“It’s really a different side of the beast. A drum major is more than just a conductor. The biggest challenge is being one step ahead of the director, but the fun part of it is being able to move the band around and experiment with different positions and movements.”
– Marquis Scott
Marquis Scott, senior performance education major and member of the Wind Ensemble and Clarinet Choir, was announced as the Emporia State Marching Hornets’ newest drum major at the beginning of the semester.
“I didn’t really expect to become drum major,” Scott said. “It’s been hard but a lot of fun.”
Scott joined fellow drum majors Ben Reilly and Grant Saylor-Perkins preparation for the Marching Band Festival held yesterday at Welch Stadium.
Drum major applicants were required to attend a summer band camp up to 12 hours a day for the month leading up to the beginning of the fall semester. Scott said his new position as drum major was announced during one of the final band camp sessions on Aug. 7.
Scott also said there’s a lot more to the duties and details that drum majors have to mind than just “keeping the band in time.”
“It’s really a different side of the beast,” Scott said. “A drum major is more than just a conductor. The biggest challenge is being one step ahead of the director, but the fun part of it is being able to move the band around and experiment with different positions and movements.”
Nathan Gay, Marching Hornets director, said they hold auditions in the spring, where drum majors have to compete and that there is a questionnaire as well.
Saylor-Perkins, junior music education major, said that the Marching Hornets began rehearsing for the festival on Aug. 10.
“It’s a challenging piece for sure,” Perkins said, “but we made a lot of progress in rehearsals very quickly.”
The Marching Hornets performed three movements – “Amazonia,” “The Rising Sun” and “Drums of Thunder” from composer Peter Graham’s “Windows of the World,” a 30 minute piece that explores the music of Latin America, Japan and Africa. Gay said he had experience performing this piece while he was part of a brass band in Kansas City.
“I took out three of the movements and made it more suitable for marching music,” Gay said.
Reilley, senior performance education major, said it was fun practicing.
“We got a more challenging and interesting piece of music to perform at the festival this year,” Reilley said.
Gay said that in addition to the performance by the Marching Hornets, 13 high school marching bands performed at the festival, including bands from Emporia, Olathe, Gardner, Topeka, Wichita, Parson and Burlington.