Drum Roll Please: Department of Music announces new Drum Major for 2023

When walking the halls of the dean’s suite in the theatre arts building on the campus of Lamar University, there hangs a black and white photo of a young woman in old school marching band garb. Underneath the photo rests a tag that reads “Drum Major with Lamar Band” with the year 1936 attached to it.

87 years ago, a female drum major led the Lamar band. Now, for the first time since the band’s return in 2010, the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music has selected the first female drum major who will take on the role on her own.

Kamryn Knafelz, a fourth-year senior music major, has been selected as the new drum major for The Showcase of Southeast Texas Marching Band following a month-long application, interview and audition process. After being the runner up for the drum major position last year, Dr. Eric Shannon, associate professor and director of athletic bands, said that he saw Knafelz working all season long to earn this position.

drum-major-2023.jpgKnafelz will lead the band during pep events and football games in the fall semester and will serve as the top representative. She has previously served as president of the Tau Beta Sigma chapter and section leader for the flute and piccolo studio.

“I’m very excited,” said Knafelz. “I’ve spent a lot of time doing the dirty work and teaching people how to march, being in charge as section leader and uniform manager and just overseeing the smaller details that make us look good as a whole. So, now in my last year, I get to take a step back from that and observe and watch from the sideline and see the effect of what I have left on the field.”

Following the band’s return in 2010, there were multiple drum major’s selected. However, this was changed in 2020 during the pandemic. Although there have been female drum major’s since 2010, Knafelz will make history as the first solo female drum major.

“I’m excited to get to represent us and getting out there and doing this thing as a woman in music,” she said. “I think it can be really inspring and help others know, especially for younger members who might feel that it has been primarily male led in the past, that there’s change happening.”

To learn more about the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music and the Lamar Unviersity Band, visit lamar.edu/music