David Hines, Jr., a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student, will lead the Michigan Marching Band during the 2009 season as drum major, the student leader of the nearly 300-person ensemble.
The drum major is responsible for using whistle commands to set song tempos and provide parade instructions. The drum major also teaches the band marching technique during Band Week in August, and usually performs a twirling routine during halftime. The College of Engineering is strongly represented in the Michigan Marching Band, comprising 37 percent of its participants. Hines is the third Mechanical Engineering student to hold the position of Drum Major since 1984.
Hines has been involved with music since the sixth grade, when he began playing the clarinet. In the eighth grade, he switched to the bass clarinet “after being told that I played too loud for two years.” He played the bass clarinet in band for four years at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia; in marching band he played the clarinet for the first two years, and then served at Drum Major his junior and senior years. He auditioned for the Michigan Marching Band his senior year on the euphonium, after learning from Professor Jamie Nix, then the Director of the band, that Michigan needed musicians on the instrument. Though he had only one semester to master the brass instrument, “things worked out” and he has been playing the euphonium in the MMB since his freshman year. He became Drum Major on April 21st after the band’s spring meeting.
Balancing academic work with responsibilities in the MMB has, Hines says, been “difficult.” As incoming Drum Major, Hines practices for 12-16 hours during the summer preseason, then intensifies preparation during Band Week, when the band holds two to three marching rehearsals and one musical rehearsal almost every day until the first game. Once the school year starts up, the band practices together an hour and a half hours every day of the week. In addition to his participation in marching band, Hines is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Nu Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, and is a leader of the Michigan Marching Band Bible Study.
Despite the workload, the ME student, who is interested in product design and whose “dream job” is to be a Disney Imagineer, finds that the worlds of engineering and marching band do inform each other in helpful ways. In ME coursework as in the MMB, teamwork and resilience is essential, and Hines claims that “the same problem solving and communication skills that I use with my design groups have definitely helped me to become a better leader on the field.”
Hines’s first season as Drum Major will bring new opportunities along with its challenges. Hines hopes to bring individuality to the position, saying that “though I have studied and learned a lot from past Drum Majors, I can honestly say that my style is still very unique and will hopefully be a breath of fresh air for the fans on game day.” He also looks forward to interacting more with other band members than in his past years in the euphonium section. And of course, for a student whose parents both went to Michigan and who grew up watching Michigan Football, the game itself is a passion. Acknowledging that the past season was a difficult one for Michigan Football fans, Hines is optimistic about the future and grateful for his unique front-seat vantage point: “I expect the 2009 Michigan Wolverines to shock some people and I am blessed God has given me the opportunity to watch it unfold as Drum Major.”