By Kaitlyn Marlowe

Hannah Johnson began her third and final year as drum major of Hardin Valley’s Spirit of the Valley marching band this summer. Johnson played flute for the band since freshman year, and she became drum major the following year. To become the drum major, one has to complete a conducting piece, show basic conducting technique and complete an interview with the directors. “Johnson was interested in becoming drum major because it was something different,” Hannah Johnson said. “Honest to goodness, it looked cool. I wanted to try an aspect of band I hadn’t yet been exposed to.”

Johnson considers Mad Love, the current halftime show, her favorite because her confidence has grown.

“Being a drum major can be scary,” Johnson said. “Often times everyone is looking at you and you have to go 200 percent to get 100 percent back.”

Hannah Johnson (left) works with Lauryn Butler (right) before the first marching show of the season. Student teacher, Christian Angueira (center) supervises.


Johnson said it is bittersweet knowing this is her last year as drum major. Johnson said she is excited to move on, but also sad to leave her friends and knows she will probably not conduct again once she goes to college. “The best part of band is always going to competitions,” Johnson said. “I get to accept the trophies when we win and it is such a good feeling knowing all the hard work paid off. It is an even better feeling seeing how excited everyone in band is about us working so hard and winning.”

Alex Rector, Hardin Valley’s band director, has directed Johnson for four years. “Hannah’s best quality as a drum major is her ability to conduct,” Rector said. “Coming in as a sophomore we would normally give that position to someone else, but we were impressed with how quickly she picked up the technique.”

Rector considered Johnson’s leadership ability to be helpful in her growth as a drum major. “Mad Love is probably her hardest show to conduct,” he said. “She has to be able to control the tempo changes with how spread out the show’s formation is.”

Clifton Brock is Hardin Valley’s newest band director. “Hannah’s best quality as a band member is how upbeat her personality is.” Brock said. The advice Brock wants to give Johnson is to always lead by example. “She has made my time.. interesting, but very exciting.”

Johnson said there were times she missed playing and instrument and marching with band, but she does not regret being drum major. “Band has become such a big part of my school day. I can’t imagine having to go to school and not play in the band.” Johnson said. Johnson said she plans on pursing band in college.

“I want to tell future drum majors to go for it, not hold back, and never be afraid to give it your all.” Johnson said.