The Ones in White

Finding out more about the drum major’s role, responsibilities, challenges, and more


Submitted by AJ Fruehwirth

The three drum majors in front of Liberty’s band marching out to perform for their competition. From left to right, Payton Grotewiel (11), AJ Fruehwirth (12), Leilani Green (11).

Lilly Brown, Reporter

While watching Liberty’s band performance, do you ever notice their uniforms? All in matching blue. However, have you seen the three in all white? The ones who stand on the podiums? Those are Liberty’s drum majors. AJ Fruehwirth (12), Payton Grotewiel (11), and Leilani Green (11) fill this role.

The drum major is the leader of the band. They have many responsibilities from leading and conducting to teaching and assisting in the band. Sometimes even outside of practice/competition things, like being there for band members and solving any problems there are. Fruehwirth states, “You are the example for the band to follow, almost as a student version of the director.”

AJ Fruehwirth leading the band on the podium during the Seckman competition (Submitted by AJ Fruehwirth)

This role requires many different traits. They need to be patient to make sure they can work easily with others. They need to be a good role model to be an example to the band. They need to know the switch of being fun to serious and ready to perform. “Being approachable and easy to talk to” is a trait Grotewiel says is very important.

With great responsibilities comes great challenges. Drum majors have to be the problem solver. They have to solve conflicts in band and try to stay neutral in many situations.

“You constantly have the band’s eyes on you, so all your actions will play down to them, even your mood,” Fruehwirth said.

They also have to get on to the band if they get distracted or out of focus. They are also there if anything goes wrong.

“I’ve dealt with a few nose bleeds,” says Green.

Payton Grotewiel walking professionally across the field during Seckman competition. (Submitted by AJ Fruehwirth)

Being a drum major will help these kids with many things in their future. They can add it on to their experience for applications and resumes and give them prior leadership experience for future positions. “It will really help me to have more personal responsibility, and I think that will help a lot, in college or at a job when it’s on me to get things done,” Grotewiel answers. 

These kids also hope to continue the drum major path outside of high school. All agree that they would either want to be a drum major in college or in DCI (Drum Corps International). “I plan on trying out for Drum Corps International. Basically the major league of marching bands. There l’Il hopefully have my four years as drum major for a corps,” Fruehwirth explains.  There are 46 corps in DCI, so these kids have plenty of options. Green has one in mind, “Blue Devils because they’re the best drum corps in the history of DCI.”

These three are highly respected and looked up to in the band and they hope to inspire future kids to take on the position one day.