Marching band welcomes two drum majors into group’s marching formations

by gracemoody, ’14

The tireless hours of practice finally pay off as the crowd cheers, bringing a strong feeling of accomplishment. The hard work is rewarded with this spotlight experience.

For junior drum majors Bobby Brunner and David Williams, this is a familiar feeling during the halftime shows of Friday night football games.

After 2011-12 drum major Nate Smallwood graduated, the marching band welcomed Brunner and Williams as the new faces of the band. They are each hoping to follow in Smallwood’s footsteps.

“It’s hard to [live] up to somebody who had such a positive influence on the school,” Brunner said.

The two drum majors aim to increase support and enthusiasm in the student section, much like what Smallwood had perfected by his senior year.

Brunner and Williams both demonstrated an excellent work ethic during their freshman and sophomore years, causing Smallwood and the band director, Mike Manser, to introduce them to the drum major position.

For Brunner, having Smallwood show him how to twirl during his freshman year sparked interest in the activity. Summer sessions, band camp and hours of outside practice helped both boys earn the coveted position.

“We took this progression together,” Brunner said.

Brunner and Williams have grown to know each other better this year, as they hold leadership roles for the whole band. Williams also said the two push one another.

“It’s a competition that keeps us both getting better,” he said. “We build each other up.”

Each having a job, at times the boys have found it difficult to balance school, work and a social life while being drum majors. Brunner said that having a lot to do just makes it all the more rewarding.

“I can succeed, because it’s like, ‘Well I had to try that much harder,’ so it pushes me,” Brunner said.

Williams said he has learned a lot about time management through balancing so many activities. Although each maintains busy schedules, both spend extra time outside of class practicing on their own.

“We both work very hard,” Williams said.

The two practice with the band each morning before school and during first period. Aside from class, Brunner and Williams put in at least three additional practice hours per week individually.

Both drum majors share goals to make halftime as fun as possible for the student section. Audience involvement is an aspect they would like to see improve during their time as drum majors.

Since there are two positions this year, it makes it harder to organize a routine that will work for both majors. The roles of past drum majors are now being split between the two juniors, making it more difficult to assign specific roles for each.

“I think that it’s harder to balance leadership roles,” Williams said.

Although difficult, both willingly accepted the challenge of having two drum majors and enjoy working with the other.

Williams said that although at times the activity is frustrating, overall it is a worthwhile experience.

“[I’m] disappointed when [I] drop it, or when [I] don’t get a trick perfectly. It’s a you-win-some you-lose-some kind of thing,” Williams said. “The most important part is to have a smile on your face and really be in the moment. So I’m generally always really happy out there and I have a good time, because that’s what it’s about.”

Image Caption: Junior drum majors Bobby Brunner and David Williams perform during half time of the Oct. 5 football game. The two majors aim to increase support and enthusiasm in the student section.

Image by Maria Berger