Molded into shape
Junior drum major Abigail Arevalo grows through her position
October 15, 2019
Climbing up the uneven stand, she balances herself while keeping her breath steady. She looks forward to the opposing crowd, watching the other drum majors. Focusing on nothing but senior head drum major Sylvia Nalbandian, not even the crowd or the music, junior drum major Abigail Arevalo keeps the band on beat.
Like the majority of other students in band, Arevalo started as a confused sixth grader. In several cases, this elective is one kids choose without knowing what it is entirely. Even though this was just a class she checked off of a list while still in elementary school, choosing band was a choice that changed her life.
“I chose band as a sixth grader just for fun, to experiment,” Arevalo said. “As it progressed, I really fell in love with it and enjoyed it.”
Siblings are an easy gateway to finding what one is passionate for. Arevalo’s older brother, a former band member, is the one who sparked her own love for music and is now a significant part of her life.
“Even when my brother was in his middle school concerts, as soon as I heard the band play, I’d fall in love with the sound,” Arevalo said.
With the constant pressure of band on her shoulders, having friends and family around helps relieve the stress. Besides her family and other drum majors who she shares the load with, Arevalo has a connection of friends who show her endless support.
“I always try to be there for her,” junior Liliana Tachiquin said. “I try to be there whenever she’s feeling a little down or whenever she needs a boost.”
This being Arevalo’s third year in high school band, she’s experienced a range of different shows, from “Imagine” to “I Am Water.” Although this year’s show is her favorite because of her active participation, the show performed in 2016, “What Dreams Are Made Of,” sticks in her mind.
“That was the show they did before I came in,” Arevalo said. “Their ballad that year was very beautiful and I felt like that was their peak moment where the band started improving.”
Although the nature of being a drum major can be intense, this atmosphere helps directors distinguish students. Band director Christopher Agwu has known Arevalo since she was in middle school. Even then, he could see she would fit the role of drum major.
“I’m just proud of how much she’s grown as a person,” Agwu said. “How much she’s grown as a leader. She steps up when she needs to, she’s very vocal when she needs to be in order to get things done.”
When picking out drum majors, having leadership qualities and passion is what the directors look for. While the directors saw drum major material in Arevalo early on, her leadership qualities shined most throughout the year-long audition process.
“She took care of all the little things,” Agwu said. “She [was] detailed in what she was doing. It’s the path to becoming a drum major. I could tell how much she cared about the program, that she had potential for being a drum major.”
Although Arevalo still has one more year of high school ahead of her, she wishes luck to future drum majors and other leaders. Countless hours of practice, late nights and bus rides have molded Arevalo into the leader she is. Occasionally, the stress is too much, but she has friends and directors to lean on. No longer the nervous sophomore she was when she was announced as drum major, she has grown into the position.
“I hope [future drum majors] enjoy just being able to lead,” Arevalo said. “I hope they grow themselves and seek new opportunities in their new positions.”