• Drum major's focus pays

    Life-long dream of leading OSU band comes true for Mitchell

    • By John May, The Lantern
    • May 2003

    Ever since Kathryn Mitchell was a little girl, her father Russ Mitchell said she had an interest in the marching band whenever attending Ohio State football games.

    Now, her father will have more of an interest, as his daughter was named the new drum major of the OSU marching band.

    "She has worked really hard and it's exciting and thrilling for both her and us," said Sallie Mitchell, Kathryn's mother.

    Mitchell was named the new drum major for the marching band after the May 8 tryouts. She is only the second female drum major in OSU's history. Shelley Graf was the first in 1981.

    Mitchell, a senior in journalism, was on the drum major training squad in 1999 and 2000 - a band member can be on the drum major training squad for a maximum of two years. Mitchell tried out for drum major in 2001, although she wasn't in the band. She then tried out again in the spring of 2002 and was made assistant drum major.

    Mitchell learned a great deal about the position from last year's drum major, Adam Prescott.

    "I learned a better work ethic from Adam, was able to get a lot of on-field experience and was able to perform and find out where I needed to improve," Mitchell said.

    Prescott said Mitchell did a good job as assistant drum major and the two are very close.

    "I have told her that no matter what, you have to have fun with it and be sure and put in the work before the day of the game," Prescott said.

    There is a lot of work that drum majors must put in outside of football Saturdays that often goes unnoticed.

    Mitchell said she trains between two and three hours a day, six days a week and the heaviest training comes right before the tryouts.

    Mitchell's desire to become drum major for OSU's marching band began her freshman year of high school. She went to a pre-game band performance and became fascinated with the drum major position.

    The following spring she went to drum major tryouts and approached Graf, who gave Mitchell her first drum major lesson. Mitchell also received her first baton from Graf.

    "She is a quick learner and that's a good thing," Graf said.

    Mitchell was the drum major at Centennial High School in Columbus for three years before she came to OSU.

    "There are a lot of fun and exciting things that come with being drum major at OSU," Graf said.

    She said Mitchell will get an opportunity to do many great things in the future, like the time Graf went to Hawaii in 2002 to perform with the OSU alumni band.

    Greg Eyer, the drum major in 1985 and 1986, has been working with Mitchell since she was in high school. He said Mitchell possesses qualities that make her capable of being a good drum major.

    "She is responsible, dedicated, a take charge type of person with the ability to delegate - all of the qualities needed to be the leader of a band," Eyer said.

    Eyer said her work ethic has improved since he stared working with her, and she has had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts.

    Mitchell said her most memorable trip thus far with the band was going to the Fiesta Bowl. She described the Fiesta Bowl performance as the No. 1 gig.

    In addition to performing at football games, Mitchell has been able to twirl at weddings, birthdays and reunions with the alumni band and other drum majors.

    In the next three weeks she will be performing in the Worthington Memorial Day parade with the Alumni Band, The Indy 500 parade with the OSU spring band and the Genoa Homecoming Parade.

    Mitchell realizes preparing to be drum major this summer will be different than preparing to be assistant drum major.

    "There are a lot more expectations and responsibility as drum major than there are as assistant drum major," Mitchell said

    See this article online: The Lantern