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Grambling has 2nd woman drum major; 1st served through 1952

August 17, 2021 GMT

GRAMBLING, La. (AP) — A historically black public university in Louisiana has its second female drum major, nearly 70 years after the first.

Candace Hawthorne, of Dallas, is one of three drum majors this year for Grambling State University’s marching band, the school said in a news release.

“It’s extremely mind-blowing,” said Hawthorne, a senior majoring in both engineering technology and music. “I never would have expected for me to make history like this.”

She said she had always wanted to be a drum major but had lacked the confidence to audition.

Grambling said its first female drum major was Velma Patricia Patterson, who served through 1952. The school did not say when she started.

This year’s other drum majors are head drum major Deante Gibson, a senior from Jeanerette, Louisiana, and Sheavion Jones, a junior from Dallas.

Both are marketing majors; Gibson is also studying management.

Nikole Roebuck, the school’s director of bands, said she is excited about the upcoming season.

“Last year was very different not being able to have a season so it feels good to be back,” she said.