Laham conducts marching band to success


Katie Walsh

Drum Major Jacob Laham conducts the band during halftime.

Jenna Coladarci , Correspondent

When drum major Jacob Laham was conducting the DHS Marching Band during its annual jamboree, he couldn’t help but notice his players’ faces.

  “As I was conducting, I could see the excitement in the band’s faces as the crowd cheered them on. The overall mood was very positive and uplifting, and we gave one of our best performances of the season that night,” said Laham, who passed the rigorous tests to become this year’s drum major.

   Most recently, the marching band competed in the U.S. Band’s, New England State Championships on Oct. 28. The Hatters placed third in New England and second in Connecticut in class 2A.

At the jamboree on Oct. 21 at Western Connecticut State University’s Westside Campus, competitors included Brien McMahon, Brookfield, Garden Cityl, Newtown, Port Chester, Norwalk, New Fairfield, Bethel and Shelton.

  A drum major is the highest leadership position available in marching band. Laham has responsibilities such as conducting the band during performances and serving as a bridge between students and faculty in marching band.

   Before being the drum major, Laham played the tenor saxophone. “I started playing in 4th grade, and I’ve loved playing it ever since.” Laham says.

      Laham was required to go through a long and rigorous process to achieve the position as drum major. “First, we had to write a one page essay on why we deserved to be drum major. Then one- on-one interviews were held with the marching band faculty. Then the final task was an audition where we led and conducted the band. We were scored on how well we did that.” Laham says.

Laham conducted many rehearsals in order to be ready for the jamboree. He worked alongside other members that hold leadership positions

     Laham was also assisted by faculty members, Edward Adams, the director, Eric Stramel, the assistant director, Glenn Ullman, the brass technician and Emily Joseph, the head color guard instructor.

     Adams said that Jacob does a very good job leading. “Jacob is very well prepared. His preparation has helped everyone in the marching band from band camp through the end of the season.”

      Bandmate Anastasia Radcliff agrees too. “The qualities Jacob brings as a drum major is commitment and positivity.  He has not missed a single practice since the season has started.  He always shows up on time and is ready to perform his best. Even if we don’t do well at a practice or a competition, Jacob just responds with, ‘that’s okay, we can always improve.’ Jacob is someone we can all look up to.”

     Another bandmate Kiara Kaltschnee also agrees. “Jacob receives undeniable respect from the members of the band, and this is because he is a confident, responsible, and understanding individual. He isn’t just drum major of the DHS Marching Band — he is an incredible friend that I respect dearly. His passion for music and the success of the band makes him more than qualified for this position. He is the heart of this band; his enthusiasm and encouragement keeps the band alive.”

Laham stated that he loves being in marching band and competing. He has fun and knows that this is something he wants to continue in the future. “In college I want to join my school’s marching band and pursue a career in Music Education and Performance.”

Laham says that this weekend’s jamboree was one of the marching band’s best performances. “It was the best because we had worked very hard leading up to the day of the jamboree and we had a huge amount of support from the spectators.”