When most people think of a drum major, their minds go directly to either someone who plays the drums or to someone twirling a baton and doing high-kicks. In fact, drum majors are the individuals responsible for leading the band. They conduct music, discipline members, run rehearsals and carry out instructions from the band director.
After years of hard work, dedication, late nights and strenuous practice, she has achieved the highest position of authority offered to students in a marching band. From the very beginning, she's had her eye on that prize.
Kinsey was in sixth grade at
"Even then, in sixth grade, I knew I wanted to go into music," said Kinsey.
She quickly learned how to play her clarinet, and after only six months decided to pick up another instrument. Breezing through the secondary instrument audition, Kinsey began playing the bass clarinet, becoming the only student in her grade with the distinction.
But that was just the beginning of what has proven to be an impressive path to success.
Kinsey decided to seek out her band instructor,
After learning the rudimentary motions and gaining a working knowledge of what is expected of a drum major, she decided to audition to lead Northwest's
"I auditioned my eighth-grade year just for the experience; I knew I wouldn't get it as a freshman in high school," she said.
After a year of marching clarinet at Northwest, Kinsey auditioned for drum major again at the end of her freshman year, and was selected to serve as the lieutenant field commander, or assistant drum major, for the 2009 football season.
Kinsey went on to serve as head drum major her junior and senior years.
"Holly was one of the best drum majors we've ever had," said Barnett. "In the 29 years I served as band director at Northwest, I had a ton of wonderful students. Looking back at all that time, she is definitely one that stands out in my mind."
Kinsey auditioned for the
"Marching with the
In the fall of 2013, her sophomore year, Kinsey began to climb the ranks at
"It was an honor to be able to become a leader in the organization and to help to propel it forward towards excellence even more," said Kinsey.
Kinsey's most recent achievement, though, happened at the end of April of this year when she was chosen as a
Though she was taking 23 credit hours in school, Kinsey was not going to let that stop her from achieving her goal, even if that meant staying up until
"There were definitely some times, especially close to the end of the semester, where I realized just how much I had to do to prepare for auditions," said Kinsey, "But I just kept saying to myself, 'I will be a drum major by the end of this school year.'"
The first round began with 24 band members auditioning for one of the four coveted drum major positions. The hopefuls were split into groups of five and required to conduct a piece of music for a panel of judges. The group was then cut in half for the second round, where individuals were put through a rigorous interview process with the band director.
For the third round, the remaining six band members were put to the test when they were expected to conduct the
"It was like we got to be drum major for a day and got to try the whole thing out," she said.
After A-Day, the four drum majors were selected, with Kinsey among them.
Now, with her new position, she will be responsible for helping with leadership and rookie and full band camps, where she will take the lead in instruction, organization and discipline of the
Kinsey credits Milam and Barnett for encouraging her to pursue her goals and helping her strengthen her skills.
"Initially, it was
But she doesn't have a set career path just yet.
"I've considered being a college band director because I really like the aspect of being able to lead a college marching band," she said. "On the flip side of that, I really enjoy playing music, so I don't know if I want to go into clarinet performance or conducting."
For all of her talents and attributes, her determination and humility are the ones that shine the brightest, according to Barnett.
"She is a tremendous musician, yes, but she doesn't have to prove it to you. She is humble about her talents," he said. "Holly does not give up, she's disciplined, and that's why she's been so successful. She is going to meet any goal she sets for herself because she has the heart and soul to fight for it."
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