Dr. Ken Bodiford, conductor of the Southerners at JSU, asked O’Donnell to replace the drum major, who had another commitment that day, when the Gamecocks took on Southeastern Missouri at home.
O’Donnell, who was recently selected as a drum major for the upcoming 2014 season, was happy to take on the task. In fact, he made history that day because he is the only freshman to ever lead the Southerners as drum
“I was very nervous,” said O’Donnell. “I felt like I had big shoes to fill. It’s no small responsibility to be the drum major for the Southerners. I’m extremely thankful for the help I had along the way in preparing me for the game.”
O’Donnell said he felt that he kept the band in time and was able to keep everything together for the performance. He said that Bodiford told him after the performance that he was proud of him and was thankful that he stepped in and did the job.
Also telling him how proud they were of him were O’Donnell’ parents, Randy and Mary O’Donnell.
O’Donnell is majoring in music at JSU. He plays alto saxophone for the Southerners.
At Jacksonville High School, he was an assistant drum major in his junior and senior years when he played for the Golden Eagle Band.
O’Donnell said he’s been around music as long as he can remember. His mother is a pianist.
He said he decided on the also sax because that’s the instrument some of his friends chose to play in the Golden Eagle Band.
“I thought it would be fun to play the same instrument as them,” said O’Donnell. “However, once I started taking lessons, I found that music means more to me than just something to do with my friends. I learned it was something I could do for the rest of my life.”
O’Donnell took lessons from Amanda Dawson for two years and from Jeremy Stovall for three years.
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.