The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Three New Drum Majors Plan to Create a Stronger Band Community

Jasper Geer, Meghana Kakubal and Katie Stoops, the three 2019-2020 drum majors, prepare to welcome students to band camp. Photo courtesy Jasper Geer

On Thursday May 30, 2019, three new MIHS band drum majors were selected to lead the band in the 2019-2020 school year.

The three rising seniors chosen were Jasper Geer, Meghana Kakubal and Katie Stoops.

“When I found out, I was happy and in disbelief, but the full weight of the announcement didn’t hit me immediately and probably has yet to fully sink in,” Geer said.

Kakubal felt the same way, adding that “being in the Band is being in a community that’s really unique. Where else are you going to find almost 300 teens working together for a single goal?”

Drum Majors are the student leaders of band, responsible for communicating with other band members, conducting, marching, planning and much more.

“They are servant leaders who focus their time and energy on creating environments, systems and teams within the band that work together to help us be successful,” Band Director Parker Bixby said.

The audition process, guided by the current drum majors, is extensive. Hopeful candidates go through an interview, are tested on their twirling and marching skills and give a speech to the entire band class. To select the three drum majors, the entire band votes using a modified ranked-choice voting system.

“The tryout process for drum major can be pretty crazy, but you feel supported the whole way by the band. Everyone wants you to succeed, and it’s a great chance to grow closer with the other students in the final six [candidates],” Stoops said.

All three drum majors chose to try out because they wanted to create a stronger community within the band.

“The band program has given so much to me. This was an amazing opportunity to give back,” Kakubal said.

“I wasn’t originally planning on becoming a drum major; I didn’t think I was the kind of person suited for that role,” Geer said. “But that became my reason for trying out because I wanted to find ways to give kids like me who might not be the loudest or the most socially adept a voice in our band.”

The role of drum major has no set job description; each new drum major brings their own perspective and personality to the job.

“I think that being a good drum major is all about adaptability and flexibility. It’s such a multi-faceted job,” said 2018-2019 drum major Spencer Klein.

Inclusivity in the upcoming year is a common goal among the new drum majors. Similar groups have used drum set wraps as part of the uniform, so that might be an idea for the future.

“With so many people, it’s definitely an intimidating presence to speak to. I know I felt intimidated to stand out in anyway my freshman year,” Kakubal said. “I want to focus on creating more avenues of communication, so that all types of people and personalities can find comfort in sharing their voice.”

As a team, the three drum majors look forward to giving back to the Band and leading it to further success.

“I was ecstatic when I found out. I was in shock and I couldn’t stop smiling,” Stoops said. “I [am] so excited to work with Jasper and Meghana and I [know] that we [will] grow as a team and as friends.”

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