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Top Band Drum Major Conducts with a Purpose

Sydney Baughman’s Musical Journey
Senior+Sydney+Baughman+is+playing+the+metronome+on+her+phone+for+the+band+while+she+looks+at+director+Tanner+Smith+for+cues.
Lydia McNamara
Senior Sydney Baughman is playing the metronome on her phone for the band while she looks at director Tanner Smith for cues.

Metronome in hand, senior Sydney Baughman is controlling the counts and setting up the band for success.

Baughman has participated in band programs since the sixth grade. This is her first and final year at Walnut Grove High School, and Baughman is determined to set the standard for the Wildcats Band. 

“As a senior, I’m mostly in here just to start the foundation for this band so they can have a long future,” Baughman said. “I’m excited for them.”

Baughman is a proud band member and leader who has a lot to say about the positive impacts that Band has on her life. The band program is one she is going to remember for the rest of her life.

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“Oh my god, it’s the greatest experience ever,” Baughman said. “Starting a new culture is very interesting and it’s very exciting to be a part of that.” 

Band is a program that demands a lot of hours and work. However, Baughman thrives in band as a hard worker and the kind of person whose outlook on a situation is almost always positive.

“I genuinely love this school and this program,” Baughman said “It’s safe to say this is my favorite program I’ve ever been in and it’s definitely the one that brings me the most joy.” 

Brandon Holt was a previous head band director at Rogers Middle School. He taught Baughman her sixth, seventh, ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade years. Holt was always an encouraging mentor to Baughman. At Rogers middle school, he approached Baughman asking her what instrument she chose.

“Mr. Holt afterward he was like, ‘Okay what instrument did you choose?’” said Baughman. Baughman went with soprano clarinet because she was good at it and it felt right.

“You know, it’s kind of like harry potter where the wand chooses the wizard, the instrument chooses the person” Holt said. This stuck with Baughman throughout her many years in this program as it was reassuring to her knowing she would be at peace with her final decision. 

“Oh funny story, I didn’t know you could try out for percussion or brass so I only tried out for woodwind instruments,” Baughman said. “It was with Mr. Ferman and he was like ‘Oh you’re good at this.’”

Baughman initially played the soprano clarinet in sixth grade, though while she doesn’t regret her time with the instrument, she found a better fit. 

“I switched to bass clarinet in seventh grade, and it was perfect,” said Baughman. 

This year, Baughman’s concert instrument remains the bass clarinet. She is consistently excelling at her musical abilities and leadership roles. 

“The thing I was best at in soprano clarinet were the low notes, which is why I went to bass cause I liked playing the low stuff,” said Baughman. 

The soprano clarinet, as described by Baughman, made her feel awkward when played. Baughman was not completely content with the soprano clarinet, but in seventh grade she switched over to the bass clarinet.

“It’s actually quite small compared to the bass,” said Baughman. “I really enjoyed it though, I liked having melody.” 

Baughman has had her ups and downs throughout her band years, but one person in particular has inspired her to be kind and supportive of other band members. 

“We had this amazing drum major named Emily Cox and she goes to Texas A&M University now,” Baughman said. “She played Clarinet, and I was one of the only freshmen in the top band.” 

Baughman recalls many moments during her freshman year when Cox would go out of her way to be kind to her. It not only made Baughman’s day, it made her year. Acts of kindness go a long way for some people, Baughman in particular.

“She was really nice and she always offered a smile and she took me in instantly,” said Baughman. 

Cox was a role model that Baughman looked up to while also considering her a friend. 

“I was like you know what, I want to be the person who comes to band with a smile on their face,” Baughman said. “I want to offer positivity and I want to come to band and be someone who people can rely on and depend on and find comfort in.” 

As an upperclassman, Baughman knows the long hours and commitment the high school band is demanding. While it may be a lot, she knows that her attitude will have an impact on the group. “So even when band gets hard, there’s somebody that’s offering a smile,” Baughman said. .

Senior Molly Baughman is Baughman’s twin sister. She is not only Baughmans best friend, but Molly is one of her biggest supporters. Molly participates in the orchestra program, so she understands her sister’s commitment and love for school fine arts.

“It’s been really awesome seeing her grow and becoming a leader,” said Molly. “She really just stepped up when no one else would. To see her now being drum major, it’s an incredible opportunity to see her do something that she’s really passionate about.”

Baughman undertakes many responsibilities involved with helping the directors and works with them often. 

“I think it’s rewarding, the directors are funny and they’re fun to be around and I like the way they think,” Baughman said. “And I just like being here, it’s great.”

Baughman is prepared for any instruction or task thrown at her by the band directors. 

“It’s a lot of inferring what the directors need at times,” said Baughman. “It’s a whole lot of responsibility and people depending on you to get stuff done.”

Baughman relishes in putting smiles on people’s faces. She enjoys getting to know the people that she performs with, whether it’s on a football field or an auditorium stage.

”You’re associating yourself with all the different personalities in the band,” Baughman said. “It’s also being very sociable with new students and different kinds of people. 

Tanner Smith is the head director of the Walnut Grove Band. He is Baughman’s mentor and friend. Smith is grateful for Baughman’s willingness and motivation to make this a better program for current and incoming band kids.

“It’s been good having an upperclassman who’s gone through the seasons before,” said Smith. “Her work ethic and consistency has set up the culture for this program.”

Baughman has applied to Penn State, Oklahoma University, and Texas A&M University. Penn State is her dream college, where she hopes to accomplish many great things. She is a dreamer, a go-getter, and most importantly, a kind soul. Baughman’s success and kindness pays off when she gets to take part in the activities she loves. Baughman is willing to put in the work.

“I plan on pursuing cooperative education and entrepreneurship, which basically is a major at Penn State that leads into project management,” said Baughman. “Right now I am focusing on participating in project management events through DECA to kind of get a feel of what it’s going to look like.”

DECA is a business association that Baughman is a part of that allows her to compete in competitions and develop human relationship skills.

Baughman’s core values are discipline and acceptance of others. She is an aspiring musician and leader. Not only does Baughman have self-discipline, she sets her goals high in life. That is what makes her such an extraordinary individual.  

“To me, being drum major means being the band’s biggest cheerleader,” Baughman said. “That’s what I kinda focus on when I go to band everyday.”

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Lydia McNamara, Photojournalist
Lydia McNamara is a freshman at Walnut Grove High School. She is a dedicated member of the Walnut Grove color guard, a talented musician, and a loyal friend. Lydia enjoys writng creative stories, taking nature pictures, and hanging out with friends and family in her free time. Lydia is excited to be a part of the history in the making this year. Lydia loves to perform and work hard to acheive her goals.
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