On Friday April 12th, 10 candidates from the MVs auditioned in front of a live band for the coveted spot of drum major. Late that night, Nick Ramy got the phone call telling him he had earned the pleasure of being The Marching Virginians’ 50th drum major! Since Nick is a good friend of mine, I thought it would be exciting to interview him about how he’s feeling in regards to the upcoming season.
What aspect of being drum major are looking forward to the most?
I’d say being able to train all the Rookies and oversee all the leadership, over the course of Band Camp, and making the Rookies feel comfortable in a very stressful situation. It’s always been one of my favorite things to teach other people, and I feel like I kind of get a bonus doing it from this position.
What stand tune are you most excited to play on game day?
Oh, man, that’s tough. I’ll be pushing for Caravana lot more, so we’ll see.
I’m sure the Trumpets will love that.
They were begging me in our group chat to play it some more! And I was like “Yeah, sure!”
Have you had any previous drum major or leadership experience?
Yes! I was drum major for my high school, and it was about the same number of people, as there were about 300 people in our band. I was drum major for two years. It was the best two years of my life! I loved the experience, and I knew when I came here I wanted to do that same thing again.
Besides that, I was also a rank captain for the trumpets this past season. Additionally, I was a karate instructor for about 9 years and that was before I became drum major in high school, so I’ve been doing leadership stuff my whole life. It’s just where I feel best and most comfortable.
Since you have had experience with a band around the size of the MVs, is it little less intimidating for you?
The MVs are a little bit bigger, and it’s a little bit more intimidating because in high school a lot of people knew me going into the position of drum major, and that isn’t really the case here. Also, in my high school band we didn’t have auditions for sections, so it was easier to get in front of a group who wasn’t always giving it all their effort all the time. In this group of people, everyone cares so much, everyone wants to be there because they all auditioned for it. The first few weeks I’m sure will be a little intimidating, but I think I’ll be fine in the long run.
How does it feel to be the MV’s 50th drum major?
It still hasn’t completely hit me yet, it’s been a little bit less than two days since I found out, so every time I think about it I think “There’s no way that actually happened.” I feel like I was in a fever dream. It’s insane. It’s one of the biggest honors I’ve ever received, and I guess from here on out it’s my job to make sure I do the past 49 drum majors proud.
What do you think will be the most difficult part of being drum major?
The thing I’m most worried about is doing stand tunes during football games, because everything is so fast paced and a game can have so many twists and turns in it. I want to be sure I call the right thing. I didn’t do that kind of thing in high school, because we didn’t play in between every single down. It’ll be a new experience - one that I’m really excited about, but also a little nervous for.
How was it going through the drum major audition process?
Honestly, I felt very comfortable because that process was almost identical to the one I went through in high school, but it was very intimidating because everybody that auditioned was good. There wasn’t a single person that I looked at and thought “Oh, I don’t have to worry about them,” you know? In high school there were people who I knew weren’t taking it as seriously or who were just doing it for fun, but this time I was worried about everybody. It didn’t matter what year they were or what section they were in, they all made me nervous because they were all so talented.
Are you looking forward to working with Ashlyn McDonald, drum major 49?
Absolutely! Ashlyn is an amazing person, an amazing leader, and I’m very excited to learn many, many things from her as the season goes on.
For a fun final question, I know you’re a big Hokies football fan. Is there a football game you’re already looking forward to seeing?
I think I’m gonna say ODU and that might be controversial, but I’m gonna say ODU because we lost to them last season horribly. I feel like there will be a lot of intensity in Lane Stadium this year because everyone knows that our pride will really be at stake.