• Adam Prescott Chosen OSU's 51st Drum Major

    • By J.C. Pennington
    • May 2001

    After an intense competition with five other candidates, sophomore Adam Prescott of Elyria, OH was selected as the Ohio State Marching Band's 51st drum major Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Prescott served last year as the assistant drum major. Freshman Eric Sommer of Avon Lake, OH finished second and will serve as assistant drum major next season.

    " Tryouts are probably the most pressure packed day," Prescott said.

    " Doing actual games is filled with pressure but they are a lot more fun because you know you are going to have the crowd supporting you. But tryout day is really stressful because you want to have your chance to do it," he said.

    The OSUMB is more than tradition. It is an institution. It works hard to maintain the standards that have been set. That was in evidence at the tryouts as more than 20 judges participated in grading the drum major candidates. Six of those judges were former OSU drum majors including Cryril Costoff (1944), Joseph Myers (1945) and Beverly Moseley (1946). Shelley Graf, OSU's first female drum major (1981), was one of the judges who knew what the candidates were going through.

    " It's really grueling out there with the band standing behind you and the fans out in front of you. You just want to do the best you can do," she said.

    What the candidates had to do was perform in three separate competitions. The first was held inside the WHAC. With the Spring Athletic Band playing the "Ramp Entrance," the candidates started at the west end zone and strutted to the 35-yard line, performed the toe touch with the baton, the salute and backbend and then marched and twirled to the east end zone for the goal post toss. Pressure? Three of the candidates dropped the goal post toss. Prescott was not one of them.

    " In tryouts you always worry that the slightest little mistake might be the difference in four years worth of work." said Prescott.

    " In the stadium you can relax a little bit, have a little bit more fun. You know you are going to have five or six games to prove yourself. You never want to make a mistake but you can have a little bit more fun with it. Obviously when you have 100/000 people cheering for you it's a lot easier to get motivated," he said.

    The second and third parts of the competition moved outside to the artificial turf used by the field hockey team. First, each candidate performed a twirling routine to music played by the band and selected by the OSUMB staff. The final part of the competition was a series of five high aerial tosses with the baton.

    Prescott, in pre-law with a double major in economics and philosophy, said, "I don't know if I can even express how important this was to me. I've been thinking about this everyday for the last four years of my life. I'm kind of in shock a little bit. I'm not quite sure how to handle it."

    Graf said it for him, " It will be the thrill of (his) lifetime," she said. "Actually there are only 50 people who have ever been the drum major of The Ohio State University Marching Band. This will be 51. So it's quite a thrill and very much an honor to ever say that I had the pleasure and the honor to be a part of this group. This was the thrill of my life to be the Ohio State drum major," she said.

    Graf has maintained her association with the band through appearances with the Alumni Band. " I still do perform with the Alumni Band, I've traveled to Germany, Japan and Ireland with the band. There is nothing like it. When I get out and perform with the Alumni Band it all comes back and it's still the thrill of a lifetime."

    Prescott was not thinking about a future with the Alumni Band after winning the competition. " I'll take a little time off, maybe a couple of weeks and then I'm going to start a whole new training regimen. I'll talk to some coaches here at Ohio State maybe some nutritionists and get on a whole new training regimen, try to add some new things that hopefully haven't been done before and put my own mark on the position," he said.

    Prescott's most immediate plans were to celebrate with family and friends. "I'll visit with my family, have some good food and not worry about having to work out.