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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Marching Band

Marching Orders

Senior music major makes history as UTSA's first head drum major

Alana Urbano, the UTSA marching band’s first head drum major, was the last drum major at her high school, South San Antonio High School West Campus, before it closed in 2008. She loves the symmetry.

“It’s so neat that I was able to close out that history and begin this new one at UTSA,” said the senior music major.

“It’s really exciting to get those feelings back, that passion, that gung-ho attitude about marching band and having music and football, those two things together–my favorites. It’s unbelievably awesome that this is happening.”

Urbano, who plays the flute and comes from a long line of musicians, is one of three drum majors selected this year. She said their role is “pretty basic.”

“From an audience perspective, you go out there and you’re the conductor of the band,” she said. “You conduct them and you [mark] time so that everybody is on time with each other, left foot, right foot; everybody follows your hands. That’s what everybody sees.”

But behind the scenes, she added, the drum majors represent and advocate for the band.

Urbano said her career plans include music composition. “So basically, I’m aspiring to be somebody like Beethoven or Mozart,” she said. “I plan to write music for video games or movies, but it’s really hard. It’s all about networking. When you’re a composition major you’ve got to know you can’t just do one thing. You’ve got to be a jack-of-all-trades. You have to be able to write for high school, middle school, marching bands, jingles, pretty much everything.

“It’s about finding your niche, where you want to start. It’s like being an entrepreneur, almost.”

Urbano also plans on getting a master’s in music immediately after receiving her bachelor’s.

But for now, her attention is on band and football.

“It’s going to be a crazy mix of emotions marching out at the Alamodome,” Urbano said. “I’m going to be so excited because this is what I’ve been waiting for, to walk out there and show UTSA what we have as far as a music department, as a new marching band. It’s just going to be so incredibly exciting. And I’ll also be a little scared because it will be the first time. It’s going to be a whole new game, a whole new world.”

—Joe Michael Feist

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