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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

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Drum majors begin their cadence into the football season

Meet the drum majors as they share their outlooks, aspirations and advice for both new and returning members.
Drum+majors+Henry+Reachers+24%2C+Sara+Ventriglia+24%2C+and+Audrey+Stevens+24+pause+for+a+smile.
Evelynn Lin ’25
Drum majors Henry Reachers ’24, Sara Ventriglia ’24, and Audrey Stevens ’24 pause for a smile.

Drum majors seniors Audrey Stevens, Henry Reacher and Sara Ventriglia led the 2023 Haven Marching Band through the freshly kicked-off football season.

“I think this is the best band that we’ve had, at least in the past four years, maybe more,” Ventriglia said.

The trio of drum majors’ pride over the band glows.

“Every single year has improved off of the last and I’m sure next year will be even better than this year,” senior Henry Reacher said.

Yet, filling the shoes of previous band leaders has not been an easy endeavor.

“There are certain parts of [being drum major] that are challenging but it’s an incredibly rewarding job,” Ventriglia said.

Reacher steps in to clear up the mystery.

“[Being drum major is] really just kind of making sure everything’s smooth,” Reacher said. “I conduct the band, I lead sections, kind of act like Mr. P’s right hand, but really it’s just kind of making sure everybody has everything they need.”

But being drum major goes beyond just steamrolling the band’s runway.

“A lot of it isn’t actually about the actual conducting that you do, but more about how you present yourself to the band and to the public,” Ventriglia said. “To remember that you’re standing for something that’s bigger than just the band…it’s about like a community and…it’s about creating an environment where people feel safe and where they feel like they can be themselves and do things that they like to do.”

All the work put into the performance side of the marching band seems to get pushed into the margins when examining the band’s core.

“I want people to have fun,” senior Audrey Stevens said. “I feel like I want band to be a place where people have fun and not be stressed and have an inclusive community with lots of different types of people that can all be happy in the same place.”

Community and connection are frequent themes for the drum majors to follow. 

“My biggest goal going into [the season] even before I was chosen for drum major, whether I was chosen for drum major or not, my biggest goals was…trying to make the environment one where upperclassmen, underclassmen all feel like they can talk to each other,” Ventriglia said. “Just create more unity in general, and a more open environment to create space for people to make relationships.”

The open environment includes every band member, including the drum majors.

“I thought [being drum major] looked scary.” Stevens said. “I still do think it’s scary but I’ve gotten a little more confident.”

As this is the last year for a quarter of the band, hopes for a long season have begun buzzing.

“My goals for the band this year [is] if we could make it to states,” Reacher said. “I know this isn’t dependent off of us, but if the football team could somehow make it states this year, which we very nearly did last year and my sophomore year, that would be incredible.”

Whether it’s the first year in band, or the last year, the advice on being in marching band remains consistent. 

“Just enjoy every second of it,” Reacher said. “I think it’s kind of easy sometimes to go, like, ‘I hate that.’ I remember there were times in the past where I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, but as it passed, the stuff I remember now is the good stuff: the fun stuff like the games, some of the fun practices, even like the Orlando trip. So I guess when it sucks just like keep getting through it because you’re gonna get those gems of experience that you wouldn’t be able to get [elsewhere].”

Yet when it all simmers down, the entire band experience seems to balance on outlook and attitude.

“Make it fun,” Stevens said. “Don’t ruin it for yourself by being embarrassed. Just go for it, make new friends, put yourself out there and that’s it.”

DISCLAIMER: The reporter is a field major in the 2023-2024 marching band.

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