Winston-Salem State's Band Makes History PDF Print E-mail
By Natalie Davis -- Black College Wire   
Winston-Salem State’s Red Sea of Sound marching band welcomed Tiffany Davis as its second female drum major in its history. The Charlotte, N.C., native is also the first female drum major in Chain Reaction, the name of the drum majors.

Band Director Michael Magruder said several females have tried out for drum major, but there was something that Davis had that the others didn’t.

"She was creative in her audition," said Magruder, who has been the director since July 2004. "She did things that none of the others did."

WSSU, Amber Taylor
Tiffany Davis
Davis, who has been a percussionist for 10 years, said she has always wanted to be a drum major.

"Being a drum major on the collegiate level would be something huge," she said.

Davis said that people told her that she could not do it, and her motivation was to prove them wrong.

After two official tryouts, Davis obtained a spot in Chain Reaction, which has not had female leadership since 2000.

"My most unique characteristic, other than being a female, is that I am very creative with my ideas," the music business student said. "I try my best to do what has not been done."

Davis said that her motivation for the band is her passion.

"Seeing the crowd and marching beside the boys is all I know right now."

She said her parents are very proud. Her mother was a flag girl, and her father played the trumpet, she said.  

"I think they are the whole reason I don't limit myself because they never limited me," she said.

Although her parents support her decision to try out for Chain Reaction, Davis' father was skeptical about her becoming a drum major because he did not know of any female drum majors.

"He knew I would be marching beside guys and wondered if I would be able to keep up,” Davis said. "He didn't doubt me, but he prepared me just in case I would have gotten my feelings hurt."

Davis also said that her older sister is a flag girl, and her younger sister plays the trombone.

Tashara McNair, a senior music student from Greensboro, N.C., said Davis' unique style, dominating charisma, and work ethic is what makes her a great drum major. She can “go twice as hard as a male,” she said.

"She had leadership skills that shined through even before she was made drum major," McNair said.

McNair said that Davis has the patience to work with others.

"She is a natural born entertainer and she has an illuminating glow that is apparent to everyone," said Chermane Shuford, a senior mass communications student from Washington, D.C.

Davis has one more year to march with the band.

She said she has to leave "with a bang," and is looking forward to seeing what will happen.

"This is my biggest accomplishment only because it's my latest one," Davis said. "I still have time to make even bigger ones."

Natalie Davis writes for the News Argus, the Winston-Salem State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Nov. 10, 2011
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