Auburn University group names first black female drum major

Brianna Jarvis will lead the Auburn University Marching Band at Jordan-Hare Stadium when the soccer team plays Akron on September 4.

She would also go down in history as the group’s first black female drum major.

The music education major attended Reeltown High School where she says she saw the impact of college 30 minutes away. A first-generation college student, Jarvis says she knew she wanted to go to Auburn but didn’t know how to get there.

The director of the Jarvis High School Orchestra was Auburn University alumnus Tyler Strickland, and he acted as a mentor, helping Jarvis navigate college applications, marching band auditions from Auburn University and more.

“My graduating class was smaller than the trumpet section at Auburn and it was really intimidating knowing that there would be more people trying out the marching band than I had even really been exposed to,” said Jarvis. “The band is something I wanted to be a part of, but it was really an impostor syndrome situation.”

The trumpeter says Auburn’s affiliation with the Southeastern Conference drew her to the school.

“You spend 30 minutes on the road and people come from all over just to watch these people play games, watch these people play before the game – it’s not something I ever experienced in high school,” he said. Jarvis said. “It’s such a great SEC school and has so much power over the name and is so close that you kind of think it’s the closest thing with so much influence.”

The self-proclaimed introvert was afraid of meeting new people, making friends and going to a big school, she says. But that changed on the first day of group camp for the freshman rookies.

“Everyone is talking about the family aspect of Auburn, and that was my very first taste and it was so authentic,” she said of the gang camp. “It was something I wanted to continue to be a part of and it was something I wanted to do for others as they came along.”

Jarvis took on the role of trumpet section leader last season, two years after his marching band experience. Now, she will be the first black woman to lead the entire group as a 2021-2022 drum major, according to Auburn University director of communications services Preston Sparks.

Jarvis hadn’t considered the role, but when TJ Tinnin, one of last season’s drum majors, suggested she audition, Jarvis says she began to see herself as one of the best leaders. of the group.

“It was that person who said, ‘Hey, I think you’re a great fit for the job,’ that got me thinking, ‘Oh, really? “she said.

Although TJ Tinnin knew that Jarvis would be the first black female on the drums major, he said she was “much more than that”.

“I encouraged Brianna because I saw great potential in her,” Tinnin said. “Not only did she possess leadership skills, but she is also a caring, hardworking and overall genuine person.”

Encouraged by Tinnin, Jarvis attended the first drum major clinic before the auditions, coming away with a good idea of ​​what the audition process would look like.

In the first round of auditions, all participants have a routine on a recorded track while directors, graduate teaching assistants and former drum majors watch and write notes on the score sheets.

The second round is an interview with Marching Band Director and Assistant Marching Director Corey Spurlin and Assistant Marching Director Nikki Gross. Then six finalists are selected.

These six selected finalists lead the entire group live to a random tune, which Jarvis called “scary”, claiming it was the “one and only time” the group met last year. due to COVID-19.

The finalists then had to watch a random soccer match and choose an appropriate group track for the specific soccer match call.

“Some of the songs I knew would depend on the room, but I had to study,” she said. “I didn’t think it was as complicated as I thought sitting in the stands in reaction to what (former drum majors) called out.”

The last two laps were to observe the routines and teach a fundamental walk to veteran walkers while choosing a random and planted error.

Jarvis has a halftime routine. She said her planted mistake was that someone was “being stupid with their feet.”

Jarvis says this year is going to be different for the group due to the opportunities lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Jarvis.

“Half the squad will not have made a pre-game,” she said. “Half of the squad didn’t have a chance to react to games in a normal situation and match environment.”

Outside of the marching band, Jarvis has performed with the Concert Band, Basketball Pep Band, AU Singers, Jazz Band, and Trumpet Ensemble. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national fraternity of the honorary group, and has served as an undergraduate instructor for the AU Music Project and a mentor for United Sound.

“She is a talented musician and teacher with unwavering character and commitment,” Spurlin said in a statement. “She’s the type of student and leader who inspires others to do their best on and off the pitch.”

“As our program returns to normal operations, we are extremely fortunate to have Brianna as one of the best student leaders in our group,” he added.

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About Harold Shirley

Harold Shirley

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