Leading the Pack

Junior drum major, shares experience of directing the band


Courtney Brown, Staff Writer

Every morning, bright and early, the marching band can be heard and seen on the football field. Lead by the directors and students themselves, junior Karina Howey is one of the drum majors who helps prepare the band for their upcoming competitions and football games.

Howey said much of what goes into being a drum major is logistics.

“I have to plug in speakers and mics,” Howey said. “Later in the season, we warm up certain sections like the brass and woodwinds. A lot of it is setting up and tearing down, along with making sure everybody has what they need.”

The majority of drum majors are usually seniors.

“Sometimes there are juniors,” Howey said, “Our school doesn’t really care about what grade you’re in. It’s more like if you have the skill, you can get in.”

The audition process has multiple parts to it to make sure the one’s chosen are fit to lead, band director Avian Bear said.

“There is an extensive audition process beginning with the musicianship strengths of each candidate,” Bear said. “Since the drum majors speak on behalf of the band, they are interviewed to see how they think under pressure and to see whether they are good communicators. There is also a peer review so every band member can anonymously give feedback about the authenticity of each candidate.”

Bear said this year, the drum majors are working well together.

“All three drum majors are doing very well this year,” Bear said. “They each bring different strengths to the table and are learning daily from each other and about just how difficult leadership can be at times.”

Bear said individually Howey is working well by herself.

“Karina is a strong musician and a very articulate person,”Bear said. “The band members felt she was very authentic and would be a strong candidate.”

Howey said there has been a big change in band since her sophomore year.

“I’m here a lot more,” Howey said. “I’ve also gained so much more respect for the directors themselves. It’s cool to see how they work. Now, I see myself as an older sibling. There will be times after the show when I want to just talk, but I have to go help out.”

Howey said she can’t focus on any social problems that arise with band.

“As a drum major, you can’t really worry about drama,” Howey said. “Within your sections, sometimes things seem so big, but you have to work it out by saying, ‘Let’s try this instead and see how it goes,’ to help encourage them.”

Howey said what she loves most about being a drum major and about band in general is the family aspect.

“Hands down, my favorite part is knowing every single person and working with them,” Howey said. “They mean the world to me. They are all interesting individuals, and it’s thrilling to discover who they are as a person.”