Traverse City West Graduate Named MSU Spartan Marching Band Drum Major

“Nikki’s the personality that makes the drum major role fluid.”

A Traverse City West Senior High School graduate is now Michigan State University’s Spartan Marching Band Drum Major.

Nikki Sanford is a senior at MSU, pursuing a degree in music education.

She just earned the title of Drum Major; a leadership position once held by her mentor.

9&10’s Whitney Amann shares her story.

“She’s a natural leader, she’s warm and works well with her peers,” says former Director of Bands and MSU drum major, Rachel Linsmeier. “She’s a great teacher.”

“Work ethic, just willingness to work without complaining and to do the job,” adds Pat Brumbaugh, Director of Bands at Traverse City West.

Those are just a few of the qualities that Nikki Sanford portrays.

She is now the fourth female drum major in MSU Spartan Marching Band history.

“I knew that Nikki was perfectly capable of doing that and I know the qualities that it takes to lead a 300 piece band of university students and she’s got it, she’s got all those qualities,” says Brumbaugh.

And her inspiration?

Her former band director, one who was also a drum major for Michigan State University and has been helping her the entire time.

“Being able to have three really strong female figures in front of me really opened the door for me to really want to desire to do these things and be a leader in front of the band and direct,” explains MSU Spartan Marching Band Drum Major, Nikki Sanford.

Nikki will not be playing an instrument during this time but will be performing routines, teaching the history of the band, and being the top student leader, among many other things.

“It definitely is a lot of pressure but I’m also really happy to be able to break that barrier and kind of show people that it’s totally possible to go to a big university and do these things,” says Sanford.

“She’s somebody who is thinking ahead she’s about as go-getter as it gets and very smart and creative solution maker,” says Linsmeier. “So as you can tell I think we all she’s a jewel in Traverse City’s crown in a big way.”

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