In a year where nothing was normal, and health and safety were the top priorities, the UCF Marching Knights persevered through one of the most unique situations in our history. From face masks to bell covers to social distancing and more, the Marching Knights found a way to rehearse, produce performances, and most importantly, keep our community. Student leaders were heavily relied upon in the 2020 season, possibly more than any other year. As we look to 2021 and are hopeful for a return to normalcy, we are excited to introduce three of our student leaders for the 2021 season, our UCF Drum Majors.
The drum majors of the UCF Marching Knights are responsible for leading the band both in performance and pride. They help run rehearsals, conduct the band in performances on the field and in the stands, and help in several ways off the field. We search for three members each year that epitomize the standards of the Marching Knights, especially when it comes to integrity, intensity and intelligence. We also seek students who are outstanding musicians and believe in servant leadership.
This year we have one returning drum major from the 2020 season, Cam Cobb. Cam went to Estero High School where she was a drum major, and started her marching career at UCF in 2018 on the drum line as a cymbal player. As a sophomore, she was selected to serve as the cymbal section leader, and last year was her first year on the drum major podium leading the band. Cam is a music education major who hopes to eventually be an elementary music teacher after graduation to help develop the next generation of young musicians. During her time at UCF, Cam has performed not only in the Marching Knights, but also the Jammin’ Knights, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Steel Drum Band, Percussion Ensemble, and New Music Ensemble. She has also been learning the Clarinet and performing in the University Band on that instrument. Cam is also a member of the band service fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, and this year will be their president. Cam is excited to be returning as a drum major for the Marching Knights, and to work with our talented leadership team.
Simone Sharrieff will be entering her fourth year with the Marching Knights this coming year, and this will be her first year as one of our drum majors. According to our records, she holds the distinction as the first African American female drum major of the Marching Knights. Simone is a music education major, and hopes to teach middle or high school band after graduating. She went to Lake Minneola High School, where she was a drum major. At UCF, Simone was the baritone section leader her second year, and the section coordinator this past season. While at UCF, she has also performed in the Jammin’ Knights, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble. This year she was also in the Women’s Choir and has been learning to play flute and performing on that instrument in the University Band. Simone also plays trombone, and is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi. Simone’s favorite quotes are “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered” – Duke Ellington, and “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ayan Desai will be in his third season with the Marching Knights in 2021 and this will be his first year as one of our drum majors. According to our records, he holds the distinction as the first Asian American to serve as a UCF drum major. Ayan is from Okeechobee High School where he was a drum major. Last year, Ayan was one of our mellophone section leaders. He is a chemistry major, with a track in biochemistry, and hopes to either be a doctor or researcher. During his time at UCF, he has also been a member of the Jammin’ Knights and Concert Band. In addition to his participation in the Marching Knights, Ayan was a senator in the UCF Student Government, and is the current external Vice President for the Asian Pacific American Coalition at UCF. He is excited to be working with his fellow drum majors to create an inclusive and entertaining environment where students can grow and become leaders.
We look forward to what our 2021 drum majors and the rest of our student leadership team will bring to the program and know that they will certainly “Lead the Charge” for the Marching Knights this upcoming season.
Photos by Mike Kitaif