Director of Bands Brings Back Drum Major

August 28, 2014

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Dr. Otis French, the new Director of Bands at the University of Mount Union, is bringing the drum major position to the university’s marching band beginning with the 2014-2015 marching season.

The head drum major will serve as the top leader of the marching band, under the Director of Bands, and will work alongside the band director on the field and in the stands. He or she will also assist in planning band camp and practicing drills and will serve as a liaison between the director and the rest of the band members.

“The drum major position is a great way for students to develop their own sense of leadership and accountability and to be a part of the chain of command,” French said.

In order to be considered for the position, students first indicated interest in interviewing and auditioning for the position. Interested students then met with French for a one-on-one interview. From there, applicants were put through a rigorous tryout before a selection committee which included French, the color guard coordinator, the chair of the Department of Music and several band alums.

According to French, the tryout included conducting and marching demonstrations as well as a demonstration of how the student would teach a fellow band member a particular marching move. Students trying out were also asked numerous questions regarding their understanding of college football and how they saw themselves portraying the role of drum major.

French, who is in his first year as Mount Union’s band director, previously directed a band at a Pennsylvania university where he implemented the drum major program as well. The position is a way to give students leadership opportunities and improve the visibility of the marching band, according to French.

This season, senior biology major Taylor Nervo of Louisville, Ohio, was chosen as head drum major and junior finance major Emily Zbasnik of Minerva, Ohio, will serve as assistant drum major.

“I was the drum major in my high school and I loved directing a band so much that I made a promise to myself to try out again if I ever got the chance,” Nervo said. “I love the leadership opportunities of this position and I enjoy being able to work with the director, my fellow band students and the assistant drum major to strive for our full potential as a marching band.”

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