Laura Fox is a sophomore history major with political science and sociology/anthropology minors. She is also the drum major of the Marching Comets. Having been drum major for two years in high school, Laura was excited for the opportunity to continue that role at Olivet. “I loved being able to connect with students on such a wide level because you have more freedom to wander around and have that individual time,” she said.
Laura’s passion for growing the band is proven by her organizational skills and the attention she gives to each individual student. She explains that bouncing around to each squad on Thursdays is the highlight of her week. “I’m such a people person,” she said. “Meeting with Jeremy Duby, director of bands, is always fun and just talking to people about band is fun — even solving problems is fun because it’s just working with people and enjoying everyone.”
The drum major is a position where you “wear a lot of hats,” as Laura describes it. Some of these include representing the students to the leadership team and the College, as well as recruiting students, problem solving and much more. Laura meets with Mr. Duby before every rehearsal, as well as for two hours each Wednesday morning to discuss the future of the program and how to get there.
“Conducting is actually a very small portion,” she said. “I honestly think the drum major role is less about marching and playing and more about making sure the band is a fun and safe space for everyone — being someone that people can go to.”
This fall, the Marching Comets adapted to physical distancing by hosting outdoor rehearsals and concerts, masking up members and instruments and much more. “This year is definitely about trying to figure out how we’re re-approaching things. I feel like we’ve done a very nice job with adapting our schedule, but since we’re not actually moving in drill sets this year, it’s harder to figure out what that time is,” Laura said.
While the Marching Comets may be limited in some areas, the band excitedly meets four times each week. Since athletic performances are unavailable, the band has a goal to pep up every day campus life. “We have this wonderful opportunity to really grow musically this year and develop our presence on campus,” Laura said. “I’m very excited to be at the forefront of that and bring something positive to campus when there are other challenges right now. Generally, drum majors operate on more of a personal basis, like interacting with band members and making sure the band is a fun, engaging place, but the role has shifted more from conversations about personnel and the actual marching show to how to do this in a safe way.”
Laura said her favorite memory as a Marching Comet so far is band camp. “Usually people don’t like band camp at all because it’s hot and sweaty, but that was such a cool week for me to see everyone immersed in band,” she said. “Every program has a different flavor, and learning more about how the Marching Comets function was really cool to see because it’s very good.”
Laura is especially thankful for the strong leadership of Mr. Duby and the College’s work to create a safe and strong campus community. The band is hosting a live performance every three weeks in the Square with bigger, livestreamed performances at Cutler on Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. “We are very excited to be able to do things and still engage with the campus. We would love to see you at our concerts in the Square!” Laura said.
Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This feature was written by senior Leah Miller, marketing and communications student intern. She is a writing and history double major and a music minor, a field commander of the Marching Comets and a member Alpha Lambda Epsilon Literary Society. After college, she aspires to use her writing to educate people about different cultures and work to normalize embracing differences, potentially in a field related to intercultural relations.