Even after a big change, UW's drum major never misses a beat

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- For three years, senior Justine Spore spent her time in the trumpet section of the University of Wisconsin marching band, but this year she is trying her hand at something new.

University of Wisconsin Drum Major Justine Spore (WMTV/Mike Jacques)

"I loved being in the trumpet section; I really did," Spore explained. "I've obviously had to step away from it this season."

And, step away she has, into her new role as drum major.

Spore's leadership skills were exactly what new band director Dr. Corey Pompey was looking for to help keep his band in step. He described Spore as the best marcher on the field.

"She's straight forward. She's smart and she has the pulse of the students in the band, which is very important in the drum major because we like to know what students are thinking, how they are feeling," Pompey explained.

"In many ways, she's the liaison between us and them and she can say 'the students like this' or 'maybe the students would prefer...' or 'maybe it would be a good idea to do this.' So, that's one of the things that's very important.

Most fans see Justine front and center on game day or at the Badger Bash, but the real work gets done on the practice field.

"I will say most of work comes in practice," she said. "On game days, I put on my big hat and everyone does what they need to do. My work happens at practice, making sure our practices are as efficient as they can be (and) helping people, especially when we have new members every year."

Spore adds that the band has meant a lot for her through her four years in Madison and that it is where she has met her best friends.

"It's so special every game day to be out there with 300 of my best friends, doing what we know how to do."