• Elyria man named OSU drum major

    • unknown
    • May 2001

    Another Elyria High School graduate has won the head drum major position for The Ohio State University Buckeye Marching Band. Adam Prescott, 20, a sophomore at OSU and 1999 graduate of EHS, beat out five other competitors Tuesday to earn the honor of leading the marching band onto the football field and performing a solo baton routine at half-times.

    Eric Sommer, an OSU freshman and 2000 Avon Lake High School graduate, won the assistant drum major position.

    " I'm really excited," said Prescott, an economics and philosophy double major, who served as the assistant drum major this year. "But I'm actually more relieved than excited because I've been worrying about it for the last four years. "The Ohio State band has been recognized as one of the best in the country ... And there's only one guy who gets to wear a different uniform and lead the band," he added. His mother, Etta Prescott, said she is "tickled" about her son's success. "He's wanted this so badly, and he's worked so hard," she said. "I'm thrilled for him."

    Prescott's parents, his brother from California and classmates from EHS attended the tryouts, which took place at OSU's Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Twenty judges evaluated competitors on three events: an opening ceremony, twirling act and five different aerials — throwing the baton into the air and catching it. Both Prescott and Sommer are continuing the Lorain County tradition of Ohio State drum majors. Matt Bally, an EHS graduate, has filled the position for the last two years, and before him, Scott Sommer, Eric's older brother, served for one year as head drum major and for three years as assistant. Prior to Sommer, Corey Thompson, also an Elyria grad, held the position for two years.

    Elyria's current drum major, Bryan McCombs, plans to attend Ohio State next year, and EHS band director Doug Benford said he wouldn't be surprised to see him as a drum major at OSU in the next few years. "I think there's a parallel between what we do at Elyria and what they do at Ohio State," Benford said. "Our pre-games are very similar, and our kids are very well prepared to go down there and compete for those spots. But we've had drum majors there since 1995. It's been a continual stream of well-qualified young men." Ron Sommer, Eric's father, attributes the wealth of Ohio State drum majors from Lorain County to the strong programs at the high schools. "The high school system up here — in Elyria and Avon Lake — have drum majors in their programs, where a lot of other high schools around the area do not have drum majors," he said. "They have majorettes." Etta Prescott said that Lorain County schools simply train their drum majors in the same style as OSU. "There aren't that many twirling drum majors in the world," she said. "It's kind of a unique thing at Ohio State."

    Prescott was selected to be drum major during his sophomore year in high school. "The choosing is based on character; can they lead the people they need to lead," Benford said. "Then they have a short time learning how to do the job." Prescott had never twirled in his life until he was picked at Elyria, said Etta Prescott. But since then, he has been running, lifting weights, doing gymnastics and practicing. Two years ago, he decided to attend Ohio State because of its outstanding band and drum major program. "OSU has been a leader in the major field since the 1920s when they turned the field from just leading the band to showmanship," he said.