A dream come true: Anderson leads the HHS marching band as drum major


(Courtesy of HHS Marching Band)

Senior Brandon Anderson and his mother Maria Anderson walk out together during the Senior Night football game.

 The hot sun beats onto the stadium bleachers, as the drum major climbs up onto the podium. Standing in anticipation as he waits to begin directing. He lifts his arms up as the instruments begin to sound.

     Senior Drum Major Brandon Anderson has played in the Highlands marching band for more than five years. He dedicated much of his time and effort towards music, even writing and producing original songs in his free time.

     It has always been a dream of Anderson to become a drum major, as many of the past drum majors have been role models and friends to him. 

     “This was my dream since middle school, and I’m ecstatic that I have this opportunity this year.”

     Some responsibilities that Anderson has as a drum major is to be a leader and role model towards his fellow marching band students, along with helping lead the band in performance. 

     Drum majors act as a visual aid, as they do this through conducting, which helps keep time for the songs. 

     At Highlands, only seniors are allowed to apply to be drum major. The application process to become a drum major begins with a handwritten essay submission about their skills and intentions, along with videos of them conducting during different time signatures and tempos. Staff members then look through the auditions and pick who they think will lead the group the best.

     Trying out for drum major is no easy task, according to fellow marching band student Senior Alix Tibbs, as it takes “serious dedication and love to lead a group of musicians.”

     There are complications when it comes to learning new skills that come with being a drum major, but this can be dealt with through hard work and practice. According to Anderson, his biggest challenge is conducting just right, where it is not too slow or too fast. 

     “I have to memorize tempos and make sure my timing is spot on when those tempos change. There’s also a performance aspect to conducting. The whole band is watching me, and if I have a lot of energy and passion in my conducting, they have a lot of energy and passion in their marching and playing.”

     Music and leadership have been a part of Anderson’s life for a long time.

     According to his mother, Maria Anderson, her son also makes sure that everyone is happy, motivated, and is doing their part to help the band be successful and win competitions.

     “He has this really unique way of listening to people and connecting with them, through his great sense of humor and just by being a really good, caring person. He is a natural leader, doesn’t mind being in the spotlight, and has a lot of pride for his marching band and school.”

     Along with this, Anderson is known for his dynamic personality, determination, and talent in the arts and leadership positions. 

     It is apparent to Band Director Lori Duncan, color guard instructors, and his fellow marching band students that Anderson is a terrific drum major and is a great motivation for them, according to Anderson’s mother. 

     “I feel enormously proud of Brandon in his role as drum major, and really feel he has gained a lot from this experience already. It is a really big honor for him to represent the marching band for Highlands, a school that excels in all aspects through academics, sports, and the arts. It is an experience I know he will never forget!”

     Anderson’s favorite part of being a drum major is being in the position of a leadership role and being able to motivate all of his friends and peers. 

     “I love that I get to see the whole show for what it truly is, and I get to be a figure of support for every single member in the band. Marching band has always been family to me, and I am just so excited that I get to bring that environment to those who are just starting, as well as those who have been in this group for a while.”