Claire Harrison, RB Graduate, Excels as Syracuse University Drum Major

by Madonna

Brookfield, IL – Claire Harrison, a 19-year-old sophomore at Syracuse University hailing from Brookfield, has made remarkable strides in her collegiate journey as a drum major for the Pride of the Orange, Syracuse University’s marching band. Despite her youth, Harrison’s dedication and musical prowess have earned her this prestigious role, making her one of the few college sophomores to hold such a position.

In a recent interview, Harrison reflected on her unexpected appointment as drum major, stating, “I knew it was something that I wanted to do eventually, but I never figured it would work out this way for sophomore year.”


Harrison, who previously served as a drum major for the Riverside Brookfield High School marching band during her senior year, initially applied for the position as a way to gain valuable experience and improve her chances of selection in the future. However, her exceptional performance during the application process, which included interviews, conducting Syracuse’s alma mater and fight song, and teaching marching band fundamentals, led to her being chosen as a drum major much sooner than anticipated.


Throughout her musical journey, Harrison has demonstrated her unwavering passion for marching band, which she credits to its unique blend of music, teamwork, and athleticism. She expressed, “My college experience and even my high school experience would not have been the same without marching band.”


As a drum major, Harrison’s commitment extends beyond the musical realm. She takes on the role of a band leader and dedicates herself to rigorous practice schedules, ensuring the band’s performance excellence. Her enthusiasm for the experience is evident as she describes the exhilaration of performing in front of a crowd of over 40,000 at the JMA Wireless Dome during home football games.

Harrison’s outstanding leadership and dedication were recognized by those who knew her at Riverside Brookfield High School, where she was actively involved in various activities, including serving as a student representative to the school board during her senior year. James Baum, director of the RB band, lauded her exceptional leadership and noted that she was the first RB graduate in the last 20 years to become a college drum major.

Despite her passion for music, Harrison has chosen to pursue a different career path, majoring in political science and magazine writing and digital journalism while minoring in Spanish. Her ambitions extend to a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, with potential career options including working in government, campaign management, public policy, or journalism.

Claire Harrison’s remarkable journey from Riverside Brookfield High School to her role as a drum major at Syracuse University is a testament to her unwavering dedication, leadership, and passion for music and public service. Her future is undoubtedly bright, and her impact is poised to extend far beyond the realm of marching band.


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