Drum Majors & Block Captains

2023 Drum Major and Block Captain

Drum Major

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

These band members took great pride in leading one of the finest marching bands in the nation. The band has had 65 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).

Drum Major Ari Martin

Ari Martin grew up in Woodbury, Minnesota and graduated from East Ridge High School in 2021. Ari was heavily involved in extracurriculars, participating in marching band, concert band, orchestra, jazz band, pep band, indoor percussion, and indoor color guard. In their senior year, Ari served as one of two drum majors for the ERHS Marching Raptors. Additionally, Ari danced at Woodbury Dance Center for 13 years, 10 of those competitively. Through dance and these various ensembles is where Ari found their love for music and performance.

Currently in their junior year at the University of Minnesota, Ari is majoring in Psychology within the College of Liberal Arts and minoring in Pharmacology. In the future, Ari plans to use their undergraduate degree to further their education in medical school and pursue a career in either psychiatry or pharmacy. In their free time, Ari enjoys traveling, playing board and video games, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Minnesota Vikings and Golden Gophers.

Before becoming the 67th Drum Major of the Pride of Minnesota, Ari was a member of the mellophone section for two years. They are also a member of Athletic Bands at the university, playing in the stands at Gopher volleyball, basketball, and hockey games throughout their respective seasons. As Drum Major, Ari hopes to work closely with the Block Captain, Kindra Peterson, to better overall performance quality and connect with the greater Twin Cities population. Equally important, Ari is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. They are committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion for the band, as well as bringing support and visibility to every individual within the band.


Drum Majors

1892: Jennings C. Litzenberg

1895: N.D. Bessessen

1896: Ben Towne

1900: George B. Webster

1903: W.B. Stout

1905–1906: R.C. Cannon

1908–1910: George Cottingham

1914–1917: Carl G. Swendseen

1920–1921: Leonard Aamodt

1924–1927: Wallace A. Thexton

1928: Walter Johnson

1936–1938: Winston Jewson

1939–1941: Walter Holmstrom

1940: William Balamut

1943: John Gruye

1944: Albert Burns

1948: Robert Thompson

1954–1957: Don Elsen

1961–1965: Richard Johnson

1967: Bill Ekstrum

1974: Charles Buck

1977: Pat Patton

1981–1982: Dan Kuch

1985–1986: Ed Long

1992: Aaron Fisher

1995: J. Drew Kunkel

1998–2000: Andy Richter

2002–2003: Jon Tepe

2005: Dick Osterberg

2008–2010: Aaron Marks

2014: Joe Walsh

2017–2018: Tommy Greco

2021: Julia White

2023: Ari Martin

1893–1894: Joel Gregory

1896: Tom L. Jones

1897: Claude Cotton

1903: R.T. Hugo

1904: C.W. Huntington

1907: Ben E. Taylor

1911–1913: Carroll F. Nelson

1918: D.W. Kitzmiller

1923: Herbert Liese

1928–1930: Wallace Benton

1931–1935: George Aagaard

1939–1941: Laurence Ellefson

1939–1940: Ted Mosio

1942: Jerry Benson

1944–1947: John N. Smith

1947–1948: Cliff Schroeder

1949–1953: Jim Wetherbee

1958–1960: M. William Johnson

1966–1970: Jim Mitchell

1971–1973: Bryan Warren

1975–1976: Jim Krikava

1978–1980: Grant Benjamin

1983–1984: Jeff Thomas

1987–1991: Kirk Juergens

1993–1994: Chad Saloka

1996–1997: Alec Charais

2001: Todd Olin

2004: John Thompson

2006–2007: Molly Watters

2011–2013: Brandon Folkes

2015–2016: Robert Rudin

2019–2020: Chamberlain Gregg

2022: Jon Ingram


Block Captain

The block captain works closely with the band's faculty, staff, and leadership team to serve the needs of all band members while continuing to serve as a regular member of the ensemble.

The band has had 15 block captains, each with their own spin on the position and contributions to the organization.


Block Captain Kindra Peterson

Kindra Peterson grew up in Underwood, Minnesota and graduated high school there in 2020. While in high school, Kindra was a three-sport athlete who also participated in the arts such as band, choir, pep band, various small ensembles, and community theater. Additionally, she represented her community at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation program and led her community service organization for several years. These activities created the foundation of her love for music and serving her community.

Today, Kindra is a rising junior at the University of Minnesota double majoring in Political Science and Russian with a minor in Communications. She is hoping to one day use this unusual combination of studies to pursue a career in national security and counterterrorism. In the meantime, she is a proud member of the trombone section, where this year she will be taking on duties as a section leader in addition to Block Captain. She is also a member of the university’s Athletic Bands, where she enjoys watching hockey and basketball. In her free time, she loves to bake and decorate cakes, play flute (as trombone is actually her secondary instrument), and is currently reading Game of Thrones.

With two years of UMMB experience under her belt, Kindra is honored to be a part of the team to lead the band in Season 132. Along with Drum Major Ari Martin, she can’t wait to take steps to strengthen the band’s performance, formulate relationships across sections, and prepare performances for the university community and beyond. 


Block Captains

2006: Megan Ivers

2009: Nick Aspholm

2012: Raoul Shah

2015: Amelia Forsmo

2018: Ryan Beczkiewicz

2022-present: Kindra Peterson

2007: Elliot Redmann

2010: Brandon Folkes

2013: Joe Walsh

2016: Cole Jobin

2019-2020: Bethany Mestelle

2008: Chesney Engquist

2011: Quentin Knutson

2014: Phil Homen

2017: Connor Jensen

2021: Neil Garcia