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Drum Majors Plan To Conquer VBODA

Senior drum major Khalayia Harris directs the Marching Royals at the halftime show during the Dinwiddie home football game.

Senior Khalayia Harris stands with butterflies in her stomach as she raises her arms above the band at halftime. For two years, she has been looking to the podium for directions but this year she is standing on that podium.

Harris shares the job of drum major with Senior Jonathan Rowell. Rowell has been in band for three years and enjoys sharing the critical role with Harris.

“It’s an honor and privilege to work with another person who’s kind and is great with people, with addition benefits of having another perspective with the band,” Rowell said.

The chemistry is strong between the two majors, it is helping the band’s chemistry and merging together as a whole. With many different moving parts in the halftime show, the movement and chemistry of the band can be the difference between a spectacular show and an average one.

But with the roles being shared, it does not make their duties any easier. From conducting the show every Friday and competitions, providing advice to fellow members, and assisting Mr. Warnock, the majors stay busy.

Being a drum major is a position that they have worked hard towards for many months or even years, “You have to try out and write an essay on how you can benefit the band,” Harris said.

Being drum major is not just conducting the band or helping lead, it is being passionate about the program the students are in. “First, it’s fun,” Harris said. “It is so special to me because my mom was the drum major at her high school [Petersburg High School]”.

With big shoes to fill, Harris still gets nervous before a show but as soon as she steps on the podium it all fades away. Nervousness can be frightening at times but it can lead to a sense of motivation to make the halftime show flow smoothly.

This year, the marching band halftime show is Latin American-themed with the name Latin. Mr. Warnock chooses the theme, but it is the band’s job to execute it. The theme is very important for the overall feeling that the band conveys.

Other than the halftime show, the band competes in various competitions around the state.

So far they have traveled to two competitions, Hermitage and Spotsylvania, with the next one in Hanover. That will be their last competition for the band before the VBODA.

The VBODA is the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association that judges the marching band on many different aspects including general effects, marching and maneuvering, music, and a drum line.

They will compete with over 90 bands across the state of Virginia.

“The goal this year is to get a superior rating at the state competition,” Harris said.

In order to earn the superior rating, they will need to score 90 or above out of 100 in the categories.

Both majors have a high expectations for the band this school year. In 2015, the band scored in the 80’s and got an excellent rating.

“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Rowell said. “But this year is amazing and is looking only to get better.”

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