Through the eyes of the drum majors
Many Big Red Band students had sectional practices, weekly color guard and percussion rehearsals throughout the summer. Drum majors begin their own preparation by studying musical scores, recordings,vocal commands and conducting techniques. But the official band camp adventure begins early in August when most students and teachers were still enjoying the last few weeks of summer. The students and directors of the Big Red Marching Band begin their preseason rehearsals with "two a day" practices known as pre-band camp week. After this intensive week, the students, directors, camp nurse, auxiliary staff, and chaperones pack up their equipment and head to Grace Adventures Youth Camp in Mears, MI for an even more intensive experience lasting four nights in five days.
Three students in particular have a very important role in the success of the Big Red Band. They are the drum majors, who are the student leaders of the group. Nate Smith (senior), Elijah Curry (Junior) and Molly Christopherson (Junior) returning drum majors for the 2009 Big Red Marching Band. They help teach the new band members, push the returning members to be better, and keep the focus of all the students during rehearsals. They also organize freshmen/senior buddies, they protect the traditions that make the Big Red Band strong, they conduct, they march, they drive... in short they lead!
"Yes, being a drum major is demanding at times, but it not only helps the band get better, it helps us become stronger leaders," says Elijah Curry. Molly Christopherson adds, "Band Camp takes dedication, determination, discipline, trust, heart and respect. I really do care about this program and realize how 'big' it is. I believe if I show that, others will pick him on my attitude. I want the other members to respect the band like I do." Nate Smith says, "I feel like the drum major is sort of the 'poster child' for the band. If I am positive and respectful, then the other members will follow my leadership. I can see why the directors get so frustrated. It takes a lot of patience and determination to be a drum major, but the satisfaction at the end of a successful season makes it all worthwhile."
The drum majors see band camp as an opportunity for all band members to be focused without the distractions of school and home. Elijah Curry said, "I believe that we accomplish much more while at band camp because we see people as they really are. We see the good, the bad, and everything in between. But, we still make it work." Molly Christopherson agrees and says, "We actually get stuff done. Band Camp takes you away from your other problems, you get lost in the music." However all of them believe the most important goal of band camp is for the members to bond together and become a family. "You have no choice but to become family because you are with each other 24/7." Nate Smith became quiet again. He looked up and said, "I do a lot of things, but I need this band. It's just part of who I am."