Sabercat Stories: Kira Robinson
While people not familiar with a marching band may hear the words “drum major” and think of a drummer, a drum major is the person who conducts the entire marching band, allowing the wind and percussion players to stay in time, along with the color guard. At Fossil Ridge High School, the marching band has three drum majors: a sophomore, junior, and senior. Drum major “tryouts” occur after spring break, and include an application, an interview with the current drum majors and the band director, Dan Berard, and an audition, where the students trying out will conduct the Wind Symphony as they play the national anthem. Only freshmen are allowed to audition: the goal is that the drum major will learn and grow with the band, and it’s necessary for the success of the band that at least two of the drum majors have a year, or two in the case of the senior, of experience.
Kira Robinson, who conducted her final State Competition on Saturday, October 28, said her favorite aspect of being drum major is being directly in front of the music. “I love getting to have the music just blasted at me. It sort of surges through you and it’s the best feeling ever,” said Robinson. As senior drum major, the responsibility of keeping the band in time often falls on Robinson. It is her job to start the band at the right tempo at the beginning of the show, along with adjusting them for the tempo changes that happen at different parts within the show. “The most challenging part by far is the stress and pressure. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being drum major,” she said.
For Robinson especially, marching band has allowed her to become a much more confident and outspoken person. “I used to be so quiet and now I’m pretty much comfortable talking to anyone,” she said. Though negativity about the program can easily reach her, she said, “You almost have to build a wall around you to block out negativity that tries to reach you. But in general, I haven’t had to do that a lot. The positivity usually makes up for any of the opposite that I experience.” Leadership and communication skills that drum majors, and other band members, learn not only help them in their futures, but also greatly help the younger members of the program. Junior drum major Jessie Griffith stated, “Kira has helped me by being a good role model and believing in me every step of the way. I really can’t thank her enough for all her support.”
Robinson is still unsure if she wants to continue with marching band in college, but thinks that if she does she would like to march and get more experience with something she only did at Fossil for one year. The band ended their competition season on October 28, but still has one more performance at a football game on Thursday, November 2.