Q&A: Get to know the 2022-23 band drum majors
October 31, 2022
The 2022-23 band drum majors were announced during April of 2022. Senior Suhani Rana is serving as the head drum major and senior Kaitlyn Lutz, junior Charlotte Kimball, junior Chan-hee Kim and sophomore Steven Solis Welch are drum majors.
What made you start band and what instrument do you play?
Head drum major Suhani Rana: “The reason I started band was [because] of defiance [against] my mom [since she] wanted me to do orchestra. [Another reason is because] I always thought the flute was interesting, [so] I [now] play the flute and piccolo. I [also] saw the [high school] marching show in eighth grade and thought it looked really cool and was like, ‘I want to do that too.’”
Drum major Charlotte Kimball: “It was really the entrance into fifth grade when [I was] introduced to all of the different electives in middle school and was like, ‘oh band sounds like a lot of fun’. [Band] seemed like such a big family [and] it seemed like I would have fun, [so] I joined. I play the flute and piccolo [because they’re] the instruments I was best at.”
Drum major Steven Solis Welch: “Since elementary school, I always looked up to the Hebron band, so I always [knew I] wanted to join [the band.] So when we got the opportunity to join band in sixth grade, I signed up. I played the saxophone and I think in fifth grade when we had our little tryout with the instruments, I thought the saxophone looked cool and fun, so I chose [it] and I got selected.”
Drum major Chan-hee Kim: “I was in band in middle school and heard from a lot of people that being in [the school’s] band is a really nice transition into high school because you get to know a lot of people, so I think [I joined mainly] for the community aspect. I play the flute and piccolo. We had a tryout of different instruments [going into middle school] and they gave me the option of playing the clarinet or flute, but my brother plays the clarinet and I wanted to be different. My middle school director assigned the piccolo to me in eighth grade, so I tried [and ended up] continuing it.”
Drum major Kaitlyn Lutz: “I started [band] in sixth grade because I really liked how the flute sounded and [decided] that’s what I wanted to [learn] in band. Then I just stuck with it and now I’m here.
What made you want to apply as a drum major?
Rana: “Initially I applied because I thought they looked cool. I didn’t get it my first time [when I tried out my freshman and sophomore year.] I’m honestly glad I didn’t, because I didn’t realize how much effort is put into being a drum major. After I started doing more leadership activities [such as being] the squad leader my sophomore year, I then got drum major [my junior year and senior year] from there. It was an easier transition because I was more prepared for the role [since] I had a little bit of a taste of all the background work that they have to do.”
Kimball: “I learned about drum major [in] seventh grade. Just watching the marching band as a whole is like ‘oh my goodness, this is so cool’ and then I saw the drum majors and [thought] ‘wow, they’re conducting the entire band’ [and] that is just such a big responsibility. I wanted to be able to learn the skills and know how to handle that responsibility and do what they do.”
Solis Welch: “A big thing that made me want to do it was last year’s drum majors. I really looked up to [them] a lot. The drum major team from last year and also [the] leaders in general got me thinking about leadership. As the season and year went on, I actually started thinking about [wanting to be a] drum major.”
Kim: “I was really touched by the previous drum majors that graduated last year — just their dynamic and how they were as people. I wanted to be like them for newcomers and current members as well in the band. I thought that they were respectable people and I wanted to be that line of support for someone else.”
Lutz: “I wanted to apply because I wanted to serve a bigger purpose in the [band] program. I wanted to leave a greater legacy behind when I graduate and impact underclassmen in band to make [their experience more] positive.”
What do you want to be in the future and how does being a drum major help you prepare for that?
Rana: “I actually want to go into computer science and work, namely, in AI cybersecurity. Computer science is a really extensive field and it requires a lot of work, so I feel like being a drum major would help me with that, because as a drum major, you’re not only managing your own time and problem solving your own issues, you [are also having] to do that for the rest of your team. [It’s not only] like the leadership team, but [also] the [entire] band itself. There’s kids who come up to you at 2 a.m. after a competition and [are] like ‘I lost my right shoe, help me find it’ [and] things like that. [These experiences] really helped me have patience with others and learn how to think creatively to get problems solved in the most efficient manner.”
Kimball: “I want to be a trauma surgeon in the future. As a drum major, we have to have a lot of critical thinking and problem solving skills, which is extremely important for a trauma surgeon. [We] also [have to have] a lot of time management because we spend so much of our time at band, [but] still have to manage all of our school activities, clubs and grades. As a trauma surgeon, you’re going to be at the hospital so much doing hospital things, [but] still want to have a life [and I don’t want to] be stuck at the hospital [all the time].”
Solis Welch: “I’ve always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. I think that being a drum major [taught me] a lot about [going forward] no matter what [when] things are tough. Another aspect is that airline pilots work with a lot of people and as drum major you work with everyone, so it’s [taught me] people skills too.”
Kim: “I want to be a surgeon one day, that’s my ultimate goal, and drum majoring is a lot of thinking on the fly, being in uncomfortable situations and lots of pressure. That’s also kind of why I thought drum majoring would be cool, because it kind of brings those topics and those concepts early on so that I can apply them later in my life.”
Lutz: “I’m not quite sure what I want to do right now, [but] I’m kind of leaning toward going into the medical field. I feel like being a drum major, you have to be really organized and you’re constantly answering someone else’s questions. That’s kind of similar to the medical field [with] just helping people.”
How are you able to manage being a drum major and being a student? What motivates you to keep going?
Rana: “I did that by leveling out how many classes I’m taking and working smart rather than working hard. This semester, I’m only taking dual credit and food science, so that lessens a lot of my workload, especially during marching season. [I loaded] more of my heavier classes in the spring because I have college apps going on right now; I’m doing statistics and computer science in the spring, so I’ll have less band-related activities then. [What really helped me is] just managing [my] time and schedule and get everything done as fast as [I] can.”
Kimball: “With the classes I’m taking, medical terminology and principle of health sciences, [it] honestly [isn’t] that bad because I have prior experience [in these subjects, since] I did an intensive over the summer. I [am] able to grow upon [my previous] knowledge so that side isn’t too hard. AP Chemistry, on the other hand, is definitely a lot. I also connect with a lot of seniors and people who have already taken the classes and get my help from them.”
Solis Welch: “I honestly take it day-by-day and week-by-week because there’s so much to do and so many things on my mind. I find the easiest way to take care of it is just looking at it like, ‘today I do this.’ When it comes to drum majoring and classes, [I say to myself] ‘today, I have to get this done,’ so it’s a lot of planning ahead and also relying on the other four drum majors.”
Kim: “Honestly I’m still trying to figure it out, but I think along the way, [I] just try to balance work, home life and being mentally sane, [which] I think I’ve gotten better at [doing.] I look toward my team for support, and I think that’s what’s helping me a lot with control and being stable with all aspects of what I’m doing.”
Lutz: “Luckily, I have very understanding teachers, so they understand the workload that I have. I work with my teachers for assignments, but [with] just any free time that I have, I try to get most of my work done in class. And then [I have] clubs like NHS and heart club that [are] mostly weekend activities for me.”
What is the marching band season like for you?
Rana: “Overall, it goes by so fast because I’m so busy all the time. It starts off pretty simple, [where everyone gets] to know people, [build those] relationships [and see] how the season is [going] to go. Toward the middle, it’s a lot about putting your head down and just working because we have to get through the show, get it fully laid out on the field, get everyone their music [and in their] spots. Toward the end, it’s more of a musical [and] creative aspect, where [we] have to look at the visual effects, the general effects, the music and just combine all of that to create the fully produced show.”
Kimball: “I would say we’re doing pretty well, [but] it’s definitely been very hard. Our drill in music this year is even more complex and intricate than ever before. I have multiple accounts of people saying ‘oh my goodness, I’ve never marched this hard for drill before’ and it’s definitely a lot. It’s also a lot on us drum majors, because with our conducting, we like to display what’s going on in the music, [and] we really want to make sure that we’re displaying that correctly.”
Solis Welch: “We got results on drum majoring in April and at the end of April, [we] already had our first freshman camp and in May we had a smaller camp with the whole band. Throughout the summer, I had a drum major camp, and then started to do leadership stuff and then I started [my drum major duties in the] middle of July. During the season, our only day off during competition is Sundays [and] Wednesdays, but normally as drum major, I still have other stuff I need to do on Wednesday for the band.”
Kim: “Marching season technically starts at the end of the school year, so that’s when we start meeting the new freshman and that’s what generally our job is, to help teach the newcomers how to march [and] be in marching band. Throughout the season, we get [the] show we conduct, learn different cues for our show, and [are] a leader for a lot of people.”
Lutz: “[Marching band season] is a lot of fun. It’s the time of year where everyone in the band is doing the same thing, so we’re all together all of the time. [Being together and] getting to know everybody is really special to me. It’s a heavy workload, but in the end, it’s nice to see what we created together.”
How do you feel you are positively impacting the band students?
Rana: “I think the biggest thing as head drum major is to not let my title affect how I talk to others. I remember my freshman year, [it was] really intimidating and people would be scared to approach [drum majors] and ask questions because [we] were afraid of how [they] would respond. [However], I saw [previous head drum major Andie San Luis and] she was the complete opposite. She was friends with everyone, she was a people person and everybody was really comfortable talking to her. I wanted to make sure it stayed that way, so I made sure to use my authority more [to instill] my trust in [the band members] and [have] them trust me.”
Kimball: “I would hope that I bring happiness to the tribe and really motivate people to keep going, because we’re here almost every single day. It’s definitely a lot because I know people definitely want to get boba with their friends, but they’re at marching rehearsal at 4:30 until 6:45 [p.m.], so I hope that I am motivating them to keep it going.”
Solis Welch: “I think one thing going into being a sophomore [and a] drum major is that people would look at me [and go]‘oh he’s a sophomore not a senior,’ but I think that I’ve actually done a good job in earning respect. I don’t expect to [instantly] have respect, I expect to build connections to where they end up respecting me for who I am, and I think I’ve done that in a good way. I also think that I’m good at being confident, so there’s a lot of people that can see that and look up to me.”
Kim: “What I’m trying to do is be like a branch of support to whoever needs it. [I’m] trying to be a leader who’s there for people because that’s what I felt that [the previous] drum majors had done, [so] that was a goal I wanted to achieve. [I wanted to be] an approachable and relatable drum major to people who need that.”
Lutz: “I try to be patient and kind with everybody even if I’m having a bad day. If someone asks me a question, I try to be understanding of where they’re coming from.”