Marching band captains lead on and off the field

Lexi Petroi and Lexi Petroi

From left to right: Kaitlyn Sumner, Jake Bofencamp, Katy Michaels
From left to right: Kaitlyn Sumner, Jake Bofenkamp, Katy Michaels

By Staff Writer: Lexi Petroi

Every team has a captain, every captain has a coach and every coach has a team. No matter what it is, everyone needs a little guidance now and then.

The captain’s job is to lead the team, to be their role models, to show what the coach expects from each teammate. The coach keeps everyone together by motivating and putting all of the trust into the captains to lead the team on.

At Howell High School, the band is the team, the drum majors are the captains, and Mr. Jason Smigell is the coach.

A drum major has a lot of responsibilities. They must conduct the songs on ladders during the half time show, lead the band onto the field and in parades, all while setting a good example for the younger students.

Mr. Smigell carefully selected three dedicated students to take on the this special role.

Auditioning for a spot as a drum major consists of four major parts: conducting, marching, commands, and an interview. You must be at least a sophomore to audition. Although they were challenging last spring, senior Katy Michaels, senior Kaitlyn Sumner, and junior Jake Bofenkamp each earned a spot to demonstrate their leadership qualities.

Michaels has been in band for seven years straight. She got the opportunity to audition her junior year, making this year her second year as a drum major.

“My favorite part of being a drum major is for sure being able to be a leader for the band. It’s like the best feeling ever being up on the ladder during a game directing the whole band. It’s awesome,” says Michaels.

Everyone in the band looks up to the drum majors. This can be a difficult task sometimes.
Michaels said, “The hardest part is the pressure that is put on you. Basically the band and Mr. Smigell is relying on you to conduct the song right, and if it gets messed up, the whole thing might sink.”

Sumner has also been in band for seven years. While juggling a job, school, and band, she still manages time to hangout with friends and write her own music. Even though this is Sumner’s first year as a drum major, she’s been dreaming to be a drum major since eighth grade.

“My favorite part about being a drum major would be standing on the middle ladder conducting in front of the band. When I’m conducting my song, I get so hyped on the ladder and can’t help from smiling and just singing along. You just feel so proud of everyone and I love that feeling,” says Sumner.

Sumner also feels a responsibility for the younger members of the team.

“I also really enjoy being there for the freshmen. I remember my freshman year, having a senior be friends with me always felt so good, so I try to be there for everyone if they ever need anything or just anyone to talk to,” says Sumner.

Being a drum major comes with a lot of responsibilities.

Sumner said, “The pressure can be stressful, but I really like the pressure. I like the clutch moments or the moments where it is all up to you, so for me the hardest part is balancing your social life, school, work, and band.”

Bofenkamp is also rocking his first year as a drum major. He has been in band for six years now. All of his practicing and hard work has earned him a spot to create a path to follow for the younger students.

“I believe if you have more of an experience with band, the better,” says Bofenkamp.
Being that this is Michaels’ and Sumner’s last year at Howell High School, band will always have a special place in their hearts.

Michaels said, “I think what I’ll miss most of all is being a part of the band family. We are all friends even though we come from all different friend groups outside of band class. It’s so cool because we all just come together and get really close no matter what grade we are in or who we’re friends with.”

Being a drum major is an honor for each of them.

“My grandma always told me if you want something, you have to never give up or else you would regret never doing it,” Sumner says.