MOUNT VERNON — Athleticism, rhythm, energy and stage presence are just some of the qualities exhibited on the football field by Cole Donough, drum major for the Mount Vernon High School marching band. Struts, back bends, twirling and conducting are his stocks in trade when he hits the field.
Now a junior, Donough first saw a drum major when he was in elementary school and was also wowed by the Ohio State University’s drum major. While a freshman at MVHS, he decided to try out for the position with the high school marching band.
“My grandpa, Glenn Marchal, was actually the drum major here when he was in high school,” Donough said. “He was probably the biggest influence on my decision to try out. When I told him I was thinking about it, he said, ‘Oh, yeah, you’ve got to do that.’ One of his friends is actually the aunt of the previous Ohio State drum major, so she gave me the information and I got in touch with him and I started going to Ohio State every week for lessons. That’s pretty much how it all started.”
Marchal said the family is proud of Cole. “He’s doing a great job and likes what he’s doing,” Marchal said. “It’s pretty fantastic that he is kind of following in my footsteps. When I was in the seventh-grade, I was the drum major of the junior high band and in the ninth grade I was the assistant drum major. I was the drum major in grades 10, 11 and 12.”
“Cole is way beyond where I was as a drum major,” Marchal continued, “He’s very talented.”
Donough said he was surprised at how physically demanding his chosen specialty is. “You wouldn’t think it is when you see a drum major on the field, but the first day I went to Ohio State I thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ We had to run. ... When we did the ramp entrance, they sometimes had you practice the entire length of a football field and I was pretty worn out by then. But, I kept going back. I can’t get enough of it now.”
To keep up with the physical demands of drum majoring, Donough runs a lot, especially in summer, he said. “Right before I practice I always run, too. I do track (shot put and discus) and we lift during track which I think helps with my stamina and endurance. I’m on the golf team, too. That somewhat helps with my balance.”