Saturday, March 24 at the annual "Red and White" spring scrimmage in Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the University of South Alabama Jaguar Marching Band will announce a new drum major. Cody Salter, a senior in Mechanical Engineering from Theodore, has served as the Jaguar Marching Band's first and only drum major in the three-year history of the ensemble. On Saturday, Salter will pass the mace to a new leader.
"It's bittersweet," says Dr. Ward Miller, Director of the Jaguar Marching Band. "I've worked with and observed drum majors in a variety of high school and college programs across the country, and I can say without a doubt he is the best I've ever seen. His musicianship, leadership, and performance abilities have been so impressive. At the same time, this marks another milestone in our band's short but impressive history."
Salter's successor will be chosen from the three remaining finalists auditioning today on the USA campus. All three students have marched in the band for one season, and have already passed a rigorous process to come this far. Candidates had to be nominated by student leaders within the band, attend workshops with the current drum major, and then complete a written application. Those selected from the written application had to be interviewed by the Jaguar Marching Band faculty and staff before advancing to a round of conducting tests with the University Symphony Band.
Today's final audition will take place at 2PM on the band's rehearsal field along Old Shell Road, next to the Mitchell Center. Each candidate will demonstrate the physical abilities required to become drum major, most notably the famous downfield high kick from the band's traditional pre-game show. In addition, the candidates must demonstrate their marching fundamental teaching ability with a group of students. The new drum major's announcement on Saturday, March 24 will signal a world of responsibilities for the student chosen to lead the band. Dr. Miller elaborated on those duties.
"There's so much more to being the drum major than the pre-game high kick and conducting the band. The drum major serves as a staff member in rehearsals, as a conflict resolver amongst band members, and as an ambassador to the rest of campus and to the community at large. The drum major is the face of our band."