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Fighting Bee: Drum Major Tala Dimitroff

Tala Dimitroff is a senior music education major here at SAU. She also plays an important role as a drum major in the school bands. Originally from East Peoria, IL, Dimitroff now attends SAU in hopes of teaching music overseas when she graduates. 

Which bands are you a part of here at SAU? 

“I’m currently in marching band and symphonic band. I was in jazz band for two and a half years, but it didn’t fit in my schedule the past few semesters.” 

How long have you been a part of band? 

“I’ve been a part of the Fighting Bee Band all four years. I was in the Colorguard my first year, my second year I made drum major and then also played trombone on the field. Then last year and this year I was just a drum major.”

What duties come with being a drum major?

“So being a drum major at this school kind of makes us like assistant directors. We are in charge of rehearsing the band sometimes, we’re the ones on the stand conducting all the time. We warm up the band, make sure the drills are being set, help make the schedule, help make the planning documents, and make sure everyone is getting food and water. We take care of it all.”

How did you become a drum major? 

“Everyone who is on our student leadership team, or SLT, including drum majors audition in the spring semester. The drum major audition is pretty rigorous, we have to fill out an application which includes taking things like personality tests. Then we have to demonstrate marching, show that we can teach, and show that we can conduct different things, such as different tempos or meters. 

What does a typical practice look like for you? 

“We roll up maybe half an hour early to wherever rehearsal is, then we set up the site, get everybody stretching, and get everybody warming up music. Then we start working on music or start setting drills. At the end of the night, we all come together and have a powwow about what we can work on. We end with our little chant.”

Why did you decide to audition for drum major? 

“Since the program was so new there was a lack of training for leadership my freshman year. I wanted to help where I could with one of my fellow freshmen so I started working for the band as a work-study and then auditioned for drum major because I knew I could have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time. My first year as a drum major I was able to organize a leadership camp for all student leadership that happens every year now. 

Have you always been a music major? 

“I didn’t come in as a music education major, originally I was a music minor. Being in the band and taking some of the courses for my music minor made me change my mind and decide to go with music education.”

What got you interested in music in the first place? 

“Growing up my dad always had music playing. My mom is not necessarily musically inclined. But my dad had a band, and he was a really good guitar player. So growing up he was always playing different types of music. He played trombone so when I was in fifth grade and got to choose an instrument I chose trombone.”

What are you hoping to do after graduation?

“I’m hoping to either work overseas teaching music or I’m interested in getting my masters in arts administration.”

Why did you choose to attend SAU? 

“Both of my parents grew up in Milan, IL, and so I spent a lot of time in the Quad Cities growing up. While I didn’t want to stay in my hometown area I did still want to be close to my family. So the Quad Cities is where I ended up.” 

What should people be excited about looking forward to when it comes to the band? 

“I think people should be excited for the new Winterguard program that’s coming. It will be competitive, and our percussion will be competitive as well. We will be competing on the national circuits, and will have the opportunity to qualify for nationals.” 

You can catch the band at their upcoming performance at the Geneseo Maple Leaf Classic as well as multiple performances during Homecoming Week at SAU.