Marching Band Leadership Adds New Perspective

Justin Toliver breaks the all-female leadership reign as the first male drum major in six years.

Becoming a drum major is really exciting for Toliver, as he gets to experience something new.

Kristi Garrett

Becoming a drum major is really exciting for Toliver, as he gets to experience something new. "I screamed, then ran down the stairs and told my mom [when I found out]," said Toliver.

Jedea Cook, Staff Writer

A desire to lead the band on and off the field, Justin Toliver, junior, becomes The Ola Marching Band’s first male drum major in six years.  Marching in the band for two years, Toliver had his eyes set on drum major since his freshman year. 

“The part when I conduct, that’s like the most fun parts,” Toliver said.

When choosing a drum major, Todd Manson, band director, and Jamie McDonald, assistant director, look for leaders that are kind, respectful, and can keep the band focused and engaged at all times.

“His gentle nature, his thoughtful nature, and how much effort he has put into becoming a drum major for the past year, elevated his preparation,” McDonald said.

Chaeli Herzler, junior, and Madeline Hicks, senior, are the other two drum majors for this year’s show, “True North”. For the past couple of years, the Marching Mustangs have not had experience with a male drum major, let alone a trumpet player. Almost every drum major since 2013 has been a female mellophone player. 

“I like having a guy on the team. It kind of balances out girls, because girls can be an emotional mess sometimes,” Hicks said.

Herzler agrees that Toliver brings balance to the leadership team.

“We all have different personalities but Justin just brings that trumpet soul to drum majoring, and it makes it much more interesting,” Herzler said.

To see Toliver in action, attend a football game (schedule:  ) or a2019 competition (schedule: The Marching Mustangs present True North at their annual dinner and a show in Mustang Stadium Saturday, Sept. 14.