Drum majors ready to lead H-F’s marching band

  Homewood-Flossmoor High School drum majors,
  from left, Michael Colton, Nacyla Mitchell and
  Simone Williams.
(Photos by Marilyn Thomas/H-F
When the 200-member Homewood-Flossmoor High School marching band takes the field this school year, they will be led by three drum majors.
Teacher and band director Sarah Whitlock has selected Michael Colton, Simone Williams and Nacyla Mitchell for this special honor. It’s an important leadership role for the three seniors who will direct the band and act as intermediaries between Whitlock and the eight band sections.
The band’s first performance this year will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3, at Irwin Park in Homewood. They will be on the football field at every H-F home game, and may travel to other games. They perform at H-F pep rallies and they can be seen around Homewood and Flossmoor at parades and festivals.
  High School band uniforms
  are organized for the start
  of the band season. This
  year 200 students are
  in the marching band.

“When I started in 2009, I had 83 kids. Today, with 200 band members, you can see we’ve grown a lot, and we couldn’t do what we do without these guys,” she said of the new drum majors and their leadership team.
Thanks to the Band Parents Association, Michael and Simone spent a week in July at the Smith Walbridge Drum Major Clinic at Eastern Illinois University perfecting their leadership roles, their abilities to conduct and marching routines. 
An estimated 400 students from across the country attended the camp. They were divided into bands of 60 to 80 students. Within the band, students divided into squads of six students. The H-F students were on a squad that earned top honors at the end of camp.
“We had drills that we had to lead and execute, and so we had to memorize drills and make up our own and they judged us on that, and we won,” Simone explained.
“I am so excited for this year,” Michael said. “We learned so much. A lot of it was marching basics. I feel like that was not only to get us in the mindset” so the drum majors can teach others, but “to get us into a disciplined state because marching band is a disciplined activity. This year we’ll have 200 individuals doing the same thing with the exact timing. You need to have a good deal of discipline within your self and the ensemble.”
The three drum majors have agreed to follow a technique learned at camp and break up the H-F band into squads of five or six students. The smaller groups will make it easier for the more experienced band members to help the freshmen and sophomores. 
“First, it’s amazing to have 200 individuals who want to be here but it is difficult to direct that group,” Michael explained. “We have awesome section leaders and Mrs. Whitlock and all are amazing, but I feel like the squad system will allow for more individual help.”
“You can get so much more accomplished” with smaller groups, Nacyla said. “It’s amazing to see the product that comes out once you see everyone working so hard at something.”
Michael, the son of Bob and Anne Colton of Homewood, plays trombone. Simone, the daughter of Stacy and Reggie Williams of Flossmoor, plays the clarinet and is also a member of Viking Choir. Nacyla, the daughter of Nacosia and Cedric Mitchell of Flossmoor, plays the flute. She plans to major in music education in college. The three each had a leadership role with the band last school year.
This year, they will be working with the leadership team of:
  • Flute: Brianna Callahan, Amelia Chu, Victoria D’Astici
  • Clarinet: Adriana Al-Amin, Maleah Bess, Amya Hampton, Josephine Ilori
  • Saxophone: Max Dunlavy, Matthew Harkins
  • Trumpet: Ethan Bosch, Taylor Tomlin
  • Mellophone: Audrey Brown
  • Trombone: Xavier Branch, Robb Hallam, Richardo Martinez
  • Low brass: Chloe Gallery
  • Percussion: Lily Callen, Stephen Morrow

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