AJHS alumna Payne selected as ASU Drum Major

 

Kaylea Payne conducts the Arizona State University Sun Devil marching band during her drum major audition at the ASU spring game. (Courtesy of Arizona State University)

Kaylea Payne conducts the Arizona State University Sun Devil marching band during her drum major audition at the ASU spring game. (Courtesy of Arizona State University)

Apache Junction High School alumna Kaylea Payne was selected as one of four drum majors for the 400 piece Arizona State University Sun Devil marching band. Ms. Payne, a 2012 AJHS graduate, is entering her senior year as a music education major at ASU. She credits her high school experience for her success.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the music teachers I had in the Apache Junction school district,” said Ms. Payne. “Mr. Poulin, Mr. Little and especially [current AJHS band director] Mr. Balogh made me who I am today as a musician and as a person. Mr. Balogh encouraged me to continue music and marching band in college. I don’t think he realizes how big an impact he had.”
“All throughout high school, I was very actively involved in the marching band and drama department. My senior year at AJHS, I was the drum major for the marching band along with Rachel Golemon. You may recall the KISS show we did a few years back. I was the one who had the Gene Simmons-esque costume, fully assembled with leather bat wings,” Ms. Payne said.
“Immediately following high school, I moved on to pursue a music education degree at Arizona State University and be a part of the Sun Devil Marching Band. One goal I set for myself when I joined was to become a drum major, and now that has happened. It’s really exciting. I suppose you could say I’ve come full circle from bat wings to Sun Devil horns,” Ms. Payne said
Ms. Payne described the job of a drum major as 30 percent conducting the band during rehearsals and performances and 70 percent administration.
“So much of the job is scheduling, preparation and coordination: printing music and drill instructions; calling band members to remind them of performances and making sure everyone gets on the bus. It’s rather like being a den mother sometimes, but I am learning so much about leadership and teaching.” Ms. Payne said.
Ms. Payne played multiple instruments in high school, primarily French horn and trumpet, but she switched to the mellophone for the marching band. The mellophone is a three valved brass instrument that looks like a larger trumpet.
“It’s like a marching version of the French horn,” she said.
During her first three years at ASU, she played the mellophone in the marching band, earning the position of section leader in her junior year.
“The music is harder at the university level, and the training is more rigorous,” Ms. Payne said, “but I enjoyed the challenge, and I was well-prepared by my high school experience.”
Sixteen students applied for the four drum major positions. The selection process included auditions in front of the band and a professional panel, as well as an interview with the ASU band director.
Editor’s note: Dana Hawman is the Public information officer for the Apache Junction School District

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