Connections, history will help lead this year’s drum majors success for the CMB

Emily and Rachel Hoffman
Emily and Rachel Hoffman

Connections, history will help lead this year’s drum majors success for the CMB

calendar icon02 May 2017    

Jacob and Meghan Coughlin
Jacob and Meghan Coughlin

There is only so much one can do to prepare to be a drum major in the Cornhusker Marching Band on game day. The situation and atmosphere in Memorial Stadium, at a road game or at a bowl game is constantly in a state of flux but this fall’s drum majors do have some family connections and history to lean on when there are quick changes to be made.


For one, Meghan Coughlin, who was a CMB drum major last season, and Jacob Coughlin are brother and sister. They are believed to be the first brother-sister drum majors serving at the same time in CMB history.


Secondly, the third drum major, Rachel Hoffman, can summon the experience of her older sister, Emily, who was a drum major for the past two years and graduates this weekend.


“I can use my experience last year to help prepare both my brother and Rachel as much as possible,” Meghan said. “I also know that no matter how much we prepare, we cannot plan for everything. The best piece of advice I can give the incoming drum majors is to be ready to roll with the punches, and know that we are a team, and can get through anything together.”


Meghan Coughlin grew up in a couple different states because her father was in the military, but spent most of her life in Omaha. She’s lived in Alexandria, Virginia; Dayton, Ohio, and Omaha. She was, however, born in Honolulu, Hawaii. This season will be her fifth season in the CMB. She played clarinet for three years before being selected as a drum major. She is a Criminal Justice major with a theatre minor.


Jacob Coughlin grew up in Omaha and went to Millard North High School. He has been in the CMB for one year and was a baritone player. He is a music education major with an emphasis in euphonium as well as a leadership and communications minor.


“I realized I wanted to be a drum major for the CMB before I even came to college,” Jacob said. “I was a drum major in high school and really enjoyed the experience and wanted to continue that at the next level.”


Hoffman is from Beatrice and an elementary education major. She also plays clarinet and this fall will be her third year in the CMB.


“When I found out I almost couldn't believe it!” Hoffman said of being named a drum major. “I was and am incredibly excited and humbled to be given this opportunity. I can't wait for it to be fall semester so band can start back up again!”


Meghan is excited for her second year as a drum major after a learning experience last year.


“The experience last year made me feel like I was a first-year band member all over again,” Meghan said. “Everything was completely new and exciting. The experience was also challenging and rewarding. I faced many obstacles that I didn't expect. But by overcoming these obstacles, I learned more about myself than I ever thought, and made life long relationships with the other drum majors in the process.”


What about having your brother join you as drum major?


“I was beyond excited when I learned Jake and I were both selected as drum majors for the upcoming season,” Meghan said. “We have shared so many experiences together throughout our lives, and I cannot wait to share this with him. I know this opportunity will bring us closer together, and I couldn't be more overjoyed.”


Jacob added, “We were both very excited to find out we would both be drum majors next year. We are really close as siblings and it will be a fun experience getting to share this together.


“I think I can learn some of the skills such as running headset on game days and how to call different shorties that the band will play because she had the experience of doing it last year and knowing how that all works.”


Hoffman has already leaned on her elder sister in her preparation.


“Emily has definitely helped me prepare for what I will be facing next season -- from working with me on my conducting and showing me how to spin the mace to answering the thousand questions I've already had,” Hoffman said. “She is an amazing example of the type of person a drum major should be, and seeing how passionate and excited she was about band made it really easy for me to want to follow in her footsteps. She is also always there to remind me that the most important thing is to relax and enjoy the time I have in band.”


The Cornhusker Marching Band fall camp begins on August 10 with the CMB exhibition in Memorial Stadium scheduled for August 18 at 7 p.m. with the home opener on September 2 in Memorial Stadium.