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Drum major won’t be tossed

Thomas Bradley / Lantern reporter

For half his life, he has dreamed of being drum major for the Ohio State Marching Band. After a flawless audition secured him the position for the second year in a row, Jason Stuckert was promised a fulfilled dream for almost half of his college career.

Stuckert, a second-year in marketing, said he couldn’t believe his tryout went exactly how he had imagined it.

“This has been a goal of mine for half my life,” Stuckert said. “I love this marching band.”

Although next year will be Stuckert’s last as drum major, he said the tryout experience was better than his first.

“I had a lot more fun than last year,” Stuckert said. “You can only do this for two years so this will be my last year.”

Matt Berndsen, a fourth-year in hospitality management and former assistant drum major, said this year’s tryouts were close. Berndsen said when he tried out for drum major there were only four candidates.

“This year is different. It’s so close,” Berndsen said. “This is the biggest class I’ve seen in the past five to six years.”

There were 10 drum major contestants who performed a ramp entrance, a twirl routine and five high tosses in front of about 15 judges who were previous drum majors or band directors.

Jeanna Kruse, a second-year in international studies and public affairs and an instrument manager for the Marching Band, said the winner is awarded the head drum major position and a year of free tuition and the second-place winner is awarded the assistant drum major position and half-off tuition for a year.

Stuckert didn’t drop his baton last year or this year during tryouts, Berndsen said.

“He came out and did exactly what he needed to do,” Berndsen said.

As assistant drum major under Stuckert last year, Berndsen said Stuckert has the ability to lead.

“He has done a great job coming in,” Berndsen said. “He is a very good leader.”

The judges score the contestants with 40 percent for their ramp entrance, 30 percent for twirling, 15 percent for the five high tosses and 15 percent for overall effect, Berndsen said.

The candidates are ranked one to 10 by every judge. Ten is the highest score and one the lowest. The scores are totaled to determine the head drum major and the assistant drum major positions.

Kyle West was awarded the assistant drum major position at the May 10 auditions at Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Steven Kerchmar, a second-year in animal science, said he tried out last year but didn’t make it. He is now an instrument manager who helps out with band functions and instrument duties. Kerchmar said the last drum major picks his spot in the tryout lineups. Stuckert chose to perform first, so he was the first to do the ramp entrance, the twirl routine and the five high tosses.

Kerchmar said he knows how nervous the candidates get because he tried out last year.

“It was dead silence and you’re waiting for the head nod from the director and before you know it, it’s all over,” Kerchmar said.


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