The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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To the beat of her own drum

Photo by Photo by Hannah Shaffer

Engineering junior Amanda Lovitt made history when she was selected as Artillery Band Bass Drummer, making her the female bass drummer in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. 

Despite previous years of training with the Corps of Cadets, a 40-pound drum seemed to present a new challenge for this cadet.
Engineering junior Amanda Lovitt was selected as the first female bass drummer for the 2021-2022 Texas A&M Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, a historical occasion for the band.
“I thought there was about a 50/50 chance that I would get it,” Lovitt said. “As time went on, I got a few clues that made me think, ‘Okay, I think I probably got this.’ It was definitely a surprise because they announced it at [the] gather ‘round at the end of practice. My heart stopped in my chest. It was like, ‘Wait, do I actually know I’m gonna get this? Do I think I’m gonna get this?’”
Although Lovitt said she initially attended A&M to study nuclear engineering, she now studies material sciences.
“Originally, I was not planning on joining a marching band when I came into college, because I knew that classes would be a lot,” Lovitt said. “It was an on-the-spot kind of moment. I joined the Corps because a lot of people in my family were Air Force cadets. So I joined the Corps because I already have a little bit of exposure to [the] military. Once I got here, I was like, ‘What the heck, I’m gonna be joining the Corps anyways, why not just join the band?’ because it’s something that I like and enjoy.”
Industrial and systems engineering senior Joshua Stroo said he has seen Lovitt’s growth since her freshman year and was honored and humbled for her to replace him as Artillery Band Bass Drummer this year. Stroo said Lovitt showed the most determination through the candidacy process and has an unmatched personality.
“Choosing Amanda for bass drummer was not an individual decision,” Stroo said. “The idea and initial planning came from myself and the two other bass drummers from last year, but the final decision came from an agreement of about 10 people; not a single one of them thought she wasn’t the right person for the job.”
Lovitt said she wasn’t the only female drummer who tried out for the position and felt supported throughout the selection process.
“At no point was it intimidating because I was a female because there was so much support from everyone around me, especially my buddies,” Lovitt said. “Every single time I talked about it, they were like ‘Yeah, go for it. You’re gonna do great.’”
Stroo said Lovitt’s gender had no role in the decision-making process.
“It wasn’t until after the decision was made that we realized that this was something more monumental than we had imagined,” Stroo said. “I hope this shows women in the Corps that they are not limited or held back by their gender, but that they feel empowered and motivated by Amanda’s example to strive for any roles they are interested in.”
Despite previous years of training, Lovitt said the physical aspect of carrying the drum was the hardest.
“For me, the equivalent of marching an eight-minute show while playing the drum is the same as running a mile,” Lovitt said. “It’s the same amount of workout for me. You definitely have to be strong enough to do it.”
Economics junior and fellow cadet William Pattison said Lovitt has shown impressive dedication and provides a strong example for underclassmen to follow.
“She shows it in the same way that every other dedicated bandsman shows it: by coming every day and giving 100 percent effort in rehearsals and performing well on Kyle Field,” Pattison said. “She has a notably strong work ethic. Being in the Aggie Band is strenuous enough, but in addition to that, she is tackling a material sciences and engineering degree as well as other organizations within the Corps.”
Although she is the first woman in the position, Pattison said gender did not play a role.
“The bass drummers are just three drummers performing a service to the band,” Pattison said. “We are chosen because we stand out among our class as Aggie bandsmen for our character and love of the organization. Whoever the top three juniors are in regards to character, spirit and ability will earn the position.”
Stroo said Lovitt didn’t earn the title of “leader” by her position, but by the way she carries herself and how she treats others.
“She values the well-being of everyone and does not use her roles as tactics to force people to do something, because she is able to do that through trust and inspiration,” Stross said. “She is exactly the type of leader that anyone would want to work with.”

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