Musician of the week: Drum Majors

Drum majors Madalynn Fendrick, Myla McMullen, and Paytin Garvey share their passion for music and leadership in the Elkhart High School West marching band.

Daniela Morales, Editor-in-Chief

PENNANT/GENESIS: What was the process like when auditioning for this role? What was your experience like?


Madalynn Fendrick: The process is fairly simple, we signed up to audition, and they gave us practice material (virtual this year). Usually we would have attended a camp to practice the score but we did not get to do that this year because of COVID. This year our auditions were on google meet and the results were sent out electronically through our band’s Facebook group.


Myla McMullen: We did it on a google meet so it was quite odd. even though I was by myself I was still pretty nervous.


Paytin Garvey: The audition process was a very big learning experience for me because I knew almost nothing about conducting. I started practicing as often as I could, and I also got pointers from Maddie and Myla, who were drum majors last year.


PEN/GEN: How has COVID-19 affected the process? What do you wish would have happened?


MF: There were a lot of things affected by COVID this year, especially with our competitive season being cancelled. We did not have many duties as far as conducting goes because there weren’t really any materials for us to conduct. My favorite part has always been the senior traditions that take place during band camp (we only had 3 days of band camp because of rising COVID cases).


MM: Well it canceled all of marching band season so COVID ruined almost everything. We still got to perform at football games so that was nice. I wish we would’ve been able to have a season.


PG: Covid changed the season completely. Auditions took place over a google meet call, and our normal season was also canceled. I wish we could have had a normal year, but I’m still thankful for the experience.


PEN/GEN: This role contains a lot of leadership, how did you prepare for this?


MF: The leadership I think is something that can be intimidating but is also extremely rewarding. To be honest I didn’t do much to prepare except make sure I had lots of practice time in and extra materials on hand for anyone who might have needed them. This is anywhere from bug spray to bandaids to hand sanitizer.


MM: Trying to become acquainted with everyone. Being cool with everyone allows them to be on the same page as you when it comes to the serious part of the band.


PG: At first I was nervous about being in a leadership position, but then I remembered how much I looked up to the drum majors my freshman year. I knew that I would have to be a good role model for a lot of the new people coming in.


PEN/GEN: What was your inspiration for trying out this role? What made you go for it?


MF: I tried out for drum major because I wanted to test out my leadership abilities and become more involved in the band. I had amazing drum majors my freshman and sophomore year and I really looked up to them.


MM: I always won the leadership award, it made me believe that I was a good leader and thought it would cool to go even further with that.


PG: I looked up to Maddie, Myla, and Elizabeth a lot last year, and I was ready to be that person for somebody else.


PEN/GEN: How do you keep your passion for music alive? Anything specific music that you are attracted to? 


MF: Our band directors help to keep us interested in band and music, by asking for our input on the pieces we play. But honestly I don’t think I’ll ever lose my passion for music. I think it’s so cool that we can pick up an instrument and just know how to play it. My favorite pieces we play are the ones with funky rhythms in them because you can tell that our band genuinely enjoys playing them and hearing it all come together.


MM: Music for sure helps me through hard times, listening, playing, everything. I love all kinds of music and have love for tons of artists.


PG: The main thing keeping my passion for music alive is Jazz band. In class, we go over the specifics of music theory, and we get to play some awesome songs as well. I always love learning new things, and music is no exception to that.