The pressure is on for Riverview High seniors Taylor Totterdale and Adam Frazier. As drum majors for the award-winning Kiltie band, they carry the tradition and responsibility of leading the marching band during performances and competitions. The iconic Scottish-themed Kiltie band is a staple at Sarasota events and concerts.
“We are a central part to Riverview and that tradition,” Totterdale said.
The Kiltie Marching Band has had the opportunity to travel to destinations to perform such as in 2011 to Hawaii for the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and in 2014 to New York for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Accolades for the group include state titles and a winning streak that includes a recent superior award from the Florida Bandmasters Association District Marching Festival.
“We just received our 56th straight year of superiors, and that is the main goal of the marching season,” Totterdale said. “That’s what we work toward. All of our games, all of our practices are for that goal.”
Between Totterdale and Frazier they spend more than 20 hours a week practicing on their own and with the band. They do this all while each takes rigorous courses for the International Baccalaureate academic program at Riverview High School.
Aside from performing in the brass quintet, marching band and the wind ensemble for the music department, Frazier is also a member of the Sarasota Orchestra Youth Symphony. He’s also dabbled in wrestling, pole vaulting and football in his time at Riverview High School, but he attributes his time with the Kiltie Marching Band for some of his favorite high school memories.
“My favorite part has been, besides that I love the people, I love the trips,” Frazier said. “The trips are always so great. Going to Hawaii freshman year was such a great experience. I think that’s what’s driven me so much.”
For Totterdale, her focus throughout high school has been entirely on music. She plays piano outside of school and clarinet for the band, after a suggestion from Mark Spreen, director of bands, her freshman year. Her core friends have come from her time as a member of the Kiltie band.
“I know that if I came in as a freshman and I didn’t do band and I came into 2,500 students I would not have as many friends as I do just being in the band,” Totterdale said. “I started the first day with 200 friends, in a way, because I knew all those people.”
As seniors, both Frazier and Totterdale are looking ahead and considering what role music will play in their lives after graduation. Totterdale says her plan is to keep music in her life in one form or another.
“I was actually just thinking about it last night that everything that I do always ends up back at music, since I was 5,” Totterdale said. “I just think that it’s something so central to my life that I want to keep it as something that I do for fun and that I do as a hobby.”
Although Frazier is still waiting to hear back from colleges, he is considering pursuing a career that will allow him to pass on what he’s learned from his time as a member of the Riverview High School Kiltie Band.
“Whenever I think about my high school experience and the influences that I’ve had, I think that my band directors have been so influential in who I am today,” Frazier said. “I’m very interested in pursuing a music education degree, whether that be at UF or FSU.”
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16
Where: Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way
The Riverview High School Kiltie Band’s Winter Showcase will be a 90-minute performance of seasonal favorites. For more info, visit riverviewperformingarts.com/band.
For 10 years, students who have come through the Riverview music program have shared the experience, tradition — and sheet music books. Each book is labeled with the instrument and position of the musician in the ensemble. Assistant Drum Major and trumpet player Adam Frazier says the tradition for the first chair trumpet player is to write his or her name and year inside the front cover. He has also written motivational reminders for performances.