Behind the band
Fightin’ Texas Aggie drum majors lead the Noble Men of Kyle on and off the field
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 22:09
When the nationally famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band forms at the north end of Kyle Field at halftime, it is led by the designated drum majors with a mission to uphold that “nationally famous” title.
Throughout the performance, these three top-ranking drum majors make sure the band stays on beat and remains organized, but the responsibilities of their position extend far past the fifteen-minute halftime performance or even the full
Steven Hering, head drum major and senior chemical engineering major, said his biggest responsibility as head drum major is preparing the band for Saturday’s halftime show, a week-long preparation that includes knowing the drill forward and
Sometimes less than 24 hours after their last performance, all three drum majors meet on Sundays to get ready for the next week’s rehearsals. For some members of the band, practice is seven days a week, Hering said.
“Sunday evening we have bugle rank practice where the drum majors and bugle rank learn the drill for the week so we can hit the ground running on Monday with the rest of the band,” Hering said.
The band practices from 7-8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. With the beginning of game day on Saturday, there is little rest for the band.
On gameday morning, the band practices one final time. Cody Ward, Artillery Band drum major, said the drum majors will give some remarks after practice to get the band motivated and mentally prepared for the day.
“Our role before the games is to ensure that the members of the band fulfill all of their pre-game duties such as Spirit Walk and, in some cases, other events such as ESPN College Gameday [last week],” Ward said.
Spirit Walk takes place two hours and fifteen minutes before the football game starts. Beginning at the Clayton Williams Alumni Center, the band leads the football team to its locker room next to Kyle Field, playing the Aggie War Hymn as they march through streets crowded with hundreds of fans.
An hour before the game, the band then leads the Corps march-in. Soon after, the game begins, with the three drum majors leading the Aggie Band every step of the way — carrying on a tradition embedded in the history of Texas A&M.
Adding to this history of tradition, the drum majors also have their own personal pre-game traditions.
Urbane Martinez, senior Infantry Band drum major and senior engineering technology major, said one of his favorite traditions is the
“It is a respect paid from the band to the Memorial Student Center each time the band passes by during a football game march in,” Martinez said. “This symbolizes that we pay tribute to the sacrifices made by those who came before us and honor the fellow Aggies who are no longer able to be with us today.”
Beyond the game day preparation, Hering said a drum major’s commitment to the band extends throughout the year.
“In addition to what you see on field every Saturday, it is also my responsibility to set policies and procedures for the band throughout the year as far as practices and performances go,” Hering said. “That being said, there is no way I could do my job without Cody [Ward] and Urbane [Martinez]. I think sometimes people try to give me too much credit when they work just as hard as I do.”