Julie Siberts chosen first female University of Oklahoma drum major chosen

By KW Hillis - Associated Press

LAWTON — Julie Siberts has a better reason than most to be excited about her upcoming junior year at the University of Oklahoma, she was recently voted to be the 2017 Pride of Oklahoma Drum Major — the first female in the 113-year history of the Pride.

Although “it is exciting to be considered the first,” Siberts said, that isn’t what she thought of when trying out for the position.

The sophomore is a music education major at OU and is primarily an oboe player. But since oboe is not a band instrument, she has been playing trumpet in the OU band, this past fall serving as a trumpet squad leader, The Lawton Constitution reports.

“The fact it was a male position didn’t really come to mind,” she said during a phone interview recently. “This is something I wanted to go out for and it is real competitive.”

Becoming the Pride’s drum major has been her goal since starting school at OU, she said. From Dumfries, Virginia, she has family connections to Lawton — her mother, Laurel Chapman Siberts, graduated from Lawton High in 1988; and her grandparents Wayne and Penny Chapman still live in Lawton.

This year there were four students competing for the drum major position — two men and two women.

There are two rounds of competition. During the first round, the students showed their abilities to perform kicks and struts and conduct a halftime show to the band director and staff, she said. Then the group was narrowed down to three competitors. The final round, consisting of repeating everything they did in the first round plus an interview, was done in front of the entire Pride, who had the final vote.

Her focus on music is second nature and her family is a large part of her motivation when pursuing her dream of becoming the Pride drum major.

“Seeing my parents so successful in music… pushes me,” she said.

Music is in Julie’s blood.

“I am one of only 200 students at OU who is a fourthgeneration music education major,” she said. “Music was second nature to me. I didn’t think of it as an option. Music is what you do. I started playing the piano at six.”

The soon-to-be drum major picked the oboe early as her favorite instrument because it was her mother’s instrument, she said.

Julie’s mother Laurel Siberts, also interviewed by phone, said she credits Lawton Public Schools and Lawton High as the source of her interest in music and why she passed that love on to her children.

By KW Hillis

Associated Press

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