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Gainesville High drum major to lead UGA band before todays game
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The Red Elephant Marching Band practices Thursday afternoon at Gainesville High School. - photo by NAT GURLEY

At today’s University of Georgia football game, one Gainesville High senior will live out a dream.

Ariana Olalde won the chance to serve as drum major for the university’s Redcoat Marching Band during its pregame show before today’s 12:20 p.m. game against North Texas University.

“You practice the morning of (the game),” she said with a laugh. “That’s it.”

Olalde is traveling to Athens this morning to practice for the pregame show. She has no idea what to expect.

“I’m kind of confident in how I do things, but from how they taught us to conduct at camp and how I conduct at school, it’s different,” she said.

Olalde earned this opportunity by winning the Roger L. Dancz Young Conductor Award during the UGA Drum Major Camp held over the summer. The award is given to a musician with strong leadership skills.

Gainesville High Band Director Larry Miller said the school’s co-drum major is deserving.

“It’s huge,” he said. “There’s nothing bigger around here than the Redcoat band, and as a senior drum major, getting the honor to do that and having won that opportunity is huge.

“It’s a real testament to the type of leader that she is and the great work that she does for us,” he added.

Olalde has played clarinet with the band since middle school, and continues to play in the concert band. She hopes to attend an Ivy League school like Harvard or Yale after she graduates this year, but if not, she plans to attend the University of Georgia.

“If I was to (go to) UGA, I plan on trying out for the Redcoat band and being a drum major there,” she said.

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