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For the first time, two female drum majors lead the Marching Chips


Cadillac junior Jordan Healey and Lake Isabella senior Gabrielle Bass make history by becoming first ever female duo to lead the Marching Chips.

Two female drum majors will lead the Central Michigan Marching Band for the first time in history this fall during the Marching Chips' 98th season.

Head drum major Gabrielle Bass, Lake Isabella senior, and assistant drum major Jordan Healey, Cadillac junior, will be the first female duo to conduct the band and lead march-offs.   

Both women are very excited and honored to lead the band during what will be a monumental season after students return to campus this fall following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s very humbling, I get chills when I think about it,” said Bass. “I just feel really happy and so blessed to have Jordan be with me through all of this.”

On April 27, Healey gathered in a zoom video call with all of the other applicants to witness the announcement of the new ADM. The video call was conducted by Dr. James Batcheller, the director of the CMB, CMU 2020 alumni and former head drum major Taylor Huitema and Bass. 

Healey joined the marching band her freshman year.  She also has been a part of leadership in the trumpet section. This year, she wanted to take a larger role in leading the entire band as assistant drum major.

“I wanted to be in a position where I could reach every member of the band and bring that enthusiasm and make sure everyone feels welcome,” Healey said.

All of the applicants waited in anticipation as Batcheller thanked everyone for auditioning. 

Healey was on the edge of her seat waiting for him to announce a name, any name. Then came the moment Healey had been waiting for. 

“When he said my name I was in complete shock," Healey said. "It felt like a dream.” 

Healey propped her phone up on her desk as she decided to record her reaction to the video call announcement.

“No matter what the results were, I knew I wanted to remember that moment,” said Healey.

Immediately after the Zoom call, Bass texted Healey to congratulate her and to share that moment with her.

“Seeing her reaction almost made me cry,” Bass said. “It was the sweetest thing.”

In 2019, Bass became only the fourth-ever female drum major. Now, in 2020, Healey will follow her. For the first time ever, the Marching Chips has both a female head drum major and female assistant drum major in the same season. 

This historical moment will be remembered by CMU band members and fans for many years to come.

“It’s extremely empowering that me and Gabby are making history," Healey said. "It means so much to me. Obviously, as a woman I’ve faced so much adversity growing up ... it’s so empowering to be able to do this."