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Photo Gallery | Sun Prairie Grad Relishes New Role Of UW Drum Major

In her fifth year in the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, it's fair to say Sun Prairie native and newly named drum major Sarah Edlund's passion for music has only gotten stronger.

"My two older brothers went through the band program in Sun Prairie and the oldest one is eight years older than me, so since I was 6 or 7, I've been going to band concerts and then when I was old enough I got to do it myself. It's been a big part of my life since I was very young," Edlund said.

Edlund beat out four other band members for the title of drum major. The competition took place in mid-August.

"It's quite an honor," Edlund said. "The band has been a huge part of my life all through college and it's been great to have home so close as well. Everybody was really supportive even when they heard that I wanted to audition."

During the audition, Edlund had to demonstrate the pre-game performance she would use as she led the band out of the tunnel on game day.

"The role of the drum major in the UW band, you don't do a whole lot that is super important on game day. You're kind of for show," Edlund said.

Edlund, who is the only the fifth Madison-area band member to be named drum major in the director Mike Leckrone-era, showed the skills needed to lead the team on Saturday, but also during the week.

"The real bulk of the work comes in everyday at practice." Edlund said. "You have to be the leader, the student leader, kind of keep everybody on task. I like to say your job is to have high expectations of the band and of yourself and to inspire other people to meet those expectations and then to exceed them."

Steve Sveum, band teacher at Sun Prairie High School, knew Edlund as a student and member of Sound of Sun Prairie. 

"Sarah is a wonderful, caring individual who took on many leadership roles while in high school," said Sveum. "She organized student-run sectionals to improve her sections' performances and organized the equipment in the percussion section.  She was a great friend to all members of the band."

"Sun Prairie has such a strong music program and coming from that I feel like I had a head start in knowing the importance of music," Edlund said.

The anthropology major said music will always be part of her life even after she leaves the band. Edlund said there's a chance she'll graduate in December, but more than likely she will be looking to pick a grad school after graduating in May.

After that, she said she'll find music again. The question remains is in what form. But there's no doubt, just as she has helped shape formations on the field, her time spent has shaped her as a person.

Special thanks to Gary Smith, of the UW School of Music Department, for his wonderful photos. See more at www.badgerband.phanfare.com/2011.

See photo montage of Sarah in video box below.

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