Paster becomes first African-American ND head drum major
By KELLY HAGER
The 2001 football season will feature another first for Notre Dame. Leading the band for the 2001 season is new head drum major Tambre Paster — the first woman head drum major in 16 years and the first African-American drum major in University history.
"I am so honored and pleased to be working with such a talented group," said Paster. "Having the ability and opportunity to lead a group with both the prestige and tradition of the Notre Dame marching band — it makes me very happy."
Serving with the band since 1972, Father George Wiskirchen has been witness to much change. Now serving as an assistant director, Wiskirchen stated that he was extremely pleased to see the band students elect Paster as head drum major.
"I think it is great — Tambre is the first African-American head drum major the band has ever had — and I don't believe that her race will be an issue in the way she performs her job," said Wiskirchen. "She gets along with other people and is very competent. She'll do well."
When asked how she felt about being the first African- American drum major, and the first female in 16 years, Paster commented that "it will be a little unnerving at first to be under the public microscope" but she doesn't really focus on her gender or race as an issue when performing her job.
"I am proud to say that I am the first African-American drum major for the University," said Paster. "I am glad that it finally happened ... it represents how this school in particular is going in the right direction by not looking at color when deciding who the best person is for the job.
Paster is not a stranger to the director's podium, serving not only as a drum major while in high school, but also as an assistant drum major for Notre Dame last season.
Paster plays piccolo in concert band during the fall and spring. This spring, in addition to her responsibilities in the concert groups, Paster will begin taking on the responsibilities of her new drum major job.
Such responsibilities include managing the show committee that is responsible for choosing and deciding what music will be performed during the marching season. She will also be holding meetings inviting people to discuss ideas for the coming year and evaluate the past season to see where improvements should be made.
As marching season approaches, Paster will be spending more time in the band building preparing for the task at hand. Next year as a senior, majoring in aerospace engineering, Paster will be taking frequent breaks from her studies to attend practices, usually lasting 12-25 hours a week.
Paster said these hours will prove to be a combination of fun and hard work. "Every drum major rules differently, and I intend on leading the band by example to improve the attitude of people in band and bring the members closer together to perform better as a band," she said.
Paster was selected for head drum major after an extensive audition. Paster began practicing in October and auditions began in late November. The original group consisted of 16 people.
After the first marching audition, the group was narrowed down to eight. Those eight progressed to the conducting audition and interview in front of the band. Auditions were completed in early December and winners were announced shortly after.
Non-auditioning band members were present for the auditions and played a very important role in the selection. Together, band members, assistant directors, graduate assistants and past drum majors voted for three new drum majors for the year.
Brad Mazner and Jessica Boehm were selected as assistant drum majors.
All News Stories for Friday, February 9, 2001