UW Athletics and the Cowboy Joe Club Begins New Tradition of Sponsoring Scholarships for Western Thunder Drum Majors

Nov. 2, 2010


The University of Wyoming Athletics Department and the Cowboy Joe Club have begun a new tradition of providing three scholarships each semester to the Head Drum Major and two Assistant Drum Majors for the Western Thunder Marching Band. The announcement was made at halftime of last Saturday's Wyoming vs. San Diego State football game when the first three recipients were recognized.

The first scholarship recipients were: head drum major Michael Jaycox of Laramie, Wyo.; assistant drum major Lynn Hartley of Buffalo, Wyo.; and assistant drum major Becky Frawley from Phoenix, Ariz.

"We believe the relationship between Western Thunder and our Athletics Department is a very important one," said UW Athletics Director Tom Burman. "An outstanding marching band goes hand-in-hand in creating the excitement that surrounds a college football Saturday. Brad Williamson and his staff have done an outstanding job with Western Thunder. We are happy to be involved in recognizing the young men and women who have been selected to receive these drum major scholarships."

"We are excited about beginning this new tradition," said Josh Rebholz, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development and Revenue Enhancement. "We are pleased to recognize the tremendous efforts of Western Thunder and what they bring to our athletic events.

"We will provide $7,000 annually to the three drum majors - with an allocation being made to them each semester.

"The Cowboy Joe Club and its members are also proud to support a number of other campus entities through scholarship support. Some of the other areas we provide support to are: the rodeo team, animal science, UW cheerleading and Cowboy Joe the Pony."

"On behalf of the Western Thunder Marching Band I would like to thank the Department of Athletics and the Cowboy Joe Club for their generous donation to our Drum Major program," said Brad Williamson, Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Western Thunder Marching Band at UW. "This gift, along with all of their long-standing support, will help ensure the continued growth and success of the band.

"Our drum majors are some of the very best in the country. This scholarship program will help recognize their hard work, talent, and dedication to the Western Thunder Marching Band. The relationship between the band and the athletic department is very strong, and will hopefully continue to grow for many years to come."

Michael Jaycox, Head Drum Major, is a 2007 graduate of Laramie High School in Laramie, Wyo. He is a senior music education major, and will graduate in May of 2012. This is Jaycox's third year as a drum major with the band. Prior to being drum major, Jaycox played clarinet for one year in Western Thunder.

Lynn Hartley, Assistant Drum Major, is a 2007 graduate of Buffalo High School in Buffalo, Wyo. He is a senior music major, and will graduate in May of 2012. This is Hartley's second year as a drum major with the band. Prior to being drum major, Hartley played saxophone for two years in Western Thunder.

Becky Frawley, Assistant Drum Major, is a 2009 Graduate of North Canyon High School in Phoenix, Ariz. She is a sophomore music education major, and will graduate in May of 2014. This is Frawley's first year as a drum major with Western Thunder. Prior to being a drum major, Frawley played piccolo for one year in the band.

In order to try out for the drum major position, a candidate must first have been in the band for at least one year. Try-outs take place in February of each year, and the process takes four weeks. Prior to the audition process, candidates must submit a resume, a written statement as to why they want to be a drum major, complete an application and submit letters of recommendation.

The candidate then goes through a four-round, try-out process. Each round is judged by a different five-member panel consisting of such people as alumni, area band directors and Department of Music faculty.

Round one is a conducting audition in which candidates prepare a piece to conduct in front of the band. Round two is a teaching phase, in which the candidates teach marching fundamentals to the band. After the second round, the candidate pool is narrowed to a semi-final list. Round three consists of an interview with the marching band director, as well as another session conducting the band on a different piece of music than the first round. After the third round, the pool is narrowed to five finalists. For the final round each individual conducts one final time and does an interview with the selection committee.

Other criteria include: grade-point average, achievement in music, leadership, recommendations from current faculty and high school band directors and a willingness to devote a portion of the summer to on-campus preparation for the season.

Drum majors serve in what some would view as assistant band director positions. They help with the instruction of the band, complete administrative tasks, conduct the band in rehearsal and performance, conduct the Cowboy Pep Band at men's and women's basketball games and recruit at summer orientation sessions.