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School of Nursing Student Marches to Her Own Beat

Posted: Dec. 4, 2015

Longhorn Band photo by Jerry Hayes

Traditions abound at The University of Texas at Austin, but none makes as much noise, or toots its own horn or strikes the right note quite like the Longhorn Band, the Showband of the Southwest. With their burnt orange uniforms and Stetson hats, they rank as one of the best — and most recognizable — bands on any college campus across the nation.

The 350-member band performs at all in-state football games, for various Texas Longhorn Athletics teams, and at special pep rallies and parades throughout the year. To become a member, students must be skilled in both playing and marching. But all of that practicing, performing and traveling can take a toll on students, especially those enrolled in rigorous academic programs, such as nursing.

Francesca’s parents Claudia and Andrew Revella,
seen here with their daughter, are also Longhorn Band fans.

Demanding or not, Francesca Revella, a sophomore in the UT Austin School of Nursing, was determined to give it a try. After playing clarinet from the seventh grade through high school, she wasn’t ready to give that up just because she was headed for college. So the summer before beginning classes as a freshman, she left her home in Corpus Christi, Texas, for a weeklong band camp held on the campus of UT Austin. There she and the other campers were drilled on marching, performing and auditioning techniques.

“Coming to UT early really helped with the transition into college life,” Francesca said. “Not only did I get to know more about campus life earlier than I would have, I already had several friends when I moved in to begin my freshman year.”

As if band and college courses weren’t enough, she also joined Tau Beta Sigma, the national honorary band service sorority, an organization that helps with a variety of band projects and community outreach efforts. This semester she and her sorority sisters are working with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and are ensuring that one little girl’s wish comes true by sending her to Disney World.

Francesca (left) and fellow nursing students
Lacy Bond and Erin Etcheverry.

Band rehearsals can take up about six hours a week and game days usually take all day. In addition, she spends another 17 hours a week in her nursing classes. Nevertheless, Francesca credits her busy schedule for an improvement in her time management skills. “Balancing my studies in the School of Nursing with band activities has taught me how to better manage my time. Even though I have a limited amount of free time, I’m more productive. Because I know I have only so much time to get things done, I stick to a schedule.”

Once she graduates, Francesca would like to work in labor-delivery or pediatrics, although this semester she is studying cardiology and thinks she would like to pursue that as well.

“Every class I take solidifies that nursing is what I want to do,” she said.

For now, would she recommend extracurricular activities for other student nurses?

“Being in the band and studying nursing can be exhausting at times, but it’s definitely possible to do,” she said. “It has impacted my life in such a positive way from life-long friendships and memories to serving the community through music.”

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