Atzenhoefer at the head of the MSU Marching Band

Evan Atzenhoefer

MANKATO — On Saturday Sept 9, residents of Lafayette and New Ulm will get the first chance to see Lafayette native Evan Atzenhoefer in action as he leads the Minnesota State University (MSU) Maverick “Machine” Marching Band during the football team’s first home game.

Atzenhoefer was named MSU’s drum major for the 2017 football season. Drum Major is a title given to the leader of the MSU marching band. It’s his job to conduct all the band practices and rehearsals for the season.

Each year two drum majors are elected. This year Atzenhoefer was chosen along with senor Brianna Lyon.

The position is a huge responsibility but a greater honor. The Drum Major is required to lead a band of approximately 110 musicians at all the football games, practices and pep rallys.

Atzenhoefer is the son of Mike and Ann Atzenhoefer and is a 2015 graduate of New Ulm Cathedral High School. He is now in his junior year at MSU and has been involved with the college’s Marching, Jazz and Concert band since his freshman year, but his love of music goes further back. Atzenhoefer said he became interested in music while attending middle school.

Despite the title of drum major, he is actually a saxophone player. It was the first instrument he learned to play.

“I picked up the sax and got a feel for it,” Atzenhoefer said.

Atzenhoefer is attending MSU as an Aviation major. He admitted work with the school marching band has nothing to do with his education.

“Aviation is my major, but music is a hobby and a passion,” he said “I love it.”

Atzenhoefer said when it comes to music he has no preferences, he likes a little of everything. In addition to the marching band, Atzenhoefer is part of MSU’s Jazz and Concert band, but his strongest talent is with the marching band. Atzenhoefer credits his strong leadership and marching skill for his new title, but said it was a surprise to be given the responsibility. There were 12 applicants for the drum major position.

For Atzenhoefer the greatest challenge of taking over as drum major is memorizing all the parts of the various songs performed. The drum major’s main responsibility is to keep timing. Each member of the band must play their instrument in time, but also march in step with everyone else.

“I need to know each part in order to tell them to speed up or slow down,” he said. While Atzenhoefer doesn’t need to know how to play every instrument, he does need to understand the place of each instrument in each performance.

Atzenhoefer will next lead the MSU Marching band during the Maverick’s home game against Crookston on Saturday, Sept. 9. The game starts at 1 p.m. but the band will take the field beforehand for the pre-game show.