Student makes history as member of Arkansas State University’s marching band

From Region 8 News at Six
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 9:37 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - An Arkansas State University student is making history.

Alandria Maddox is leading the Sound of the Natural State Marching Band as a drum major.

Her title comes with a little distinction. She is the first African-American woman drum major for the band.

“And people were like are ‘you the first African American woman?’ And I was like ‘yeah.’ So they was like ‘you are a history major and you’re making history,’ and I was like yeah,” she said.

It’s a distinction that many, including Maddox, are proud of.

Maddox explained although it is great to be a first, it’s not something that will define her position in the band.

“Me being a first it wasn’t something that I was seeking to be, it’s something that came about,” she said.

Being involved in the band didn’t just start for her. She began in middle school playing the clarinet.

“After my seventh grade year I wanted to quit,” she said. “I played clarinet and he called my mom and he said this girl can not leave the band she has so much potential, she’s amazing, so after that, I was like I’ll give it a chance.”

She continued her journey in the band as a drum major at Jonesboro High School.

Now, she continues leading and mentoring her bandmates at Arkansas State University.

“Just having another way of expressing myself in such a beautiful way in which it can be interpreted by so many people in so many different ways,” she said.

Band practice is filled with long hours and hot conditions, but she says as a leader she has to make sure everyone is encouraged to keep going.

“I love just being with them and encouraging them and we are having a good time. I think that is the best part about it,” said Maddox.

She dances, cheers, and keeps the group upbeat with the other two drum majors.

“I mean the music, we are always going to make music it’s required for us to make music, but it’s not required for us to be positive or to love each other or to care about each other, and support each other,” she explained.

She starts practice and game days with stretches to get ready.

“To keep going for hours and hours and hours and keep my band encouraged, so we can encourage the football team because that is a big part of it,” she said.

Maddox said if it was not for other drum majors paving the way for her and her band directors encouraging her, she would not be where she is today.