Harris High grads are drum majors for Georgia, Georgia Tech

Published 9:30 am Saturday, November 26, 2022

On Saturday, when the University of Georgia hosts Georgia Tech for a little Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate, two of Harris County’s finest will take the field, not only to perform with each institution’s famed marching bands but leading each group in their highest leadership positions. 

Hannah Marston, Class of 2019, was selected for her first season as a drum major for the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band. Kaleigh Griswell, Class of 2020, is serving in her second year as a drum major for the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jacket Marching Band.

Both women were members of the Harris County High School Marching Band and spent three years together in classes and on the field. The pair have performed together in large and small groups on several occasions. For the past two years, both have been members of their respective rival college marching bands performing in opposition on those special Saturdays in November. Each of their college bands has hundreds of members, but there are only four drum majors who are selected through competitive auditions. Drum majors serve in the highest-ranking leadership capacity for each group, leading their bands and tailgate communities in the traditions of game days, parades, making play calls throughout the games, and conducting performances. 

Marston is the daughter of Tim and Ashley Marston of Fortson. Tim, originally from Diamond, Missouri, and his wife Ashley, originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, are both Clemson fans and are well known in the Harris County community through volunteering for Little League and Ashley’s work with the county’s parks and recreation department. 

Marston’s principal instrument is the clarinet. Her high school band director, Miranda Carlsen, said she could recall teaching Marston in the eighth grade and sort of tricking her a bit with her high school placement audition. 

“We use the eleventh and twelfth grade GMEA (Georgia Music Educators Association) All-State scale sheets as a basis for monitoring progress throughout the student’s high school career. We give it to them early, so kids like Marston can master them early, and so they can all track their progress toward their goal. What takes some students an academic year or two of work in band class, especially developing range, took Marston —  with her initiative, determination, and skill set — two days at home.”

Marston marched on the drumline in high school and tried out for and was accepted to the cymbal line for UGA.  She said one of her favorite performance events are home game-day performances at the Tate Student Center drum shows. 

Kaleigh Griswell was a part of the graduating class of 2020 that shut down on March 13 due to COVID-19. She served as a drum major of the Harris County High School Bands for three years, winning at the end of her freshman year and after only one year of marching band, in which she performed on the color guard by spinning flag and rifle. Griswell’s principal instrument is flute. She has also served the local community in the pageant world as Miss Harris County’s Outstanding Teen 2019 and Miss Harris County 2020 and 2021, with 2021 an extension due to Covid. 

Her high school director said, “While in high school, she raised nearly $4,000 for the HCHS Bands as our Miss HCHS and has recently launched her own non-profit organization that supplies music education materials to parents of newborns in hospitals as well as provides NICU departments with scientifically composed music that promotes greater cognitive development in premature babies.” 

To find more information on her foundation, please visit her Music Makes Miracles Foundation website (www.MusicMMiraclesFoundation.org) or her social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram as @MusicMMiraclesFoundation.