• Lakewood graduate chosen to be OSU's assistant drum major

    • By MARK SZAKONYI, The Newark Advocate
    • May 2008

    HEBRON -- After two months of intense practice, the time had come for Lakewood High School graduate Joshua Halter.

    The college freshman's anxiety about the Ohio State University Marching Band's drum major tryouts had hit almost panic-attack levels in the months before the big day.

    The tension disappeared by the time he bent backward to perform the traditional touching of his hat's plume to the ground.

    "It was kind of weird because it was the most calm I had felt for a long time," said Halter, who graduated from Lakewood last year.He didn't earn the top job, but he was chosen as assistant drum major instead.

    One of the judges said Halter has the potential to be drum major next year. "Anyone can perform a trick, but it takes special talent to entertain the audience. Josh excels at that," said Cory Thompson, who was the university's drum major in 1996 and 1997.

    The job also takes a good deal of hand-eye coordination, balance and stamina, Thompson said.

    He said the assistant drum major's primary responsibility is being the backup in case the drum major can't perform.

    Aside from taking care of alternate marchers during the game, the assistant drum major performs in the postgame show, said Thompson, who is the treasurer and chief financial officer for The Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County.

    Halter also will lead the second "Script Ohio" before kickoff, he said.Halter said he plans to take a little time off before the beginning of the practice routine, which calls for up to four hours of training per day.He said he owes his success to David Wolford, who led the high school's marching band his freshman year, and to Scott Coffey, who was the director the years afterward.

    Halter said Coffey gave him the chance to show he could become the high school's first drum major."I'd been tailgating at Ohio State and watching the band," he said. "I saw their drum major and wondered why our school didn't have that."Thompson said the experience as assistant drum major will help Halter later in life, especially in his career."It improves your character," he said. "It says a lot of someone who has been in that position."Thompson said Halter has the rare opportunity to perform for what is in his opinion the best military-style marching band in the country."

    It is not only that you're playing for the best, but you're playing at a Class A school and athletic program," he said.Halter's mom, Kim, said her oldest child always has been a hard worker and an "all-around good kid."

    "We are really proud of him," she said. "It is a big honor."Halter said he still is getting his head around the idea that he will be part of the university's marching band."To have a uniform on and to be on that field is surreal," he said. "It is something you are still in awe of every time."