly, this nice, this caring, and this amazing. Getting to surround myself with incredible people every day makes me happy that I joined.

2017 Update: Band is a cute bunch of people. They're very weird, but they have the warmest and most welcoming hearts. What makes me the most happy about joining band is that I can be loud, weird, and energetic, but also revert back at any time to being an introvert and just not talk or socialize without the fear of being judged. Also literally if you do something or say something weird there is a 100% chance someone will end up doing or saying something weirder within the next 10 minutes. It's just a place where you can be whoever you want, quiet or loud, introverted or extroverted, awkward or cool and still be loved.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

HA. no. I cry. I can't choose my favorite memory from band.

Primarily because you know at the end of the year when you have to write letters/notes to all your friends in their yearbook... AND then you get to your best friend and the note you write is supposed to be amazing and you are supposed to write about your favorite memory that you've had with them BUT you can't do because you have so many memories that you can't just choose one. THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW.

I could say my favorite memory is Picnic Day because it's just fun, but I also love and cherish the times I spend hours in the shack just chilling with all the band people. I could say my favorite memory is Vegas, but I honestly loved every basketball game. DON'T MAKE ME PICK JOE.

Update:

I PICKED IT. My favorite memory is when we were getting our vests,

and I didn't have any pins to put on my vest, so Jessica gave me her pin.

It was my first. I cry and I love it.

2017 Update: HA. Ask me in person. I can't choose one.

Favorite Gig / Performance

PICNIC DAY. BECAUSE IT IS PICNIC DAY. AND IT'S JUST FUN. AND EXCITING. AND FUN.

2017 Update: Picnic Day is always lit. (insert fire emoji and hang loose emoji and smirky face emoji)

What's the most meaningful thing you've gotten out of being in the USF Band?

Aiyah. Just having band be my base for the start of college and the introduction of a lot of the first friends I've ever made at USF.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

'Tis okay to surround yourself with people who make you happy. Don't force yourself to be around people who you know don't make you laugh or feel good about yourself. People in band... they're good people.

2017 Update: It's okay to be weird and loud. It's okay to be who you are. Band is a safe place, we do our best to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome.

Alexandra Freyermuth (2017 Update)

Instrument: Flute

Major: Media Studies, Minor in Sociology '17

First Impressions of the USF Band

I loved (and still love) how close everyone is. People are tight knit and are really friendly. I loved having friends before I started classes and some of my closest friends are friends I made during retreat week.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

I remember getting to the end of retreat week, and being super tired and just so ready for a nap, but then realizing all the people I had met. I think that's my favorite memory was suddenly realizing I knew all of these people so well all of a sudden and that I had this built in group of friends before most people had even moved in.

2017 Update: I was so struck by the fact that it seemed like all the returning members were really close, and knew each other really well

Favorite Gig / Performance

I love playing during the basketball games. It's super fun to play when there are lot's of people there. Everyone gets hyped up and excited and it's really fun. The band has a lot to do with the excitement at games, I think, so it's really fun to play when everyone is there.

2017 Update: Picnic Day

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

I love having a group that means this much. You get to know lots of people and everyone is passionate about the band and about playing together. It has been really great to get to be in a group where everyone is so enthusiastic and proud.

2017 Update: Band has become my family away from my family and become the group of people I lean on most. I have learned that I can be a leader, which I never was in high school. Overall, band has become a huge part of my college experience, far beyond the role of a club.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

I think the most important think I've learned from band this year is how important it is to be there. Like, to be there for people when they need you, but also just to show up to stuff. Because it's easy to make up excuses not to go to things, but once you start going you realize how much it means to be there, and how you, even as one person, matter to the group.

2017 Update: I've gotten a really great chance to learn leadership skills and have the ability to help the group develop and grow, even if it is in small ways

Michelle Phan

Instrument: Cymbals

Major: Nursing '18

Hometown: Union City, California (holla)

First Impressions of the USF Band

I thought being in band was going to be like a one week phase and I would be done with it, I was really just happy to move-in early and meet new people. But after getting to know everyone, I knew I would want to continue band because everyone gave off such good vibes. Like frfr u guys tha bomb.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

I remember USF band was giving out phone calls to remind people of retreat and what not, and I guess I was on the phone with Peter and he told me that I could play the triangle, and once I showed up, there was no triangle for me to play....... lol. Also, during retreat I remember Molly gave me a block of wood and told me she was my mentor, then she disappeared forever ): (she went to London for the fall!) I also want to be just like Emily and Drew because they're hella good at drums you guys inspire me!!!"

Favorite Gig / Performance

I didn't go to this gig, but the one at the little kid's birthday looked like the cutest thing ever.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Even through all the fights and drama, family will always be family at the end of the day.

Shoutout to Bella and Jessica for being solid friends.

Shoutout to Olak for being the best partner ever, I am currently trying to hold myself from my tears right now!!!

Shoutout to Joe for being an awesome possum, I remember I called you Mr. Joe Lares because I still think calling you just "Joe" is weird lol.

Shoutout to Peter for your bunny dance moves during MNR.

Shoutout to Kim and Nat for being the cutest people ever.

Shoutout to Drumz for being so welcoming, I think you guys are one of the best groups of people ever. Like forreal u all are so nice.

(YOU DON'T NEED TO ADD THIS TO THE WEBSITE LOL I WENT ON A RAMPAGE OF APPRECIATION #soft)

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

Sharing (food) is caring!!

Clare Bierman

Instrument: Baritone Horn

Major: Environmental Studies '18

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

By the end of that first week of classes, my roommates were convinced I was some kind of social wizard because I was constantly saying hi and running into people when we walked to class while they were still struggling to find a familiar face in the masses. By doing band retreat, I was able to have a huge group of friends who I had eaten meals with, played music with, and bonded with before most other students had even moved in. Having that made my transition into the college experience so much easier.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Going to Chrissy Fields during retreat was amazing. I hadn't spent that much time in San Francisco before that and it was so beautiful there with the Golden Gate Bridge. It made me so excited to start the school year here!

Favorite Gig / Performance

Playing at the Sunday Streets fair was super fun. I love the gigs that remind me that we're not just a school band, but a community band. I'm proud to represent not just USF, but the San Francisco community when I'm playing at the off campus gigs. Also, I like the kids.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

I love having a place I can go to escape the stress of school life. Band, for me, is the perfect way to let loose and play music with my friends. It's easy to get caught up in school, and to forget the importance of taking some time to do what you actually like. Band is the perfect way to schedule some joy into your week.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

The power of a teamwork can't be overstated. Even though it's cliche, I am always amazed at what we can produce when we're all working together.

Peter Nguyen

Instrument: Flute

Major: Politics studies, minor in Legal Studies & Hospitality '16

Hometown: Seattle, WA

First Impressions of the USF Band

I was surprised to see that the USF Band welcomes students with no musical experience. I thought to myself, "Are they being serious?", and they were. I wanted to learn the flute, and to know that the band was supportive in helping achieve this was memorable. I expected the marching band to be huge but I was wrong. The band was new and small (at the time) but the members were enthusiastic and welcoming when they saw a new recruit. The people I met on my first day made me feel at home when I was feeling homesick. I was happy to meet a great group of friends and to learn a new instrument.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

My favorite memory during my time in band is playing Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii in the Band Shack. I would always come to the band shack to play these games with other band members. This was the highlight of my 2014 fall semester. I won some and I lost some, but I always had fun hanging out with good friends.

Favorite Gig / Performance

My favorite gigs have been the Las Vegas trips and Picnic Day. If you join the USF Band, these are the two events you should definitely attend! I always look forward to going to these events because I get to bond with my fellow band members. Las Vegas trip is paid for! Awesome! Picnic Day is loud, hot and fun! We get to dress up!

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

I learned that anything is be possible when you're in the USF Band. I made a lot of great friends, and a small group of friends who I consider family. I learned a new instrument and learned to read music, mostly by myself, but also with the support of the band members. I was able to take a leadership role as the Librarian of the USF Band. I made a lot of memories in the band that I will never forget. I hope the band will grow even more after I graduate and become as huge as the Stanford Band or UC Davis Band. The USF Band can be weird at times, but I like it. The group is diverse and you will definitely find your own group of friends. You just gotta step out of your comfort zone. I learned this by being part of the USF Band. Be confident. Be creative. Be you.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

The most important thing I have learned from being in the band that it can be my second home. I learned a new instrument on my own. I had to learn the flute from the bottom up. I was not in a marching band in high school, nor did I have any musical experience. I regretted not learning an instrument before college, but the Don Marching Band gave me the opportunity to do so. It was intimidating to learn a new instrument, and to learn to read music, but I made it. It required many months and a lot of perseverance to achieve one of my dreams. I had a lot of support and I made a lot of friends along the way. This is my third year in the band, and I believe I can play as well as my friends who had lessons for many years. I am proud to be a member of the USF Don Marching Band.


Kaci Sagayaga

Instrument: Trumpet

Hometown: Makawao, Hawaii

First Impressions of the USF Band

Everyone is very welcoming and they really want to know you.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Getting to see them every Monday night to rehearse and be silly.

Favorite Gig / Performance

PICNIC DAY!!!

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

Our love of music will never cease. We all want to have fun and make new friends. We do look out for each other and we are truly family.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

We are a small and close group who will be concerned if someone is not feeling too well or is having a bad day. Because we all are around the same age we can relate to each other and offer advice.

Jessica Manalang

Instrument: Flute

Major: Kinesiology '18

Hometown: American Canyon, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

My first impression of the USF Band was that everyone was really friendly! What made me happy when I joined was that when I would go up to a total stranger in the band and try to make small talk, they weren't mean and they would really try to have a decent conversation with me! And the older band members would even try to talk to me and make sure I felt included and was having a fun time.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

My favorite memory during my time in band was definitely Retreat Week! All of the activities we did together like lunch runs, practicing drills on the Gleeson plaza, and game nights are really fun. Retreat Week was a really good way to start off college for me.

Favorite Gig / Performance

My favorite gig was definitely the Picnic Day! So many spirited people, traditions, and good music!

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

The most meaningful thing that I've gotten out of being in the USF Band is the friendships that I've made. Some of these friends I see on a regular basis due to classes, or seeing them in the dorm (Michelle, Alex, Wilson!). Others I may not see everyday, but I still get really excited to see them (Sammy, Arryan, EVERYONE ELSE). I'm comfortable with practically everyone in the band, and I'm always reminded that the USF Dons Band was my first family that I made here. They have definitely made my transition into college a really great one.

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

What sticks out as the most important thing that I've learned from being in the band is that hard work and dedication can go a long way.

Allys Victoria Nu Ton

Instrument: Bass Drum, Tambourine

Major: Business Marketing, Minors in English and Philosophy '16

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Favorite Gig / Performance

VEGAS.

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

My roommate Nathalie introduced me to the band and I'm forever grateful that she did. This group of crazies have the biggest hearts and the most ferocious appetites for macarons. I'm happy to have joined the crew and to have found some of my closest friends. I love you fam!

PS. We eat macarons and chicken A LOT.

Nathalie Chavez

Instrument: Trombone

Major: Sociology, Minor in Music '16

Hometown: San Mateo, CA

First Impressions of the USF Band

It was a very different feel from the bands I belonged to in high school, and although it wasn't what I was expecting, being a part of this group has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had at USF.

Favorite Memory During Your Time in Band

Creating the film "Paranormal Shacktivity" with the sophomores last year. Watch it. It's good. Real good.

Favorite Gig / Performance

All of the PICNIC DAYS!!

Most Meaningful Thing You've Gotten Out of the USF Band

I've met some of my closest friends in band. They're all so great. They make me so happy! Also, being in this band has given me the chance to step up as a leader, which has been an amazing experience, because not only have I seen the band grow, I've actually been a part of helping this happen. I can't wait to see what we accomplish in the next few years!

Most Important Thing You've Learned in the USF Band

#DoGons

Olak Gonzalez

Cymbals '15

"The Dons Band is a SMASHING good time!"

Paul Padilla

Alto Saxophone - Mathematics '15

"The band is a great way to make new friends. It seems hard to get to know people in your classes, because the purpose of class is to listen and respond to your professor, not talk to your pals. In the band it seems to be just the opposite. There is time for section members to communicate their parts, play the music and just have a great time. Joining the Dons Band was one of the best decisions I've made at USF. I just love coming to Monday night rehearsals as well as the games!"

Isabelle Ignacio

Tenor Sax '12

"I was a late joiner to the USF Dons Marching Band, and for most organizations where you come in halfway through the year, it can be difficult to fit in. The band was NOTHING like that - they were friendly, easy-going, and so welcoming of myself and anyone else who was new to join. While I was only able to spend one semester in the band, I quickly saw that they were a fun, spirited, and very dedicated group of musicians. I genuinely feel lucky and honored to have had a chance to make music with them."