This is the first of a 2-part series about the Tunkhannock Area High School marching band. Today, we speak with Preston West, a senior, third-year drum major at the school.
Q: What led you to become part of the marching band?
A: Just the group of people. I love our school band and I just love the interknit group, how well everyone works together and how great of a team we are.
Q: What instrument do you play? What about this instrument drew you to it?
A: Tenor sax. My mother actually played alto sax. She introduced me to music at a young age and I prospered through it ever since.
Q: What made you want to pursue being a drum major?
A: I love being in that leadership role and being a role model to others. I wanted to help our band be the best it could be and make our band, our motto: “The pride of Tunkhannock,” and keep pursuing that.
Q: What is the hardest part about marching band?
A: I would say the memorization of music. Just for show music, that’s one of the biggest struggles that I’ve seen the past three years I’ve been drum major. That just takes time and practice, just like anything else.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of marching band?
A: I am on the varsity swim team and the varsity men’s volleyball team. I also hunt, fish, go and support local activities and just be a person in the community.
Q: Do you have any notable or favorite traditions within your band?
A: My favorite is when we go to anything that they need the band to play music for, if we have down time we’ll sit there and go out of our way to play extra music for people, be more of an entertainment group. We play “Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar,” which is always fun.
Q: What is your favorite song that your marching band performs?
A: I would say my favorite would probably be the last one, from “Toy Story,” “You’ve Got a Friend In Me.” It’s our show closer.
Q: What type of music do you listen to on a daily basis?
A: It really depends on the mood that I’m in, but mostly it’s classical, jazz and some rock music. Also some old ‘80s classical rock and some swing. It all depends what I’m listening to on that certain day.
Q: What is your favorite thing about NEPA?
A: The environment, the people. Everyone is just so willing to help each other. I just love the people.
Q: What is your all-time favorite movie?
A: I would say probably, as cheesy as it sounds, “The Drumline” with Nick Cannon. I love that movie.
Q: What are you most looking forward to post-high school?
A: Probably coming back as an alumni and seeing how the band has prospered since I left, seeing the band progress the way it’s going.
Q: What makes your marching band unique; why should people vote for your band?
A: Our band is definitely unique. I would say our playing styles, our school in general, we have a large mix of musical playing styles. We have two jazz bands, so we have a lot of swing that is put in some of our show tunes. We also have a lot of great all-state players that play in the marching band, so that goes into our section and expands the diversity of musical talent and capability.
*School: Tunkhannock Area High School
*Instruments: Tenor saxophone; drum major.
*College: Leaning toward University of Scranton.