February 17, 2004
The Majors How the guys in the big hats deal with Mardi Gras parades, swarms of admirers, rival bands, parallel knee bends — and most of all — the musicians walking behind them.By Katy Reckdahl SOURCE: Gambit Weekly
|David McCrea, Ansley Williams, Theadore Boatner and Tramaine Spencer know their positions as St. Augustine drum majors come with responsibility.|
|Photo by Cheryl Gerber|
Outside O. Perry Walker Senior High School on the West Bank, drum major Ryanell Antoine is flexing, kicking and twirling. It looks effortless, even when he bends back from the waist until his chest is flat as a table. “He’s the best one out — can’t nobody burn Ryanell,” says freshman Lance Lockett as he waits for his ride home, a trombone case in his hand. Danielle Jones, a senior, is also keeping her eyes on Antoine. “That’s my future boyfriend there,” she says with a big wink. She and her friend, Kenda Gibbs, carry the school’s banner in the band and so they’ve seen Antoine’s popularity up close. His following tops even the quarterback’s, they say, because the quarterback needs Antoine to rev up the crowd. Antoine walks over to say hello. He’s been drum major for two years, but he can still recall when he was first chosen. “My popularity got bigger,” he says, especially with the girls. “They were calling the house all times of the night.” Over at St. Augustine High School, the Read more
February 1, 2004
By Wayne Drehs
Updated: February 1, 2004
With 40 million Americans watching at home on television and 60,000 waiting inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Willie Hill’s moment had arrived.
In the heart of the Civil Rights movement, the junior drum major would lead the marching bands for both Grambling College, a historically black school, and the University of Arizona, onto the field for pregame entertainment before Super Bowl I.
Willie Hill might have stumbled at first, but Grambling’s band never missed a beat during Super Bowl I.
When given the signal, Hill arched his back, kicked up his legs and strutted his way onto the field.
Then slipped and fell.
“As quickly as I went down, I jumped straight up, blew that whistle four times and the crowd went absolutely wild,” Hill recalled. “They thought it was all part of the show. They had no idea. And they loved it.”