Dallas Woman Is Grambling's Second Female Drum Major in 70 Years

The drum majors of Grambling State "World Famed" Band march into position during the 45th annual State Farm Bayou Classic game between the Southern Jaguars and the Grambling State Tigers on Saturday November 24, 2018 at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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