OSU Marching Band names head, assistant drum majors for 2014 season

May 4, 2014
Nathan MacMaster (left), Jon Waters and David Pettit. Pettit was named head drum major of the OSU Marching Band for its 2014 season while MacMaster was named assistant drum major. The annual tryouts took place May 3. Credit: Aaron Yerian / For The Lantern

Nathan MacMaster (left), Jon Waters and David Pettit. Pettit was named head drum major of the OSU Marching Band for its 2014 season while MacMaster was named assistant drum major. The annual drum major tryouts took place May 3.
Credit: Aaron Yerian / Asst. sports director at BuckeyeTV

TBDBITL has a new leader.

The Ohio State University Marching Band held its annual drum major tryouts Saturday to select the head and assistant drum majors for the 2014 season.

David Pettit, a student in piano performance, was named the head drum major with Nathan MacMaster, a graduate student at Glenn School of Public Affairs, as his assistant. In the 2013 season, Pettit was named Most Inspirational Bandsperson for serving as a drum major alongside Kyle West, and MacMaster was the assistant drum major.

“Having the experience last year as the incumbent drum major helped, but there’s a lot more pressure your second year, you got to perform. All the candidates did awesome. It’s a tough competition. Luckily, I came out on top,” Pettit said.

Other candidates for the position included Kyle Gangidine-Daley, a student in health sciences, Cole McDonough, a student in sociology and criminology, and Kishan Patel, a student in physics and mathematics.

There were 20 adjudicators on hand to judge the five candidates in three categories: ramp entrance, twirling and aerial tosses. Judges for the event included current marching band director Jon Waters, directors Emeriti Jon Woods and Paul Droste and the first female drum major of TBDBITL, Shelley Graf.

“All five of these candidates were absolutely prepared,” Waters said. “In my time here, I have not seen a tighter tryout with point totals and scoring that was so close between all the candidates from the very first place person to the fifth place person, mere tenths of points.”

Pettit was named the drum major outright, but there was a tie for the assistant position between MacMaster and McDonough, which resulted in a walk-off. Both were required to perform the entire routine one more time.

“After the first round, I knew it was close,” MacMaster said. “Cole was a really great competitor, and I knew we both had really good tryouts, and it’s always in the back of our minds. We prepare for it every year, what if there is a tie.”

Following the tiebreaker, Waters announced that the judges selected MacMaster as the assistant drum major.

“It shows the level of the program, it shows how we’re moving forward, and it shows the devotion of our students,” Waters said about the tie.

The assistant position involves more than simply being the understudy.

“Whenever there is double scripts, they lead the second Script Ohio, and they always perform post-game, they always perform at concerts, and if anything happens to me, they will step in,” Pettit said.

Members of the university’s alumni, athletic and current marching bands provided the musical accompaniment for the competition and played “Buckeye Battle Cry” for the ramp portion of the event and the theme from the Pixar and Disney animated feature “The Incredibles” for the twirling competition.

OSU’s Marching Band saw much publicity in its 2013 season, including videos of the band’s Michael Jackson-themed and Hollywood-themed halftime shows going viral, as well as being featured in an Apple commercial for the iPad.

After the tryout, Pettit expressed his joy and anticipation for being named the 2014 head drum major.

“It’s such an adrenaline rush. You’re standing up in that tunnel, and you hear the crowd going. It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Pettit said.

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