Stewart Kitchen: 2006-2007

Stewart Kitchen, OSU Drum Major

Stewart Kitchen grew up in a family of Buckeyes. His mother, father, uncles and grandfather all attended The Ohio State University.

“Although I always knew I would attend Ohio State, I did not gain an interest in drum majoring until my family attended the 2002 National Championship Game in Tempe, Arizona. While attending the “Buckeye Bash” prior to the game, I saw Drum Major Adam Prescott perform a solo routine. I was impressed by his athleticism, speed, and charisma. I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do.”

In the winter of 2003, the Drum Major Training Program officially began. High School students were able to attend two practice sessions a week and learn from the drum major and drum major alumni. Kitchen started in the program in 2004 as a senior while most others were sophomores and juniors and was in the first graduating class of the program. The focused training of the program accelerated his development and allowed him to compete at Ohio State with only one year of high school experience.

“With help from my parents, I attended my first Winter Training Session with Kathryn Mitchell and Adam Prescott. Over the years I was fortunate to learn from many alumni drum majors including Oliver McGee (1980), Greg Eyer (1985-86), Bruce Hart (1982-83), Eric Sommer (2004), and Dale Wagner (1989-90).

Kitchen also met with Cyril Costoff (OSUMB Drum Major 1944), who, like himself, had been drum major at Kenton High School (1942-43). “He not only taught me about twirling, but more importantly, the importance of tradition, and many maneuvers forgotten by drum majors over time.”

In Kitchen’s first tryout he won the top spot, beating out several more experienced contestants including the incumbent drum major and assistant drum major. Kitchen led the band at two BCS National Championship Games, but the game that stands out most him is the 2006 Michigan game.” said Kitchen. “Ohio State was ranked #1 and Michigan #2. I remember feeling the electricity in the stadium. When I came out of the tunnel during the ramp, I was blown away by the sound and energy of the crowd.”

In 2006, Kitchen had the honor of leading Jack Nicklaus to his spot as the honorary i-dotter at the Minnesota game (OSU 44-0). Nicklaus told Kitchen of his i-dot experience: “Of all my accomplishments, this is by far the greatest honor I could ever hope for. Thank you so much.”

“It can be difficult to balance the responsibilities of drum major – the preparation, physical fitness, organizing the Drum Major Training Program, twirling, appearances, and most importantly leadership to the band while studying as a full-time student. “I often wondered if I was ever going to excel,” said Kitchen, “and there were many times mistakes were made, but I worked hard, and tried to be the ‘sparkplug’ for our band when they needed it.”