Chapman grad named first female drum major at Citadel
As seen in Spartanburg Herald
By Zach Fox
A Chapman High School graduate, now a sophomore at The Citadel, has been named the first female Regimental Band drum major in the military college's 174-year history.
Hunter Crawley, originally from Gramling, will lead the Regimental Band, which is composed of about 80 musicians. Another drum major leads the school's Regimental Pipe Band, made up of about 35 to 40 pipers and drummers. Together, the two drum majors lead the full band.
The announcement came shortly before the start of the academic year, which is the 20th anniversary of women being admitted to The Citadel.
“Women have been here for 20 years, but there are still some positions that haven’t been touched by women yet. I hope that I can be a role model and show that anything is possible," Crawley said. “It’s hugely important. I’m super happy to have this addition, if not just to be able to show girls, and guys below me, that it can be done by anyone."
Crawley spent five years in the Chapman High School Pride of Inman band under the direction of director Kevin Horton.
"She graduated at the top of her class, and it's no surprise that she is continuing with that same determination at the Citadel," Horton said in an email. "I am extremely proud of her accomplishments and know she will be a role model to her peers and younger cadets for many years to come."
After applying to The Citadel — mostly because her father, Ron, a graduate of the school, asked her to — Crawley visited campus for the first time. That and subsequent visits led her to pursue her music career while attending her father's alma mater.
“The more I visited, the more I realized this is a place I can excel, and a place that can prepare me for the future,” she said.
Liz Crawley, Hunter’s mother, said she was proud of her daughter for not only making it through her freshman year at the school, but reaching a leadership position in an organization she’s passionate about.
“I was ecstatic. I was shocked, but I was ecstatic. I was like, ‘Drum major, really, that’s awesome,’” Liz Crawley said. “It’s just huge when you look at how long the college has been around. I don’t think she wants to make a big deal of being the drum major and being a female, but it is — it is huge.”
Lt. Col. Tim Smith is the director of music and bands at The Citadel. He took over in January, and he said Hunter is the right person with the right temperament to help him lead the band.
“I see a quiet, competent, driven young lady who is a fantastic student and a calming influence on her classmates,” he said. “She really stepped up to the plate at the end of last year, trying out as drum major. She had to learn some new stuff, and she stepped up and took the challenge.”
Smith said he has been thrilled by how upperclassmen in the band have taken to Crawley's leadership. He said the bar has been set high, and Crawley keeps rising to the occasion.
“The real significance is she was the best person for the job. In my opinion, it’s that simple. I honestly hadn’t thought about that we’re at the 20th anniversary of females coming into the Citadel. She was flat out the best person for the job," he said. "She’s on board and hasn’t backed down from a thing."
The band’s first parade was Friday evening, and it was the first Crawley was set to lead at The Citadel. She said she was nervous, but she had faith in herself and her bandmates.
Becoming drum major wasn’t initially a goal, Crawley said. She said once she got to the school and joined the band, she was inspired by the drum major before her.
Now, she hopes to lead the band to high marks this season while showing women at the college that they can do anything, and everything, at the historical military school.
“It kind of progressed into a goal. Your freshman year, you kind of have your eye on what you want to do senior year-- what you want to progress though the ranks as. I was inspired by the drum major before me; I just liked how he led," she said. "I'm hoping I can lead the band well, and lead it to our director's standards."