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From the Bottom to the Top

Emily Molden, Photo Editor

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Separated from the main body of band, standing tall on a platform, senior Jesse Aguilar raises his white gloved arms at the command of the band director. In unison, the four drum majors begin to conduct. The road to drum major wasn’t one without trials and tribulation.

Aguilar started off high school in the lowest section of band, Z-Block.

“Z-Block is an alternate block where it’s easier than the sets that you do in the show,” Aguilar said. “People are placed there usually because they weren’t here, did not meet attendance or didn’t tell anyone, or they started late. In squad competitions, they chose you as an alternate instead of a main block marcher.

After missing two days of summer practice, Aguilar was placed in Z-Block.

“I got my braces and skipped two days for my mouth to get adjusted. Then I found out the next week I was in Z-Block, so I was like ‘OK, let’s do this.’”

Aguilar began to take interests in the drum majors. As the year continued, some of the senior drum majors took an interest in him as well.

“One of the drum majors, Rachael McLaughlin, she was kind of the start of everything,” Aguilar said. “She told me that ‘you have skill, you can do it’, and I’m gonna help you out. As the year progressed, more people noticed that, ‘oh this kid is actually gonna try for drum major, despite what his past is in the band program.’”

After freshman year, other drum majors continued to offer assistance and guidance to Aguilar.

“They helped me out and made me become a better person,” Aguilar said. “They showed me what band truly is. It honestly makes me happy that I’m living their legacy that they wanted from me.”

Self-improvement had to be made if Aguilar was ever going to achieve his goal of being a drum major. He often asked himself, “Why do I want to do this?”

“I had to just work on my basic conducting,” Aguilar said. “That was like at least 25 percent of the whole thing, but 75 percent was just preparing myself mentally.”

To reach his goal, Aguilar tried out not once, not twice, but three times. However, when he tried out his junior year, shattering news devastated the band.

“Junior year, when I tried out, like that week of auditions was when Mr. Toney announced his retirement,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar is also a part of the Future Teacher Interns, and hopes being a drum major will enable him to excel as a teacher later on.

“I’m actually viewing it from a director’s perspective, an educator’s perspective,” Aguilar said. “I want to help these kids. I want to shape these kids to step up and be better.”

For Aguilar, the loss of Mr. Toney and Mr. Payne was not something easy to recover from. However, he felt proud when the Raider band made ones at UIL this year.

“They’re doing a great job,” Aguilar said. “I appreciate them, I really do. I can see them succeeding once I leave, and that’s the big thing I want. I just want the band to succeed once I’m out. I see a lot of potential in this band.”

Despite putting hard work and dedication into being a drum major, Aguilar has other obligations outside of the band hall.

“I have a lot of responsibilities,” Aguilar said. “It’s like being the main quarterback on the football team. You’re like the biggest part of the team or captain. It’s honestly my life. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think I’m drum major. It’s a constant thought. It’s a lifestyle.”

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