WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WFMY) – August 20 may mark the first day of classes on Winston-Salem State University’s campus, but the ‘Red Sea of Sound,’ the university’s marching band, is already getting a head start.
This week, the marching band is preparing for the upcoming school year at Band Camp, where incoming freshmen and their veterans freshen up after summer break.
Earlier this summer, senior drum majors Brandon Burgess and Trequan Holman took the internet by storm with their outstanding walk across the graduation stage.
WFMY News 2’s Laura Brache caught up with the two drum majors that will replace their flair, senior Muhammed Clemons and sophomore Branden Sonkesak.
Clemons shared that Burgess and Holman were role models for him.
“I really thank them immensely for what they’ve done for me, giving me the foundation, the fundamental basics of being a drum major,” Clemons said. “Now that I’m a head drum major I’m recalling a lot of those fundamentals they taught me so I appreciate them for that.”
Sonkesak said he knows he has some big shoes to fill, and that the alumni played a role in where he is today.
“Even when I was trying out there [were] times where I was like, “I don’t wanna go to practice,” because it was so hard, so they were always pushing me, motivating me to do better.”
According to Assistant Band Director Tika Douthit, the band is an essential part of the pride surrounding the WSSU community.
“It’s the spirit of the group, the spirit of the University,” Douthit explained. “It definitely captures the students’ pride in the University and calling Winston-Salem State their home for their undergraduate experience.”
For senior drumline Kahari Robs, it’s a bittersweet time as he wraps up his last ever Band Camp.
“I believe I’ll leave the drumline in a good place,” Robs said. “When I leave they can continue on and do further and do much more than what I did.”
But the end for some is a new beginning for others.
Freshman Xander Cobrand is excited to be joining the Red Sea of Sound after hearing so much about it from his high school band director and mentor, a WSSU marching band alum.
“I was my section leader in high school, but it’s completely different coming in as a freshman,” he said. “But they really took me in.”
The end of Band Camp means it’s time for Meet The Rams, the University’s first and largest pep rally of the season where students, faculty, staff and alumni get to cheer on the athletes and see how hard the band has worked.