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Woman becomes second female drum major at Grambling in 70 years

Deante Gibson, Candace Hawthorne, and Sheavion Jones have been named drum majors at Grambling.
Deante Gibson, Candace Hawthorne, and Sheavion Jones have been named drum majors at Grambling.(GSU)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 10:29 AM CDT
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GRAMBLING, La. (KSLA) - Grambling State University has announced its drum majors for the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, and one of them is only the second woman to fill the role in the last 70 years.

Deante Gibson, Candace Hawthorne, and Sheavion Jones have all been named drum majors for the World Famed Tiger Marching Band at Grambling.

DEANTE GIBSON

Gibson hails from Jeanerette and is a senior majoring in marketing/management. Hawthorne, also a senior, is from Dallas and is majoring in engineering technology and music. Jones, also from Dallas, is a junior majoring in marketing.

“Last year was very different not being able to have a season so it feels good to be back,” said Director of Bands Dr. Nikole Roebuck. “We have a new set of drum majors this season who are very eager to show what they are made of.”

These three students will set the tempo for the marching band and keep the tempo. They must display exceptional musical, drill, and leadership skills, the university says.

Gibson is head drum major; he says he plans to lead by example.

“As head drum, I know I have a lot of eyes on me,” he said. “And those eyes are pushing me to encourage my fellow bandsmen to push themselves to the greatest potential, give 110 percent and give the people what they like: a show-stopping performance.”

Gibson says he’s “overwhelmed at the opportunity and excited to get this fall 2021 kicked off.” He also hopes the band will get the chance to do more performances, unlike in 2020.

“I am looking forward to shutting down all other competition that steps in front of us on the field and off - halftime shows, parades, battle of the bands, etc.,” he said.

CANDACE HAWTHORNE

Hawthorne is the first female drum major since Velma Patricia Patterson, who served through 1952, the university says.

Velma Patricia Patterson served as a drum major at Grambling State University through 1952.
Velma Patricia Patterson served as a drum major at Grambling State University through 1952.(GSU)

“It’s extremely mind-blowing,” Hawthorne said. “I never would have expected for me to make history like this. I am so honored. It’s really crazy because I have always wanted to be a drum major, but I did not have the confidence to try out or go for it. So to be at my favorite HBCU and this happens to me, I am like ‘wow.’”

Dr. Roebuck says, “Having Candace as the first female drum major in 70 years is another historical event for not only the World Famed, but the university as well. She is paving the way for females to come.”

“I ask the fans to keep watching and get listening,” Dr. Roebuck said. “It’s almost show time!”

SHEAVION JONES

Jones says becoming a drum major is something he has pictured for a long time.

“It’s a big dream come true,” he said. “I have dreamed about this since before high school.”

Jones says he’s looking forward to traveling with the band and “conquering other bands that stand in our way.”

“We are ready!” he said. “Remember, show time starts September 5.”

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