With the 2017-2018 Southmoreland Marching Band season coming to an end, preparations for the 2018-2019 Southmoreland Marching Band season have already begun, and with a new season comes new leaders. Along with section leaders and color guard captains, drum major auditions are only a few days away.
This year, there are four candidates for drum major: Dylan Opalinski, Dakota Coffman, and Ila Greenawalt, who will all be seniors, along with Kaylea Wright, who will be a sophomore.
In order to audition for drum major, candidates are required to write an essay answering several questions involving leadership. Each candidate will be interviewed by a panel of judges. The audition requires each candidate to call out commands like they would do for the marching band and memorize and perform a conducting routine to a piece of music. Each candidate has also been recorded conducting the concert band for a small warm up which will be used as part of their audition as well.
During their freshman year, Ila and Dakota both took an interest in the drum major role.
“It’s one of the highest leadership ranks you can get and it’s a huge honor,” said Greenawalt. “With music being my passion and having a love for this band, it only makes me want to lead this band more and more.”
“As I’ve gotten older I was quick to realize that being drum major, or any leader for that matter, is more about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you,” said Coffman. “I think the biggest motivator in my will to be drum major is the fact that I want to inspire my fellow band members and make them feel welcomed and involved in the band.”
To show their dedication and appreciation for the role as a drum major, all of the candidates have taken time out of their day to practice their conducting pieces over and over for the past two months.
“It’s not just about the audition,” said Greenawalt. “It’s about your attitude and personality.”
Aside from having the ability to understand and conduct the band in a clean manner, each candidate has to possess a wide variety of leadership skills. Each candidates tries their hardest to be leaders, available to anyone who needs help, and be amazing role models for the other band and guard members.
“It’s necessary that someone of this position is held with high standards as well as respect,” said Opalinski. “I’ve done my best in trying to follow high standards from both my peers and teachers.”
The role of drum major is a very serious job and each candidate understands that it takes a lot of work and time to efficiently perform the role.
“A drum major has to be the most respectable person in the band,” said Opalinski. “If one is not respected by the people they are leading, the entire culture and climate of the band is changed.”
And of course, with this being the senior year for three of the candidates, they have agreed that no matter what, they are simply excited for their last year of marching band. They each have a hard time processing that this is their final year to audition for a leadership role, but are determined to put their all into whatever happens this season.
On April 28, the four candidates will be interviewed and the new drum major will be announced in the early weeks of May.
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