Senior Spotlight: Tyra Thompson

Chloe Hunter, Guest Writer

Following the first half, senior Tyra Thompson communicates that her band is ready with a quick salute, a privilege of the head drum major. She then turns to face the award-winning Cedar Park marching band, and the show begins. From summer band to their state winning performance, Thompson has repeated these motions countless times as the band’s as head drum major.

Thompson said that she was encouraged by her peers to take a stand in band.

“My freshman year the senior drum majors were very inspiring to me, they always reached out to me and made me feel super important, even though I was just a little freshman,” Thompson said. “I really wanted to be that person for other individuals coming in.”

After playing clarinet in the ensemble for her freshman and sophomore year, Thompson became a drum major her junior year. During shows, the head drum major is responsible for locking in the tempo with the center snare player, which is then spread to the other three drum majors and the rest of the marching band.

“It was scary at first, but you definitely have to trust yourself,” Thompson said.  “It’s a lot of trusting yourself and a lot of preparation. Working with them enabled us to build up the trust between myself and the center snare so I can trust myself, I can trust him, and then together everyone can trust us.”

In the past, the groups of drum majors have typically been all male or mixed, but for the last two years at Cedar Park, only females have filled the spot. In addition to Thompson, the other drum majors are juniors Kendyl Morris, Emily White and Alyssa Fielding.

“It’s really empowering, because we’re girl bosses,” Thompson said. “We bounce off of each other’s energy and strength, so it’s definitely really cool.”

This year, the marching season culminated in a UIL state winning run in San Antonio, which was the final performance of the “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” and the last time the seniors would perform together.

It’s really empowering, because we’re girl bosses. We bounce off of each other’s energy and strength, so it’s definitely really cool.

Thompson said that this state performance was their best yet.

“We [had] this big hit at the end, it’s a 16 count note, and I cut them off and I turn around and I do my bow, which is my favorite part,” Thompson said. “I know how I’m feeling and I know everyone behind me is feeling that same way, and I get to represent that feeling to the crowd. The smile on my face and the reaction was so genuine that it was so special and my smile was just so big.”

These experiences have been a transformative part of her high school experience, and one that Thompson said she will take with her in the fall to the University of Texas at San Antonio as she takes part in the UT Coordinated Admission Program. Thompson then plans to transfer and graduate from UT Austin with a degree in public relations.

“The dream would be to intertwine my passion for the music community and my job, so it would be cool to work somewhere in the music industry, but on the business side and less on the performance side,” Thompson said. “I’d like to be around what I’m passionate about while still doing a consistent job.”