Friday Night’s Alright for Marching: How Drum Majors delegate the Wall of Sound throughout the football season


Tyler Truong

COORDINATING THE CROCODILE ROCK: (Left to right): drum majors June Lee, Brendan Birozy and Bhargavi Deshpande prep for the 2022 field show on a Monday morning.

Noelle Escalante, A&E Editor

Overseeing a sea of white and blue uniforms, the drum majors roll their feet onto the podium for their 2022 show “Elton John.” Seniors Bhargavi Deshpande, June Lee and Brendan Birozy were chosen as drum majors for the 2022 season, each having multidisciplinary backgrounds within music and careers starting as early as elementary school.

“In fourth grade, I played a cello hand-me-down that was blue,” Birozy said. “I was the first chair cellist, and every concert and rehearsal I would pull out this big blue cello, which I played until seventh grade and then picked up bass in middle school.”

Before high school, each drum major watched their older siblings participate in the Northwood band and various orchestra ensembles.

“I started music because of my brother,” Deshpande said. “From when I was in elementary school, I watched him play, and I went to every single one of his concerts growing up.”

Being a drum major requires balancing an assertive demeanor with working as a team. The drum major conducts the band during their field performances, maintaining communication with the other drum majors and the drumline to keep the band playing together and in tempo, even while some members are as far as 90 yards away from each other. Accompanying this is a visible position as the band’s top leadership, working as role models to inspire younger members.

“It’s a lot of having to spread ourselves out, but also rely on each other, because there’s only three of us and 218 people,” Lee said. “Figuring out how to get to all the sections, but also making sure that we’re not spreading ourselves too thin is a really big thing, along with working with leadership is a group effort.”

The best part of having three drum majors is the camaraderie that exists among the team where each has unique strengths to offer.

“All three of us are very different, so it’s been good to have two of us take a step back and demonstrate something else, especially since we’ve all had very different experiences in band,” Deshpande said. “Even though we were all in brass, we had very different musical backgrounds and traditions, and I think it’s important to know when to step back and when to take the lead.”

From leading the band in pep tunes on the stands to packing up their instruments, the drum majors cultivate a familial energy that allows every member to feel safe and comfortable.

“Everyone has a blast helping out at 10:30 at night unloading the trucks and bringing all the gear back into the music room,” Birozy said. “And then afterwards, we’re only running on adrenaline, but still find the time to do sectionals, where we find whatever restaurant that’s open late and hang out.”

Amidst the formalities, a so-called “marching family” is what separates marching band from other extracurriculars on campus. With this, drum majors strive to create a safe and friendly environment that allows everyone to be included, and to be a part of the band.