Bryant Nolen, a rising senior at Montevallo High School and second-year drum major for the Montevallo Marching Troubadours, recently garnered two prestigious awards at the All-South Drum Major and Guard Camp held on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, June 21-25, 2015.
In its 36th year, the All-South Camp is the largest of its kind in the country with approximately 300 participants from across the southeast. Basic and advanced skills for drum majors are covered, including conducting, score reading, routine writing, and leadership. Camp participants take part in a variety of activities to sharpen these skills.
Nolen participated in the Solo Competition, which features mace and conducting routines from drum majors and flag routines from guard members. Nolen’s performance to music from the blockbuster Broadway show and movie “Les Miserables” earned him a standing ovation from the audience as well as first place honors in the contest. The first place finish marks Nolen as the top performer among all participants. In addition, Nolen received the Best Conductor Award at the camp’s finale performance for the second consecutive year.
“I hope these awards show that all my long hours of practicing and going above and beyond to better my ability has paid off,” said Nolen.
“I have had the opportunity to see Bryant develop into a wonderful drum major. His attention to detail and persistence has resulted in his being one of the best at our All-South Drum Major and Guard Camp held each summer,” remarked Standland. “He has always seemed like a person who is goal-oriented and will let nothing stand in the way of achieving those goals. I am very proud of him.”
MHS band director Perry Lawley agrees with Standland. “I can think of no better representation of Troubadour pride than Bryant. He is an outstanding example of hard work and determination.”
The Montevallo Marching Troubadours, a component of the award-winning band program at Montevallo High School, prides itself on a long tradition of excellence, according to Lawley. The Marching Troubadours consistently earn top marks in area and regional competitions, including many Best in Class awards. Nolen’s drum major performances from last season earned Superior ratings, including two Best in Class awards.
“Bryant was instrumental as drum major this past season. He is always focused on helping the entire band succeed,” said Lawley. In addition to talented conducting skills, Lawley points to Nolen’s leadership abilities as a positive. “Bryant is well-respected by his peers, and all of his training and experience has made him into a tremendous leader.”
Nolen credits the All-South Camp as a catalyst to better understand the role of drum major as a leadership position. “The camp teaches basic conducting fundamentals, but more importantly teaches effective ways of team-building and servant leadership, instilling that you serve the band and not the other way around,” said Nolen.
MHS principal Wesley Hester is not surprised by Nolen’s success. “Bryant works extremely hard to be the very best. His work ethic, approach to his craft, and his passion for music and for being a leader of the MHS Troubadours is most impressive. He is also a strong student, a positive leader within the school and community, and an even better young man,” remarked Hester.
The Marching Troubadours begin summer practices July 20 in preparation for this year’s season. “I am excited for my senior year and hope to lead the Troubadours even better this year,” Nolen said.