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The Student News Site of Louisa County High School

The Lion's Roar

The Student News Site of Louisa County High School

The Lion's Roar

Major role of the Drum Major

A centerpiece and a point of leadership.
Band+and+marching+band+instructor+Micah+Lee+poses+enthusiastically.
Damien Mitchell
Band and marching band instructor Micah Lee poses enthusiastically.

    A full stadium watches as the band marches.  Drums beating, brass blaring, the crowd chanting, the drum major leading everything. Responsible for keeping the tempo during the performance and giving members tips and feedback afterward, the drum major is the centerpiece of a band. Recently, tryouts have been held to decide the next drum major for the Louisa marching band, and junior Stella Ware has been chosen.

 

    “The drum major is our voice, and they conduct the band,” band teacher Micah Lee said. “They are the highest level musician, the highest of all marchers.” 

 

    Even though not every band will always have a drum major, and a band can function without one, they play a crucial role in maintaining the performance through pacing and focus.

 

    “You can have a field show without a drum major, but they’re a major reference point,” current drum major Caitlyn Winslett said, “Our entire job is to keep things together, especially with tempo since it can easily get stewed.”

Senior and one of two current drum majors for the 2023-24 transition year Caitlyn Winslett. (Damien Mitchell)

    Because the drum majors are students, rather than school staff, their words carry a unique impact and meaning when words of improvement are shared after a given performance.

 

    “It’s important that they talk to their bandmates at their level,”  Lee said.  “You talk to your friends differently from how I talk to my colleagues.“Because you know them more closely and can say things that I can’t say at all without coming off as harsh criticism.”

 

    With a leadership role, comes leadership responsibilities. One such example is managing everyone else to keep things smooth and in check.

    “Last year, I was a section leader. I was managing a section of five, including myself,” auditioning drum major Nichole “Andi” Denlein said “But if I’m the drum major, I’d be in charge of the entire band of forty-ish people. I don’t know if I’m super ready yet, but I don’t know if I will be until I actually get there.”

Auditioning drum major and former section leader Nichole “Andi” Denlein. (Damien Mitchell)

    Some may feel daunted by the responsibility of so many people, and the feeling is common among those starting out in the role.

 

    “It’s very stressful at the beginning,” Winslett said, “But after the first football game, I was like ‘oh, I can do it!’”



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