University of Missouri student Chris Higgins was destined to become a music educator. Influenced by his father, a high school band director, and two older brothers who would also become music educators, Higgins has been surrounded by music his entire life and wants nothing more than to share his passion with students. In April of 2013, after years of dreaming and preparing, Higgins was offered the position of Drum Major for Marching Mizzou’s 2013-2014 season.
Higgins got his start in music at the age of 5 when he began piano lessons. In the fifth grade he learned to play the French horn and in seventh grade began to learn trombone and euphonium. Higgins continued with music throughout his high school career, and as a senior was offered a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. This experience was especially meaningful for Higgins.
“First off, because it helped me decide for sure that I wanted to do music ed and that I wanted to do it at Mizzou,” Higgins said. “Another great benefit of that band was that we got to work closely with the Army Field Band, and this is what made me decide to join the Air National Guard as a Bandsman. Joining in the Air National Guard has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Now a junior at MU, Higgins is dedicated to music and education more than ever before as a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Men’s Music Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda Education Honors Fraternity and President/Director of Add 9 Men’s A Cappella group.
D. Bradley Snow, director of bands at the University of Missouri School of Music, said Higgins has the traits he looks for in a drum major.
“I look for someone that is a natural leader, a solid musician, and someone that is very articulate,” Snow said. “Chris has proven that he is a solid leader having already served as mellophone section leader. He also performs in our top concert band, so he is a very strong musician.”
According to current drum major Sean Hayes, a drum major is responsible for conducting the band during practices and performances, keeping rehearsals efficient, finding full instrumentation for Marching Mizzou performances and leading the band during game play.
A person who has had ample experience doing all these things is Higgins’ older brother, Alex Higgins, who was drum major of Marching Mizzou for the 2012-2013 season.
Following the same path as his brother didn’t create any extra pressure, though
“All that matters to me is that I’m proud he was drum major, and I’m excited to be drum major! I don’t see it as following in his footsteps at all,” Higgins said.
Because of the importance of responsibilities that the drum majors assume, Marching Mizzou expects excellence from its leaders.
“I think people will expect great things from Chris” Hayes said. “Some because of his name, but mainly because of the presence and leadership skills he has presented by himself to the band.”
Higgins will assume his position as drum major alongside Hayes and sophomore John Stahl at the start of band camp this August.
“I’m most excited to lead M2 in cheering on our Tigers from the front of the band!” he said. “Our number one job is to support the team, the athletics department, and the university. I couldn’t think of a better, more exciting way to give back to this great institution that we call home than that!”