Drum majors reflect on marching band's fall season
Alex Gillooly and Glennis Covault are the drum majors for the Heights High Marching Band, under the direction of Brett Baker of the Instrumental Music Department (IMD). This past fall, the marching band performed pre-game and half-time shows during four scheduled home football games. As junior drum major, Covault worked closely with the more experienced Gillooly, who serves as senior drum major.
The central role of the drum majors is to coordinate and implement Baker's vision, which means being ready for anything. As Covault put it, “Mr. Baker once said that our job as drum majors is to make him `useless.' We act as the eyes, ears and hands of Mr. Baker at every level. This has inspired me to constantly be thinking ahead.”
Both Gillooly and Covault agree that their most important responsibility is the steady conducting of the music. “Out in the field," Gillooly said, "the main concern is to make sure that we direct with a very consistent tempo, maintaining eye contact with the percussion and with each other to keep the band together.”
The two leaders support each other. “Alex and I happen to be very good friends and get along very well,” Covault said. Gillooly responded, “Working with Glennis was easy going; we communicated very well, and when one of us was directing the other would walk around and help the band. We both knew what needed to happen to for the band to perform a great show.”
The two drum majors also depend upon fellow student band officers, who, according to Gillooly, are critical for keeping the whole band on the same page: “During performances we rely on the officers to set a good example of how the band should behave and at rehearsal we trust them to keep the motivation and morale of the band high.”
Likewise Covault reports, “The band officers are there to make our job easier. I am very proud of our officers this year. They respected Alex and me and helped us keep control of the band.”
Now that football season is over, Gillooly and Covault are turning their focus back to playing instruments with Symphonic Winds and IMD jazz ensembles. Covault looks forward to the return of marching band next year. “I definitely learned a lot, probably more than I ever have in that short amount of time. It was fun because I got to wear the uniform and be a leader, while I also had to constantly be on par. It really helped prepare me for what I’m going to be doing next year, and there isn’t anyone I would rather assist than Alex.”
Corbin Covault is communications coordinator for the Cleveland Heights High School Band and Orchestra Parents Organization (BOPO).