From the Ladder: Notes from the Drum Major

Hey Alumni!pauws_bn

I’m so happy to be writing to you again after our incredible season! We put in so much work over the past year to improve our sound, our marching, and our energy! Our retention this past year was really impressive. We only lost a few new members per section, some even less! We also picked up a few latecomers after ClubFest.

This season, we welcomed a lot of change and collaboration. In the spring, we were contacted by the Black Student Majorette Ensemble, the Scarlet Dolls! We organized a performance of “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X with them for Homecoming. The band was so excited to try something new and work with a new student group on campus! We slightly altered the advertising of our auditions this year, instead framing it as an Open House “Audition.” This definitely helped new members get a feel of the community of the band in addition to a formal audition process, so it took away a lot of pressure. This year included my first time traveling to Yale and Harvard with the band, and it was a lot of fun! I really liked getting to conduct in new stadiums and see the other bands! I especially enjoyed the bus rides and conversations at the rest stops.

We had four very unique shows created by our Show Committee Chairs, Michael “Chuckles” Alexiadis (‘26) and Ben “Chewy” McNulty (‘26)! Our first show, “That 70s Show”, included “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, and “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas. We performed it at Yale and at our Homecoming game against Colgate! Our second show, “Money Moves,” included “Downtown” by Macklemore, “I Like It” by Cardi B, and “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars. “I Like It” had a drum break written by one of our drum captains, Patrick Thieblemont (‘25), as well as one of our seniors, Peter Bell (‘24)! It also had a dance break choreographed by Skylar Bush (‘26). We performed “Money Moves” at Harvard and our home game against Bucknell. Our third show was “Heroes vs. Villains,” which had “Could’ve Been Me” by Halsey, “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, and “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John. We performed this show at our home games against Brown and Princeton. Our fourth and final show, our senior show, was “Light Up the Night.” It had “Raise Your Glass” by P!nk, “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, and “Give Me Everything (Tonight)” by Pitbull. This show was my personal favorite. “A Sky Full of Stars” featured a soli with all of the seniors in the band at the front! It was really sweet and sentimental. We performed our senior show at UPenn and our final home game against Columbia.

The game days were almost always highlighted by rain! The band room was consistently full of drying jackets on chairs. Everyone was determined to play on, rain or shine! I loved getting the chance to rehearse the band musically, especially since we had a LOT of talent to work with. I’m really happy that we brought back older songs, like “Throwdown,” so we didn’t lose our performance traditions!

I am so grateful for Beyan, the Show Committee, the section leaders, our Bandstaph, and the upperclassmen putting in all the work that they did. They all played a huge role in making sure that everyone felt accepted and safe. Without them, none of what we did could have been accomplished. I also want to thank all of you for your help at events, your old stories, and your advice! This year was so special for me, and I can’t wait for the next one. CU all then!


~ Nina “Pauws” Ellison ‘25