Due to rapid growth and a surge of interest from within and elsewhere, the San Luis Obispo High School Band has gone through many changes of late. Perhaps none so drastic as the implementation of a new system with which the band will select its Drum Major, the foremost student leadership role in the organization.
Not sure what a Drum Major is? Think somewhere in between captain and coach on a football team. The DM is responsible for running rehearsals, scheduling events, leading the band in a parade, and conducting the ensemble during its halftime show.
This year, instead of electing only one Drum Major as per usual, two were given the title: one Head (myself) and one Assistant. Junior Christian Cueto was that Assistant Drum Major this past season, and is on track to move up to the top spot next year. Expressions interviewed Cueto to further inquire about the nature of his position.
Expressions: How did you feel when you were told that you would be the Assistant Drum Major?
Junior Christian Cueto: Anxious at first, then happy. I had been waiting for a few days to find out, so when I was told it was a relief.
Expressions: What kind of pressure did you experience this past year, and what kind of pressure do you expect for next year?
Cueto: There wasn’t too much pressure on me personally this year, it mostly came to you. There was the problem that the band has had the last few years as well, which is that it’s growing exponentially. With the band growing, the leadership needs to grow along with it. So, it was sort of stressful knowing that I was setting the example of what an Assistant Drum Major at SLOHS would look like.
Expressions: What did you learn from the 2017 season that you will take with you to 2018?
Cueto: The biggest thing I saw was said in the last response: the band is growing and the leadership needs to evolve too. There’s beginning to be too many musicians for the amount of section leaders and band board to instruct and help out, so next year we’re hoping to implement some relatively new systems for how to get information across to the marchers when we’re out on the field. Finally, I’ve mostly just been using techniques Noah uses to teach the band, and what works and what doesn’t.
Expressions: What’s one thing you’d like people to know about the Drum Majors?
Cueto: It’s definitely difficult to lead one hundred people in the right direction, and it comes with a lot of stress. But, you and I sometimes kick back, relax, and enjoy ourselves when we can. We have a lot of fun going to movies and out to lunch occasionally on weekends.