10 Questions With New Blue Band Drum Major Jimmy Frisbie
Six candidates tried out, but only one could emerge as the 58th drum major of the Blue Band.
After what Blue Band director O. Richard Bundy called one of the most competitive audition processes yet, Jimmy Frisbie was given the opportunity to take over the role from the band’s current leader, Chris Siergiej. Drum major auditions were held Saturday, which included interviews as well as landing the iconic front flip the done during the Blue Band’s pre-game performances.
Frisbie spent the last two Blue Band seasons in the trumpet section and is currently a sophomore studying immunology and infectious diseases. A Schreyer scholar, Frisbie recently received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award and was also part of the dancer relations committee for THON. After Siergiej graduates and Bundy retires in May, Frisbie will take the reins with new Blue Band director and current assistant director Greg Drane. We sat down with Frisbie for 10 questions on his new role and what he thinks it takes to land that ever-famous flip seven Saturdays a year.
Onward State: Congratulations on becoming drum major! How did you find out that you got the position?
Jimmy Frisbie: After auditions were over, all of the candidates sat in the lobby of the O. Richard Bundy Blue Band Building. After an hour of deliberation, the judges came out of the conference room and congratulated all of us on a very competitive tryout. Then, Dr. Bundy announced that I would be the next Penn State Blue Band Drum Major!
OS: As part of the audition process, you had to learn the iconic drum major flip. How long did it take you to master it?
JF: I started flipping my freshman year in October and landed flat on my back for the first attempt. From October, it took me about six months to be able to consistently land on my feet. “Mastery” is never a word I like to use to describe my flip. I always want to be getting better. Since learning to land my flip, I’ve been working toward higher landings and even more consistency.
OS: What is it like to be a part of the Blue Band?
JF: It is an awesome experience. In addition to being the soundtrack for Penn State on game days, we also get to represent the university wherever we travel — the band gets to go to some sweet places. Although it is a lot of time and commitment, making music with some of my best friends has made my time in the Blue Band unforgettable.
OS: What do you and Director Drane have planned for his first football season as the new Blue Band director?
JF: The Blue Band is very excited about the upcoming football season. Although there will be a new director and drum major, we are all excited to continue building on our success while still maintaining the great traditions of the band.
OS: What does the Blue Band have planned for this weekend for the Blue-White game?
JF: As of now, the Blue Band will be holding an alumni tailgate, participating in the football team walk, and playing in the stands throughout the game.
OS: If you had to plan your dream halftime show for the Blue Band, what would the theme be and what songs would be included?
JF: If I had to pick a dream halftime show, I would go for a Broadway theme with songs from “Les Miserables,” “The Lion King,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” For the grand finale, I would want a chandelier to fall from the top of the stadium. I think that would be a sight to see!
OS: Was it always a dream of yours to become the drum major for the Blue Band?
JF: My grandfather and parents were both in the Blue Band, so I’ve been a Penn State kid my entire life. My dream was to make the band – I had no idea I would be the drum major one day. After a few months into my rookie season, I began to think about auditioning for the position. By the time spring semester of my freshmen year rolled around, my mind was set, and the rest is history.
OS: What inspired you to play music?
JF: Almost all of my family comes from a musical background. I started playing piano when I was five, and starting playing trumpet in middle school. Being able to make music with other people is one of the greatest experiences in the world, and I am so glad my parents introduced me to the power of music.
OS: What is your favorite song to play with the Blue Band during a football game?
JF: That’s an easy one! It has to be “Fight On, State,” the touchdown version. Obviously, we only play this song when Penn State scores a touchdown or a field goal, so I am always excited to play “Fight On, State!”
OS: If you could be a dinosaur, which would you be and why?
JF: The Pterodactyl – I’ve always thought it would be really cool to fly. However, I heard that the pterodactyl isn’t actually a dinosaur, so maybe I will say Little Foot from “The Land Before Time” movies… what a classic!
Photo: Jimmy Frisbie