Last month, the four drum major candidates Ila Greenawalt, Dylan Opalinski, Dakota Coffman, and Kaylea Wright, were interviewed and judged on their conducting and leadership skills. The following day, the marching band staff had decided on a drum major for the 2018-19 school year: Dakota Coffman.
When Coffman first saw the results, he was ecstatic. “This was something I had been dreaming of for so long, and all of a sudden it was right there in front of me on paper. It was pretty overwhelming to say the least, and I was pretty much speechless.”
But once the had shock set in, Coffman began to plan for the new season. Wanting to inspire the band members high on his list, he and the new commanding officers, Morgan Brown and Dylan Opalinski, started to come up with ideas to make this season “amazing and unforgettable.”
Keeping this all in mind, this is also a sad time for Grace Vivio, the marching band drum major for “Among Starry Skies” and “I Am.” Welcoming one new drum major means saying goodbye to the former one, and although Vivio said she will “miss it terribly,” she said she is “extremely excited for Dakota to take over.”
The excitement started when the results were posted; even Vivio was ecstatic, but this feeling toward Coffman did not start recently. She said working with him over the past year was where her confidence in him began.
“I could see him taking on this role when I had the chance to help him last year and this year before auditions,” Vivio said. “Not only could I see the potential in him, but the way he will work with the commanding officers as well.”
Having been a drum major for two seasons, Vivio knows a lot about the role and with this knowledge, she has given Coffman many tips.
“There will be moments that you are frustrated, angry, or elated throughout the season because you can see the potential within each person and you always want to see them to take a step toward it,” Vivio said. “It will take a while and sometimes they will regress, but any type of progress is always good progress, even if it’s just baby steps.”
Vivio suggested many things, which include making sure Coffman is proactive with scores, makes sure he gives each section equal attention, and that he works on his backward marching, as it is very important.
“But above all else, enjoy your last year because it will pass by you in an instant,” Vivio cautioned. “It is important you enjoy and appreciate the people within the band because you won’t have a moment like this ever again with these people. This band is a magnificent group, so treasure it.”
Coffman said he believes he has what it takes to be a great drum major.
“I’m determined to be the most inspirational, helpful, and motivational drum major I can be,” he said. “I hope that I can say that I did that by the end of the season.”
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