Senior, biomedical sciences
Daniel Johnson is the head drum major for the 2011 Auburn University Marching Band. He is from a small town outside of Atlanta, called Ellenwood. According to his mother, Johnson wanted to be a drummer as early as age three and started taking lessons at age six. In addition to percussion, Johnson can play the French horn and trumpet. A senior majoring in biomedical sciences, Johnson says the most challenging aspect of participating in AUMB is learning to manage his time between an average of seven hours of rehearsal per week and a strenuous course load. Additionally, AUMB has two hours of rehearsal on game days before they dress in full uniform. Johnson says the time commitment is well worth it.
1. What is your favorite thing about Auburn University?
My favorite part about Auburn is the family atmosphere. That was the first thing I noticed when I came here for a tour and it's held through since then. I love having "War Eagle moments" with any and every person I pass in orange and blue at home in Georgia. I think that it's a very unique part of the Auburn culture.
2. What is the most rewarding aspect of being a member of the Auburn University Marching Band?
One of the great things about AUMB is that it's a way to stay involved on campus, but it also provides an opportunity to give back to Auburn and directly enhance the gameday experience for everyone. It allows the members to continue something they've probably been doing for years and is a good change from the traditional classwork we normally do. It's also nice to know that what we do is genuinely appreciated by alumni, students, fans and many others.
3. What is it like twirling the mace and sticking it in the ground during pregame?
There's an intense adrenaline rush that happens when our intro video starts. After the video that (adrenaline) carries over and lasts through the routine and until the mace goes in the ground. Surprisingly, with that I felt much calmer than I would have expected. There's a surreal feeling knowing your friends and classmates are directly behind you screaming while doing the routine even though you can't see them, but it's incredible. I don't think my pulse starts to come back down until about the time the National Anthem ends, and if there's a flyover it takes it even longer.
4. What is your favorite song the band plays?
The Thumb Cheer. It's a slow fanfare of War Eagle that we play after big plays, and it usually transitions right into the fight song. It always seems to signal the start of something positive, and the crowd gets behind it as well.
5. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be in the Auburn University Marching Band?
First, have an open mind and positive attitude when you come here. Second, be willing to work hard. Marching band is a team sport and you need both to be successful throughout the potential highs and lows of a college football season.