The job of a Muskie drum major is very important because they are the leaders of the band. The drum major must take their role seriously in order for the band to remain focused and have a strong leader to depend on. The drum major conducts the band while they are marching on the field, and as you may know, the marching band usually covers a large portion of the field. In order for everyone to be able to see a drum major, they usually place their drum majors in different parts of the field. There is almost always a drum major on the 50 yard line (in the center of the field), off to the left or right side, and someone in the back of the field in case the marchers have to turn around during their show.
The Mighty Muskie Marching Band drum majors traveled over the past week to a drum major camp called the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy. The camp took place over five days and the Muskies took their three drum majors, Kaleb Drawbaugh, Mollie Matkovich, and Chris Kenefick. Lauren Kundel also attended the camp because she was unable to attend a section leader camp that was being held later in the month. This camp is required for drum majors by the band director, Mr. Heid.
“It’s where we go to be trained in leadership, teaching, mace skills, and conducting,” says Kaleb Drawbaugh.
Band director Jeff Heid echoes these sentiments. Students need “to be trained so they are ready to lead the band. The drum majors are like lieutenants. I rely on them to make decisions in the spirit of how I would make the decision. They need to understand how to do things we do as instructors, not so they can do our job, but so they can make sure the band is successful.” Heid says there are benefits besides leadership. “Additionally, you are trained how to conduct. I can teach that, but I prefer students be taught together at a camp. By sending them to camp, they are more able to focus on what you need to learn, and not when do they go to work next.”
The drum majors are working hard from the moment they wake up to lights out. They spend up to six hours a day marching, four hours conducting, and two hours in leadership talks with meals in between. The students are working very hard all throughout the day. They are there to get better and learn the skills that they need in order to be a successful drum major, but they are also encouraged to get to know other drum majors from other schools.
“The most important part of the camp is being open to new ideas and being willing to try new things. If you don’t invest into the camp and keep an open mind you, will get nothing from it,” the three drum majors discussed. “Willing to be almost stupidly enthusiastic is exactly what it takes.”
Wish the best of luck to our three drum majors and the rest of the Mighty Muskie Marching band as they take on their season!