In the pursuit of tradition, next year’s drum majors have been announced


Following his family legacy, sophomore Linus Kaechele was announced as one of the upcoming school year’s drum majors alongside sophomore Sukhpreet Singh and junior Tommy Hendricks.

With all three of his older siblings as drum major, and his dad one as well due to the “uniform fitting,” Linus has had band leadership in his family for years. Everyone—excluding his mother—has not only been a drum major, but they’ve also all played the trumpet, making the multiple stages and requirements for auditions something to look forward to and fear.

“The night before my conducting audition,” Linus said, “I was terrified that my siblings were going to be disappointed in me. But right before my audition, my sister, she was like, ‘You’re going to kill it; I believe in you,’ and that really kind of just gave me the motivation. [It] made me realize that although my family’s in band, band also is my family and that no matter what happens, everyone’s going to support me no matter what because that’s just what the environment is there.”

Despite the fear, the reassurance helped as Linus landed the coveted position of drum major, being the fourth and final Kaechele at FHC to do so. Practicing since middle school, it came as no shock that band is his passion and something he loves to do.

“The first time you play in a halftime show, you just are surrounded by everyone who cares so much and just everyone who’s going to love you no matter how much you mess up makes you realize that [band] is kind of awesome,” Linus said. “I feel like that first day at band camp when everyone was struggling made me realize that this is a group of people, and it’s no one I should be afraid of. I just love the band more with every day that I’m holding my trumpet.”

For all of the drum majors, band was something they loved through the hectic marching season and the calmer concert end. All of them started band in middle school with Linus’s dad passing on the love for the trumpet, Tommy finding his groove with percussion and then the marimba in sophomore year, and Sukhpreet becoming one with his trombone. But, as the band director’s men on the field—quite literally—they will not be playing their instruments as they march but instead leading on the field and conducting on the raised podiums.

I really believe that having fun breeds being good.”

— Tommy Hendricks

For Sukhpreet and his trombone, leaving it behind on the field is something he’ll miss but knows he can return back once marching is over.

“It’s sad to think that I won’t be marching alongside with my friends this [upcoming] year, but I won’t feel too far out of place,” Sukhpreet said. “I will still be able to play it during concert season and also use it for when the trombones perform their ‘suicides’ at Bandtasia. So, for me, it is worth it because I’m moving into a position I’ve strived for, and I have no regrets regarding my decision.”

Leaving behind marching with friends is just one of the arduous tasks of drum major, but it proves their dedication. After filling out a leadership packet, completing various levels of auditions, and proving themselves throughout the year, becoming one of the leaders of the band shows your love for the music, the people, and the role itself.

Alongside the band director, Laura Zilhaver, the drum majors are people who are looked up to in the band; respect for them comes naturally as they help guide the younger members and practice with their own sections. Due to the leadership and respect of the drum majors, the incoming ones look back to past years for qualities to help them in their new role.

“I think each [of this year’s drum majors] had characteristics that benefitted the band,” Tommy said, “and I’d like to emphasize the good things of each one. I want to make sure all of the drum majors get along and work well together this year; knowing Sukhpreet and Linus, that will be easy.”

Now, the roles will be reversed. Tommy, Sukhpreet, and Linus will become the guides of the band. No longer looking up to anyone, they will take on the task of being there through the confusion, doubt, and any issues as someone to come to or simply just someone to idolize.

“I feel very confident and comfortable stepping into this role, “ Sukhpreet said. “I love speaking with people and can be outgoing in front of over 100 band members. This is what I have worked for and could not be any happier to be able to step into this role.”

Becoming drum majors means the atmosphere of the band is now in their hands. The way they interact with members and the way they lead will trickle down through the band members.

Linus, Tommy, and Sukhpreet share the sentiment of putting an emphasis on fun in the band. Any way they can make it feel like less of a chore, they will pursue it, especially if it makes the band even better as a whole.

I really believe that having fun breeds being good,” Tommy said. “The band can march perfectly and sound amazing, but if no one is enjoying it, then what is the point? I think when people have fun doing something, then they’ll be more likely to want to practice and get better. I really want to put emphasis on having a really fun year.”

Sukhpreet also believes that having fun equates to getting things done, making it a goal for the band next year to feel joy while marching.

I want to be able to create a fun and energetic atmosphere in relation with getting things done,” Sukhpreet said. “I believe anything can be done through a positive attitude and that receiving that attitude from the band requires me, as a drum major, to be involved with the members in order to connect with them.”

The trio hopes to work together to better the band with their shared ideas. They carry the idea of fun hand-in-hand with connecting to the members, proving that band can be a space for everyone. With the marching season quickly approaching, they all hope to make it the best one yet, full of laughs and smiles.

“I feel like if I can really connect with each individual student and show them that band is a place where people come to have fun,” Linus said. “They come to be filled with the sensation of joy for what they do—if I can help them learn that and just only have them associate band with good memories; that’s what I really want to do. I just want to make band a fun place.”