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Under the Monocle: York Drum Majors

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Before she auditioned to be drum major last May, Olivia Braun was your average trombonist in the Marching Band.

Before Maya Moran auditioned, she was another flute player.

Before Jimmy Chaudoin auditioned, he was just a saxophonist.

Before Andrew Hilgendorf auditioned, he was just another member of the basses and the saxophones.

But then, they were given the opportunity to be a drum major. The big man on the stand. The one in charge of the band.

Maya Moran and Andrew Hilgendorf help Olivia Braun pick a song for the band to play during pep band.

They all learned how to conduct the “Queen Opener,” a song from the previous year that each used to audition, as well as provide answers to questions like why they wanted to be a drum major and what are qualities of a good leader.

“I just gave honest answers to the interview,” said Chaudoin. “Too many people think that you have to say exactly what the interviewers want to hear. But if you spit knowledge, it’s game over. So there was nothing really too stressful about this.”

After being chosen as the four drum majors, they all went to a professional band camp at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, where they learned how to perform as a drum major. They learned different cues that go into conducting a halftime show, as well as the different commands to give to the band. It was then time to put everything they learned to the test.

“At actual band camp, it was kind of a shock to the system because Mr. Pavlik and Mr. Riddle pretty much gave us control of the band for a lot of the time, and we had never had that much power before,” said Braun. “I think we got the hand of things by the end of the week.”

As the marching season got underway, each began to divide up which of the songs in the Green Day themed show, chosen by directors Mr. Riddle and Mr. Pavlik, they would conduct. Moran ended up conducting “Holiday,” Braun with “Still Breathing,” Chaudoin on “Good Riddance,” and Hilgendorf finishing with “Bang Bang.”

“I loved the rush of conducting,” said Moran. “It was incredible to have the crowd behind you, the stadium lights lighting up all the instruments, the adrenaline and the pressure that we had to make sure the show ran smoothly. It was incredible to conduct. I would not trade the experience for the world, it was truly incredible.”

As well as performing for halftime, each had a different part of the season they enjoyed. These four drum majors were the most enthusiastic the band has seen in

At their first pep band game, the drum majors joined in a kickline at the end of the night, with Jimmy Chaudoin conducting “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

awhile. During pep band on the sideline, there was not a moment where you didn’t see one of them dancing like mad.

For Hilgendorf though, his favorite part was for sure the Homecoming Pep Rally: “My favorite part was when Jimmy ripped off my shirt during the pep rally,” said Hilgendorf. “That was pretty wild. Other than that, I liked hyping up the band with the other drum majors with our sick dance moves.”

As the marching season came to a close, the drum majors looked back on how they did this year. How they performed, how they hung out with each other, how they loved being apart of the wonderful family that is marching band.

“I can’t even put into words how much I loved that

all of us drum majors were friends who would go crazy during pep band and there was no judgement or anything,” said Braun. “It just gave pep band the best vibe and made the best memories.”

Jimmy Chaudoin and Andrew Hilgendorf pretend to fight at the Homecoming Pep Rally. Chaudoin ended up tearing Hilgendorf’s shirt apart.

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