A Second Chance

What happens when you’ve dreamed for years of being drum major, but that dream doesn’t come true? you try again.

Photo by Catina Anderson

After the long and grueling audition process had ended, the day had finally come for the next year’s drum major to be announced. All us hopefuls rushed down to the band room to see whose name was posted, and as I looked upon it, my name wasn’t there.

The Aftermath

I went home extremely sad. The world had seemed to stop, and all that I could think about was the fact that I wouldn’t be conducting the band next year. For the rest of the week, everyone kept talking about the next marching season, and it was the last thing I wanted to think about. After a couple weeks, though, all was back to normal, and everyone who had tried out accepted the new drum major, my friend Ty.

Back when we were freshmen, Ty and I had vowed to be drum majors together. He and I had bunked near each other at band camp, both played saxophone— alto for him and tenor for me—and were bus buddies throughout the season, so we spent much time together.

Now there was just one problem: only one open position. Ty was going to be our new drum major.

I was jealous at first because it was a position I had desired greatly, but I realized that he had nothing to do with the decision, and there was no reason to be mad at him. There was still hope for me to join him the following year, so I approached my next year with a positive outlook.


Soon after the year started, though, I started picking apart every single thing that our drum majors did and felt that I could do better had I been chosen. No matter how hard I tried to ignore the petty mistakes like yelling a wrong command occasionally, conducting random beats every now and then or forgetting a minor crescendo, they irritated me to no end.

Getting over not being chosen as drum major is one of the biggest things for anyone who doesn’t receive the honor. What made it possible for me besides the fact that I had another chance was that I could make a difference at my level in the band.

There are so many ways to stay involved: help the band raise money, manage the drill on the field, make sure every line is dressed, keep your section in check, be a section leader. Anytime that our director needed help with something, I was there. If there was any band function, I made sure to have a hand in its success. I spent more time working with the underclassmen in both saxophone sections. These actions allowed me to be productive and not hinder the efforts made by the drum majors.

Round Two

Our season came to an even better end than our previous one did, but all I could think about was the next drum major audition. To ensure that I was the best person for the job, I practiced all the necessary conducting patterns, shouted my commands with pride, perfected my roll step and boosted my self-confidence.

At the same time, I showed my dedication by working with our previous drum majors and our director to ensure that everything I practiced was correct.

Maintaining good self-confidence is extremely important, but it is one of the hardest things to do after a previous defeat. A drum major needs to have the confidence to know that he can start and end the band without a single slip.

I also felt concerned that if I got the title, there would be two senior drum majors and thus no one to help the new drum majors the next year. I would also be leaving only one person on my instrument in the band.

Then I reminded myself that Ty and I said we were going to be drum majors together, and I was able to block out all my worries during the audition.

The Verdict

I went through the excruciating process all over again and awaited my fate. I rushed down to the band room to see the results when the day came. This time it was my name that appeared. All of my work to prepare for the audition paid off.

We had an amazing season because our band won every competition we competed in. In addition Ty and I received first place every time that there was a drum major award. These achievements proved to me that working for the goal was worth it.

About author

Tom Dombrosky

Tom Dombrosky is a senior at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va., and plays tenor saxophone. Next year he plans to attend Virginia Tech and play in its marching band.