Drum majors keep beats alive: Fight! Fight! Fight!

Jessica Fannin, Editor

A silent hush falls over the crowd, stadium lights reflect off bronze and silver, the performers hold their breaths. The drum major stands up straighter, a quick pause before a swoosh of their arms signals the start of a song that will surely wow the audience. The all too familiar beat of Micheal Jackson, “I Want You Back” fills the air and the football field is alive. 

     Senior, Jessica Dudok is a clarinet player in the band who also juggles a position as drum major. Having “marched two years prior,” to conducting the band, she knew she’d, “be capable of doing it.” To stand up in front of the whole band and lead them through the music Dudok said, “you have to be ready for anything and always accepting of change.” 

     According to Dudok, in order to gain the band’s respect, “it’s important to be kind to others because people don’t take instruction well if you have a negative tone.”  Since she was reached out by the band director “Mr. Wojciechowski in Sophomore year,” Dudok has had some time to figure out the ropes. 

      Junior Julia Eakes is another drum major who also had plenty of time to build skills for the position because she is, “in theatre so […] [she is] pretty used to being in front of crowds.” 

      Her first time being a drum major, Dudok remembers being, “a little nervous because the band was doing all their traditional songs for the first time in two years.” Before her new position she “didn’t have much experience conducting the stand tunes.” Despite Dudok’s nerves, the clarinet player turned drum major, found it, “a surreal experience to be back at a football game.” 

     To overcome the uneasiness that can come with performing, Dudok is learning, “that once […] [your] out there everything flows together and you don’t have to worry about anything. When you overthink, that’s when you mess up.”  For Eakes she keeps calm before performances by remembering every song and marching moves they, “go over in band practice.” 

     Junior Samantha Price, another drum major, explained that when, “our team scores a touchdown the band plays the Fight Song!” 

     To prepare for a performance, Dudok says she “practices a lot and runs things over with the other drum majors.” It’s important that she does well in her performances especially when “friends are watching because […] [she] wants to show them the hard work that is put into the show.” 

     Eakes likes to prepare by, “getting to practice early and letting fellow drum majors and friends do […] [her] hair.”  Eakes also, “makes sure people are doing their jobs at the right time.” 

     Samantha Price is another band member who has found a passion for her position as drum major. She explained that her, “favorite song to conduct is the opener of the halftime show, Get Ready.” She said this is her favorite song because, “it’s the song where […] [she is] conducting in the center.” 

      What also brings Price joy as a drum major is when she is conducting the songs “she is most familiar with and when the band is,” watching her. Eakes enjoys conducting the song “ain’t no mountain” because “that’s when […] [she] is on the big scaffolding in the middle.”