Published on October 3rd, 2017 | by Yvonne Liu


Adam Katz marches into new position as Drum Major

While most students are waking up for their first period, Adam Katz (’18) and his fellow marching band participants are hard at work on the field rehearsing their music. As a result of  his countless accomplishments, Katz recognizes himself as a passionate and hardworking.With an overall amiable personality, according to his classmates, Katz strives to execute his absolute dedication in his accomplishments.

The drum major is an extremely fundamental position in any marching band: they serve as the leader of the marching band during rehearsals and in performance. In order to become a drum major, one has to complete many thorough requisites. For example, at the end of his sophomore year, Katz was required to fulfill a demanding audition as a part of the drum major position.

“The audition consists of conducting a part of the show from the previous season,” Katz said. “It also includes an interview with Mr. Mckeown and the two current drum majors. Then you serve as an assistant drum major junior year and head drum major senior year.”

Kevin McKeown, the Band Director at Samo, explained the requirements and the process of the position more elaborately.

“It’s kind of a two year process because the big try out is for the assistant position. The assistant, later, gets to be the drum major their senior year,” McKeown said. “So we have a lot of sophomores that try out for the assistant drum major position, going into their junior year. And once the students are selected they’re required to go to a drum major camp, where it trains them how to conduct and trains them how to lead a rehearsal: student leadership.”

Backtracking to the whole history of this drum major position, McKeown provided us with his extensive knowledge.

“The drum major is probably something that’s very historic. If you think about John Philip  Sousa, it’s a leader that would lead a band with a drum major mace, so it comes from a very military background,” Mckeown said. “So it’s been around for a very long time, a lot of people have been drum majors at Samo including myself in 1991.”

As previously stated, this position has been around for quite a while, so it could only lead outsiders to believe that it’s challenging to achieve. Drum majors are quite significant, for they also handle numerous tasks in a marching band. Like any prestigious positions, not only is the role difficult to earn but it involves a great commitment to fulfill.

“The drum major helps run rehearsals, is the conductor and keeps time for the band,” Katz said.

The drum major is an intense, yet also favorable position. Even though this position is extremely difficult, McKeown still believes that Katz was a perfect fit as a drum major.

“Right away from his freshman year, he carried himself with just a little bit of maturity: the right balance of maturity and still being a kid,” McKeown said. “He was definitely someone who I envisioned, but as he went through the audition process, it was clear that Adam was the perfect choice for the role.”

Based on all the various requirements Katz has achieved to earn this position, it is apparent that Katz is exceedingly ambitious and diligent. Furthermore, it was always his intention to become a drum major at Samo. Consequently, not only did Katz possess the requisites, but he also acquired the exclusive deep passion and devotion for this particular role.

“Ever since my freshman year it has been my goal to be a drum major,” Katz said.

Along with Katz’s genuine passion for music as a drum major, he also plays clarinet and bass clarinet, both of which he plans to continue in the future.

“I plan to continue pursuing music but not as a professional musician,” Katz said.

Maya Goren (’19), a fellow marching band musician, described his intelligence and overall personality.

“This is my third year knowing him, since I joined marching band,” Goren said. “He’s a really good drum major: he keeps the beat in tempo really well and he’s really nice and supportive.”

Without a drum major, a marching band can simply not exist. Essentially, the whole marching band revolves around this one sophisticated role. With Katz serving as the drum major, the Samo marching band will certainly continue to flourish and prosper. Although this role took much effort and dedication for Katz, the process gave him insight on his capability for the numerous achievements in the future.

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