Senior John Brady fell in love with music in the sixth grade when he picked up the clarinet for the first time. For the next six years it was a harmonious relationship as Brady mastered the saxophone and the clarinet, which led to all-state honors and the coveted drum major position of his 300-member high school band. After graduation he wondered if he could continue his musical studies in college or if he’d have to sacrifice it to pursue an academic love of his – engineering.
Luckily, Brady didn’t have to make that agonizing choice. Here at the university, he managed to skillfully combine both loves of music and academics. Talk about a guy who has it all!
Brady, a civil engineering senior, will become the new drum major of the Longhorn Band this fall, leading a cadre of 380 members in front of nearly 100,000 live, screaming, demanding football fans, and millions more watching the nationally-ranked Longhorn football team on television. His position as the lead musician for one of the most storied marching bands in the nation was hard-won. Three strong candidates competed in front of 100 of their Longhorn Band colleagues to demonstrate proficiency in conducting, teaching, speaking and coordinating marching movement on the field.
Longhorn Band Director Robert Carnochan says Brady stood out for his confidence, musical stature, proven marching abilities and, most importantly, respect among current band members.
“Brady has proven to be a very talented musician, and his leadership qualities make him an excellent drum major,” says Carnochan.
Brady’s biggest responsibility involves preparing prospective Longhorn Band members for auditions in August. Throughout the summer he visits major cities within the state to hold marching clinics which introduce potential members to the Longhorn Band marching style which includes the modern “roll step” and the traditional “taps stride” used when playing Texas Fight.
In August, an estimated 200 freshman will compete for spots on the field with current Longhorn Band members during “Band Week.” There, Brady is in charge of teaching freshmen and returning band members the precise marching drills required for auditions. Upon completion of the tryouts, Brady’s responsibilities change to conducting game-day rehearsals, pep rallies and leading the Longhorn Band into Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for on-field performances.
The Longhorn Band is rich with widely-recognized traditions, including ringing cowbells at football games and escorting Big Bertha, one of the largest bass drums in the world, onto the field. As drum major, Brady will take part in another tradition: wearing the drum major’s belt buckle which is passed on to the new drum major at the annual spring banquet. Engraved on the back of the buckle are the names of past Longhorn Band drum majors dating back to 1969.