The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Sadie Bodzin
Sadie Bodzin
Culture Co-Editor

New City Drum Majors March On

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Esther Puderbaugh
McKay, Kenyon, and Owens conduct at the first game of the year

No football atmosphere is complete without the boom of a marching band. For City, this year brings three new student leaders of the band, also called drum majors. 

According to Drum Major Chloe McKay ‘24, a drum major’s main role is to help lead the members of the marching band. 

“I have to be a leader in the band and try and connect the directors to the kids,” McKay said. 

On the day-to-day, drum majors help lead the band class. 

“It’s pretty much the highest student leadership position you could have,” said Janie Owens ‘25, another of the three drum majors. “Every morning [we] have to go and have to set up [the] ladders, get the speakers [and] the metronome, and get all the equipment out on the field. [In terms of leadership,] it’s like the band directors [then] and the drum majors [and then] the BLT which is the Band Leadership Team (section leaders).”

On Friday game nights at Bates Field, however, the role and responsibilities of a drum major is more involved. 

“Before pregame (when the band comes out onto the field and plays before the game), we have practice [and] we usually practice about an hour before we go out. We start with pregame [which includes] the freshmen and then after that, we will move on to halftime show with just the sophomores through seniors,” said Head Drum Major Edward Kenyon ‘24. “So [our job on Fridays is] just running through anything that we need to work on and just practicing for the performance. Once we get down to the field, we set up off-field for our pregame show. Pregame is pretty simple. Halftime is where the real marching comes out. And so we [also] conduct through the show.”

McKay, Owens, and Kenyon attended a camp for drum majors over the summer to learn more about their roles. One of the topics covered was learning more about the sport of football.

“[We] went to a drum major camp and one of the things we went through was football management. And when I read that on the , I was like ‘What is this?’ And they explained what football was and when you can play so you don’t get penalties,” McKay said. “I have to like pay attention during the football games so I know when we’re allowed to play [so we don’t] get penalties.”

For Owens, her goal of eventually being a drum major was inspired by friends of hers who had held the position before her. 

“I always thought that, especially when I was an underclassman, being a drum major would be really cool,” Owens said. “I have two friends, Eva Stadtlander (‘22) and Ella Fast (‘23), who were drum majors. Definitely, I aspire to be like them.”

Owens’ love of marching band also inspired her to want to become a drum major.

“I think band is a unique community because there’s a community in band that you don’t really find on sports teams because in band everybody does it because they enjoy it,” said Owens. “They don’t do it for the competitive aspect or to compete. In marching band, you’re all working towards learning your show [and] getting mastery of your show.”

According to McKay, being a drum major is special to her because it has helped her to get out of her comfort zone.

“I had really bad performance anxiety. To be the person that people have to look at, that’s a big change. And it’s been very nerve-wracking, but I think it’s been good for me to get out of my comfort zone like that.”

Kenyon’s favorite memory of being a drum major so far is the volume of the band at the first home game this year against Joliet Catholic.

“It was really cool to see how we didn’t march [or] anything but the music was just blasting in my face,” Kenyon said. 

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Esther Puderbaugh
Esther Puderbaugh, Executive Editor and Website Editor
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