Passing the Axe

It’s the last game of the year; Northwestern is taking on SFA for Chief Caddo. With the game well in hand for the Lumberjacks, it is time for the halftime show. Tristain Harris follows the band onto the field and takes his usual spot at the 50-yard line, waiting nervously for the announcement of his title as the Lumberjack Marching Band’s new drum major. All day he held in the news, finding out six hours earlier that his dream for the last three years was coming true.

“It felt like a perfect dream,” Harris said, referring to what it was like when the band lined up to hug him at the front of the field after hearing his name. Although it wasn’t the first time he had been told the exciting news, it was the first time his fellow band members were informed, and the rest of the LMB was more than amazed.

Harris is a junior political science major with a passion for music. He has tried out for the drum major position three times, earning the title with one year left in college.

“It was hard because I knew I wasn’t a music major,” Harris said.

However, this challenge didn’t stop him from going after his dream.

“It was the morning of the final try- outs, and Dr. Campo told us to meet in the office around twelve,” Harris said. “I was so nervous, but I knew that if I didn’t make it, it’s okay because I always thought, ya know, if it’s not God’s plan for me to have it, it won’t hurt me because I know it wasn’t for me to have.”

Seconds later, Campo an- nounced Tristain Harris’ name. He was shocked.

“My heart skipped a beat, and at first I didn’t think he had said my name,” Harris said.

Although nervous about what was happening, Harris knew this was going to be the experience of a lifetime. It came as no surprise to the rest of the band when his name was called, and with the excitement in the air, Tristain began to plan his year as the 2015-2016 LMB drum major.

Following the legacy of his predecessor Dwight Watson, Harris has big shoes to fill and is taking it by storm.

“I want to make it my own,” Harris said. “I want to be more interactive with the audience and just change little things.” 

As a former drum major in high school, Harris knows that this is a big responsibility and is excited to take on the job. “It’s just a wonderful thing to be drum major of such a great band,” Harris said.

Watson, who gained the title in fall 2011, is confident that Harris will lead the band into victory with his spirit.

“I think Tristain is going to do an awesome job. He’s a very spirited individual, and will do wonderful things for this program,” Watson said.

He is sad to see it go,but Watson is happy know- ing that the LMB is in good hands.

“I’m going to miss every- thing,” Watson said. “I’m going to miss everything about it.”

Although leaving his role as LMB drum major, Watson is looking forward to his next two years here at SFA while he works on his mas- ter’s degree in conducting.

This year, the LMB is honored with the oppor- tunity to lead the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Harris will be leading the band, just as Watson did in London. Although it is nerve-racking, Harris is excited to do something he loves and to direct the spirit of SFA through the band. 

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