GSU’s first home game debuts female drum major

The Tigers band places women in leadership roles
Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Grambling State University Marching Band is changing the game. A female drum major taking the field for the first time in 70 years and leading the band along this journey is the school’s first female Band Director.

Stepping into a new dynamic, that’s what the World-Famed Tigers Marching Band has done by placing women in leadership roles. Candice Hawthorne is the Grambling State University drum major she says this position didn’t come easy.

“Tryouts were in the Spring, I didn’t get chosen for that since it was a smaller season. So they told me to keep working and keeping working. I didn’t let that unmotivate me, even though some days I did want to give up completely,” she said.

Hard work, dedication, and persistence led her into her destiny of making history. Now she’s marching to the beat of the tigers’ drums, but she’ll never forget the hard work she put in behind the scenes.

“Since I was a female I had to make sure I’m as fit as the guys. So I’ll go home and work out on my own, and practice on my own to make sure I looked how they looked so I could make myself stick out,” said Hawthorne.

Grambling State University Band Director Dr. Nikole Roebuck joins Hawthorne in making history. She’s GSU’S first-ever female Band Director but to Roebuck, it’s bigger than a position.

“So I say all the time it’s more than music to me. Music is a big part of it but it’s more than music to me it’s about the kids and the lives I influence and just making them contributing members of society” she said.

As Hawthorne focuses on her new leadership role, Dr. Roebuck says she will continue pouring all the knowledge she’s learned over her years into the next generation.

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