Drum Majors & Block Captains

Block Captain Neil Garcia and Drum Major Julia White.
Block Captain Neil Garcia and Drum Major Julia White.

Drum Major

The drum major is the heartbeat of the University of Minnesota Marching Band. The drum major wears many hats—musician, conductor, leader, performer, and role model for the Marching Band community.

Drum Major Julia White

Julia White is from Ames, Iowa, where she graduated from Ames High School. Julia was involved in dance and orchestra, but she dedicated most of her time in high school to Concert, Jazz, Pep, and Marching Band. Julia participated in various honor bands and in 2017, she was selected for the Iowa All State Band. During her time in the AHS Marching Band she found her passion for music and for leadership, and she served as one of the drum majors during her junior and senior years.

Julia is in the College of Biological Sciences, where she is majoring in genetics, cell biology and development and minoring in management. Once graduated, she hopes to attend dental school and become a general dentist. Julia plans to stay very connected with Minnesota and with the band after graduating. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering at a dental clinic, and playing duplicate bridge.

Before becoming Drum Major, Julia was an alto saxophone player for the University of Minnesota Marching Band for three years and served as an official leader for two years. During this time, she developed her passion and commitment to the band and all of its members. As Drum Major, she hopes to strengthen the connection of band members, connect with the University community, and create an environment where everyone feels like they belong.

These band members took great pride in leading one of the finest marching bands in the nation. The band has had 64 drum majors, including 5-year drum majors George Aagaard (1931–35), Jim Wetherbee (1949–53), Richard Johnson (1961–1965), Jim Mitchell (1966–1970), and Kirk Juergens (1987–1991).

  • 1892: Jennings C. Litzenberg
  • 1893–1894: Joel Gregory
  • 1895: N.D. Bessessen
  • 1896: Tom L. Jones
  • 1896: Ben Towne
  • 1897: Claude Cotton
  • 1900: George B. Webster
  • 1903: R.T. Hugo
  • 1903: W.B. Stout
  • 1904: C.W. Huntington
  • 1905–1906: R.C. Cannon
  • 1907: Ben E. Taylor
  • 1908–1910: George Cottingham
  • 1911–1913: Carroll F. Nelson
  • 1914–1917: Carl G. Swendseen
  • 1918: D.W. Kitzmiller
  • 1920–1921: Leonard Aamodt
  • 1923: Herbert Liese
  • 1924–1927: Wallace A. Thexton
  • 1928–1930: Wallace Benton
  • 1928: Walter Johnson
  • 1931–1935: George Aagaard
  • 1936–1938: Winston Jewson
  • 1939–1941: Laurence Ellefson
  • 1939–1941: Walter Holmstrom
  • 1939–1940: Ted Mosio
  • 1940: William Balamut
  • 1942: Jerry Benson
  • 1943: John Gruye
  • 1944–1947: John N. Smith
  • 1944: Albert Burns
  • 1947–1948: Cliff Schroeder
  • 1948: Robert Thompson
  • 1949–1953: Jim Wetherbee
  • 1954–1957: Don Elsen
  • 1958–1960: M. William Johnson
  • 1961–1965: Richard Johnson
  • 1966–1970: Jim Mitchell
  • 1967: Bill Ekstrum
  • 1971–1973: Bryan Warren
  • 1974: Charles Buck
  • 1975–1976: Jim Krikava
  • 1977: Pat Patton
  • 1978–1980: Grant Benjamin
  • 1981–1982: Dan Kuch
  • 1983–1984: Jeff Thomas
  • 1985–1986: Ed Long
  • 1987–1991: Kirk Juergens
  • 1992: Aaron Fisher
  • 1993–1994: Chad Saloka
  • 1995: J. Drew Kunkel
  • 1996–1997: Alec Charais
  • 1998–2000: Andy Richter
  • 2001: Todd Olin
  • 2002–2003: Jon Tepe
  • 2004: John Thompson
  • 2005: Dick Osterberg
  • 2006–2007: Molly Watters
  • 2008–2010: Aaron Marks
  • 2011–2013: Brandon Folkes
  • 2014: Joe Walsh
  • 2015–2016: Robert Rudin
  • 2017–2018: Tommy Greco
  • 2019–2020: Chamberlain Gregg
  • 2021–Present: Julia White

Block Captain

The block captain is the primary student instructor of the University of Minnesota Marching Band, running rehearsals and conducting the band while continuing to serve as a regular member of the ensemble. The block captain works closely with the band's faculty, staff, and leadership team to serve the needs of all band members.

Block Captain Neil Garcia

Neil Garcia is a fourth year member of the Pride of Minnesota hailing from Milton, WI. In high school, Neil served as drum major of his marching band, captain of the varsity tennis team, and dance captain for his school's co-ed show choir. Neil graduated from Milton High School as the salutatorian of his class, and brings a love for performance with him to Minneapolis.

Neil is majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Science & Engineering and minoring in Spanish. He has conducted research on wind power with the mechanical engineering department for the past two years and has been accepted into the university's masters program in mechanical engineering. After completing his degrees, Neil hopes to join the mounting effort in clean energy research. In his free time, Neil loves exploring Minneapolis, cooking, and attending hockey games with the Maroon Athletic Pep Band.

Neil has been playing alto saxophone with the University of Minnesota Marching Band for four years and has served as leader of the band's Big Ten Flags block for three years. Over his time with the Pride, Neil has met countless members, staff members, and volunteers from all over the band and works hard to ensure everyone's needs are heard and met. As the band's 15th Block Captain, Neil has spearheaded several student-organized community performances, bringing live music back to the Twin Cities at local festivals and parades.

The following band members took great pride in leading one of the finest marching bands in the nation. The band has had 15 block captains, each with their own spin on the position and contributions to the organization.

  • 2006: Megan Ivers
  • 2007: Elliot Redmann
  • 2008: Chesney Engquist
  • 2009: Nick Aspholm
  • 2010: Brandon Folkes
  • 2011: Quentin Knutson
  • 2012: Raoul Shah
  • 2013: Joe Walsh
  • 2014: Phil Homen
  • 2015: Amelia Forsmo
  • 2016: Cole Jobin
  • 2017: Connor Jensen
  • 2018: Ryan Beczkiewicz
  • 2019-2020: Bethany Mestelle
  • 2021-Present: Neil Garcia