The dream team

Annie George

Nathan Hopkins- Junior

Nathan Hopkins has been in the Kirkwood band for four years. During that time Hopkins has won silver at the solo and ensemble state festival. Most importantly, however, he said he is loving his new role as a drum major at KHS. He said he noticed the change of energy from when he started in middle school, all the way to high school band. 

“Once you get to the high school, there’s a lot more people,” Hopkins said. “You bond like a big family because you’re all working together a lot.”

 Hopkins also acknowledged that while the task of grading students falls on the teachers, the drum majors are there on the frontlines for the students during practices and performances. Students are a big and normal part of a drum major’s day at KHS, according to Hopkins.

  “The drum majors are always up front directing and helping the students,” Hopkins said. “If there’s a problem we are always right there to help the student out or solve any disruption that is taking place.”

 Hopkins also said his new perspective as a leader has been an eye opener for him. He said it has been a great change from being a normal student in middle school concert band to a drum major at KHS. 

“Working with the directors is pretty cool because you now see band in the eyes of the director, not as the student,” Hopkins said. “It’s like a whole new look at the band.” 

With Kirkwood’s upcoming game against Webster, he also said he likes the atmosphere of the event. Hopkins also says that it helps the community of Kirkwood

“The whole environment of Turkey Day is incredible.” Hopkins said. “It really brings the band and Kirkwood together.”

And what does Hopkins say Kirkwood does on Turkey Day

“We always win the bell.”

Annie George 

Ryan Bowermaster- Senior

Ryan Bowermaster has been a part of the KHS marching band leadership for the past two years. He has also been playing the trumpet since freshman year and he’s been a drum major in the marching band since 2017.

“I see it as an everyday activity,” Bowermaster said. “It has changed so much for me as a whole since I’ve started, such as the community and people I’ve known.” 

Bowermaster’s senior class is the smallest in the band with 39 students. He said the number of people went down a bit in the last year, but according to Bowermaster, that’s not a bad thing.

“It’s brought [the seniors] closer together and the band closer together,” Bowermaster said. “It’s made us even more of a tight-knit, closer group.”

  One thing that will be a great ending for Ryan and other KHS band seniors is to see Kirkwood battle rival Webster during their final band performance. The game will also be at KHS, which means the final band performance for the seniors will be where they’ve played for four years.  

“It’s definitely going to be a lot more special in that sense because it is [seniors’] final goodbye to the band,” Bowermaster said. “I’m really looking forward to it, and especially looking forward to us possibly winning in my senior year against Webster.” 

Rebecca Friesen- head band director

Rebecca Friesen is in her second year as the head band director at KHS. In her two years, she said she has seen the program improve and go on more trips, such as the one to Chicago last year. Friesen also mentioned that she has seen and helped prepare many KHS band performances in her two years at Kirkwood, and that the Turkey Day game for the marching band is a great event for them. 

“For us, even though its a regular home-game performance, [Turkey Day] is a special one because of the much bigger audience we play in front of for that game.” Friesen said. “It’s always special to see how the community of Kirkwood appreciates our halftime performance, especially on Turkey Day.” 

According to Friesen, the drum majors have a huge responsibility for every one of those home-game performances. Friesen said how much they control the band during the halftime field performance.

“When it comes to halftime, the directors are hands off completely,” Friesen said. “It’s really cool to see the [drum majors] working so hard and being so successful when they conduct the halftime performances.” 

 She praised the drum majors for collaborating so well together and constantly being involved in extra band activities. Freisen said they have always tried out for the all-suburban band, and are always at events where it is optional for band members to come, such as playing at basketball games and jazz band. 

“They are a really great team and are always open to suggestions and positive constructive criticism,” Friesen said. “They are all improving every single day.”

  Friesen took over as the main band director last year.  Previously, she had been the head band director at North Kirkwood Middle School, and she says she’s just trying to make the band an even better place for any incoming or previous band student at KHS.

  “I think the band has always had a really great culture and I’ve tried to continue that after I took over for the previous band director, Mr. Melsha,” Friesen said. “I think we still have that culture of family and togetherness in the band every day, and it’s always getting better.”