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Sarah Beth Johnson reflects on her three years as Rider band’s drum major.

Q/A with senior drum major Sarah Beth Johnson

October 26, 2022

Sarah Beth Johnson has been the drum major at Rider band for the past three years. She was thrown into the position as a sophomore, but grew passionate about it enough she has plans to turn music into a career.

Johnson sat down with The Rider Chronicle to talk about her challenges, experiences and plans.

Q: What was it like to be the band’s leader for the past three years?
A: It’s definitely been an interesting experience, being the drum major sophomore year was a lot. I was thrown into it, but I feel like I got a really unique opportunity to grow as a leader for the past three years. I’ve learned something new every year and even this year I felt like I’ve gotten a lot of experience. I have really great leaders behind me to lead the band together, and I think we do a really great job.

Q: What is overall the best part of being the drum major?
A: The best part is having so many people that I can have fun with. When you’re in band you have your group of people and then you combine your sections. I get to interact with so many different people from various grade levels, aside from instruments. We have a really diverse group of people in band along with being really nice to interact with all of them.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of being a good band leader?
A: The most challenging part is learning your struggles and working through them. I was thrown into it during sophomore year so I didn’t really know what I was doing. You’re put under a lot of stress and you’re in the spotlight a lot, even having to get past what people thought of me because you’re in front of 180 people every single day. I had to tune out what everyone thought of me every day.

Q: Was being the drum major more difficult or straightforward than you thought?
A: It’s overall been more straightforward. Sophomore was hard, but ever since I’ve had a lot of fun even if sometimes it was difficult.

Q: What do you want to accomplish your senior year, both personally and within band?
A: For my whole senior year I want to focus on music, it’s what I want to go to college for. My goal through this year is to create the best group and the best culture we can. In short, create the best show we can, we’re not really competing this year so we’re just trying to perform every week at football games.

Q: What’s your favorite memory of band?
A: There’s so many, definitely my favorite memories is when we go out of town. My overall favorite memory has been state solo and ensemble last year. Me and my best friends roomed together and spent the night eating ice cream on our bed and watching random YouTube videos. It was a fun moment even with a stressful event.

Q: How have you changed your freshman year and why?
A: I came into my band freshman year because my friends were doing it, I didn’t have a lot invested in band. It has absolutely changed, since I was drum major I got to see more into how it works. It’s become something I don’t want to go through life without. I want to major in music education and I’m super invested in it.

Q: What do you want to do after high school? Why?
A: I want to become a band director, I love music and being around it. I don’t think I can’t live without being around marching band. It really changed me and I would love to change that for someone else.

Q: Last message to your team. What do you want them to know?
A: Follow the standards of the people who came before you. People have came before you and made a legacy, you get to carry that on. Every single person in the band is going to get to carry that legacy. What we do now is going to create what we do later.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Trae Stouard
Trae Stouard

Trae Stouard is a senior staff writer with The Rider Chronicle. His favorite thing to pass the time in the summer is to play cards with his grandparents....

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