First All-Female Drum Major Duo at Central Michigan University

Photo of Jordan Healey.

With no prior musical experience, Jordan Healey joined band for the first time as a high school junior. Now as a junior in college, she joins Gabrielle Bass in the first all-female drum major duo to lead Central Michigan University’s Chippewa Marching Band.

“It feels so surreal that I’m making history with Gabbie, and it’s definitely an empowering feeling knowing that we’re inspiring other women in music and marching band,” Healey says.

The band hasn’t had a scarcity of female leadership, though. Evie Schmidt led the band as “majorette” with no “drum major” counterpart from 1941 to 1942.

The band’s current director, Dr. James Batcheller, sees potential in everyone, according to Bass. This year’s monumental occasion came together through a combination of skill, leadership, and good timing, she adds. “I fell in love with the Chippewa Marching Band, and I wanted to be their person—I wanted to serve them, and it’s an absolute honor,” Bass says.

The drum majors will continue to foster the band’s inclusivity. “We want to make sure that every single member, no matter where they’re from, what they believe, or what they’ve been through, has a home in the band,” Healey says.

About author

Kacie Brown

Kacie Brown was a member of the Pride of Broken Arrow from 2012 to 2016. She is now an associate instructor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she is pursuing a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance as a student of Dr. Otis Murphy. She completed a Bachelor of Music degree with a certificate in journalism at Indiana University in 2020. In 2019, she won the inaugural Elise Hall Competition for Emerging Saxophonists and has performed at the U.S. Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, and the Society of Composers, Inc., National Student Conference.

Mary Karen Clardy

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