Drum Majors Keep Band In Line


In the kingdom of high school marching bands, drum majors reign supreme.

They are chosen by the director to lead the bands, provide an example to their members and take responsibility for their performance.


Jaime Smith, 16, Brent Riepel, 17, and Ammon Carter, 15, will lead the Payson High School Marching Band this year as drum majors. They must know everyone's part, motivate the students and show leadership.

Oh -- and direct the jumping jacks.

This year's Payson High School drum majors are a trio of energetic musicians who are pumped to take the band to the state marching band competition.

"We want to show that we're just as good as the bigger bands," said senior Jaime Smith, the apprentice drum major.

The PHS band is about 60 strong, and competes in the 4A division.

Smith will work with two other drum majors during band camp to prepare the band for its half-time show. The band will perform at football games and compete in marching band competitions.

Band camp is composed of a myriad of activities, including music rehearsal, games and marching drills. That's where the jumping jacks come in.

"I try to give different band members tasks important for band camp to build their self-confidence," said senior Brent Riepel, the head drum major. "I let them lead the warm-ups or fill the water coolers."

Sophomore Ammon Carter, the assistant drum major, said he already has plenty of goals for the band this year.

"I would like to improve their marching, playing ability and play more complicated music," Carter said.

This year the show will include music from movies such as "Shrek," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace."

Band director Larry Potvin said he relies upon the drum majors for ideas and help with the band. He said he looks for leadership in his drum majors. In order to be chosen for the job, a student must be at least a sophomore and audition in front of the whole class. They are judged on conducting skills, vocal commands and a salute.

The band exudes excitement, often giggling and joking around with each other. While they're still warming up their chops after the summer break, they're ready for another year.

"I want the band to be unified and get along," Smith said. "This should be a fun experience."

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