Marching Mizzou drum major pumps up for the centennial

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | 1:22 p.m. CDT; updated 6:57 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 13, 2011

With Homecoming finally here, Marching Mizzou’s assistant drum major Andrew Monnig must put his organizational skills to the test. As the face of the band, this perfectionist, the head drum major and the two other assistants must not only manage its rat-a-tat tat sound, but also its 325 members for the celebration.

On the field, Monnig, 20, and the three other drum majors, clad in white hats with 12-inch feathers, will lead members with their famous strut, a move they often secretly practice at midnight on the practice field. Alternating this position, they will then conduct the band, keeping them in tempo. “The strut is all about the practice,” Monnig says. “You’ve really got to go for it. You’ve got to sell it.”

Behind the scenes, Monnig helps promote camaraderie, the key ingredient to organizing band members for Homecoming. He describes Marching Mizzou as the “tightest knit” group on campus, and he furthers that notion by encouraging members to get to know one another outside of practice.

“(Marching Mizzou) is one group,” Monnig says. “All of our successes are everyone’s successes. Our failures are everybody’s failures.”

The band’s training began by memorizing the Latin music selected and arranged by its director, Bradley Snow. In addition to the parade march, Monnig gradually helped teach each member of the band his or her placement on the field.

Noting perseverance and passion as vital skills for his position, Monnig took practices up a notch for Homecoming. He says he was striving for an extra level of perfection in this performance.

“We always come in (to rehearsal) with a set,” Monnig says. “This is what we’re doing today, and whenever we get that done, we get to leave. It is always planned out and methodical.”

Each Marching Mizzou practice begins by playing songs such as “Fight Tigers” and “Every True Son” and finishes with the alma mater. This fun custom and the crowd’s enthusiasm is what the band and Monnig will thrive on for the Homecoming show.

Together, Monnig and the band will pump up fans and alumni for the game, keeping MU tradition alive with their high-energy performance.

“This is (Marching Mizzou’s) 126th year,” Monnig says. “We’re older than Homecoming. Since there’s been Homecoming, there’s been Marching Mizzou. We’ve always been a part of it, so it’s almost not Homecoming without us.”

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