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Two win drum major slots with Red Sea of Sound marching band

By Jennifer Rooks
On May 4, 2012

The Red Sea of Sound, Winston-Salem State's marching band, has two new drum majors for the 2012-2013 band season.
Drum major tryouts took place April 20.
Joshua Hayes and Braxton Allen defeated three other participants trying out for Chain Reaction, the drum major squad for the Red Sea of Sound.
"I don't have any words right now," Hayes said.
"I'm just happy."
Hayes is a freshman biology major from Richmond.
"I don't even know how to describe how I feel because it hasn't hit me yet," Allen said.
Allen is a junior music education major from Greensboro.
"I know that later on tonight, I'm probably going to realize that I am a drum major, and I am in Chain Reaction."
The five contestants were required to demonstrate various skills including showmanship, mace work, and voice projection in front of a panel of six judges.
The judges included Michael Macgruder, Red Sea of Sound director and Lakeith Stevenson director of Food Services.
The competition also involved two freestyle portions where the five contestants were given two minutes to improvise their own routines, one with music accompaniment and one without music.
The annual drum major
tryouts usually begin during the spring.
For about a month, aspiring drum majors practiced from 30 minutes to one hour daily to prepare for the 45-minute tryout.
Allen said that he practiced on the tennis court in the complex where he lives.
"I would go in the tennis court even after it would close," Allen said.
"Just me and the mace out there practicing every little move, every little detail, making sure it [the routine] is perfect."
Norris Day, a senior music business major from Charlotte and former drum major, said he understood why Allen had been chosen as the second drum major.
"I think he [Allen] was chosen solely on his musicality," Day said.
"He is a music major and he can do well with leading the band as well as teaching music."
Rontavion Armstrong, a sophomore music education major from Charlotte, said that the selections were good and that both contestants were the best people for the job.
"I'm very satisfied, " Armstrong said.
The two newest members of Chain Reaction now have to start training over the summer, but Allen said that he is ready for the challenge.
"I know that I will stick it out the same way I did in the try-outs."

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