The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Student Spotlight | Hawkeye Marching Band drum major reflects on last year in the position

Christian Frankl served as drum major for the marching band for the last two years. With graduation now behind him, he reflected on his time in the band and the University of Iowa.
Emily Nyberg
Iowa Drum Major Christian Frankl direct the Hawkeye Marching Band durning the Hawkeye Huttle before a football game between No.18 Iowa and No. 2 Michigan at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.


Fifth-year University of Iowa student Christian Frankl has had a passion for music and marching band since he was young. When he started his freshman year as an alto saxophone player for the Hawkeye Marching Band, he took notice of the leadership and envisioned himself in that role. 

Three years later, he decided to try out for drum major, an extensive process that included interviews, a fundamental teaching section, and physical displays, such as the traditional drum major run-on and mace spinning routines. Frankl has since graduated from the UI, ending his two-year stint as drum major.

“The drum major audition was certainly very challenging, but it was also incredibly rewarding,” Frankl said.

The role involves leading nearly 300 marching band members as well as being its primary performer — responsibilities Frankl enjoyed equally. 

Every game day at Kinnick Stadium, he’s been there, clad in his detailed white or black uniform, ensuring the band is prepared for success.

After his first year performing in front of 70,000 people every week during football season, Frankl found confidence in his role.

“It’s allowed me to express myself more and be a better leader to the band,” Frankl said. “I’m going to miss the people that have shaped my life, whether that’s my friends, people in the band, professors, or mentors I’ve met along the way,”

Frankl’s time in the marching band felt like time spent with family, he shared.

“It’s more than just a group of people that plays music,” Frankl said. “I’m proud to be a part of that group.”

Frankl is excited to perform with the HMB one last time at the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day alongside the University of Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland Band, both of whom will now be performing their full halftime shows thanks to the bowl’s reversal of its decision to cut the bands’ performance times after bringing on singer and songwriter Gavin DeGraw.

RELATED: Where and when to watch Iowa take on Tennessee in the 2024 Cheez It Citrus Bowl

“[We] found out we would be attending the Citrus Bowl when we were driving back to Iowa City after the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis,” Frankl shared. “[Pride of the Southland Marching Band is] a tremendous band with an incredible history.”

For those looking to climb the ranks and become a drum major themselves, Frankl offers his advice from his experience with the HMB:

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” he said. “Try new things, be vulnerable, and give it your best. Even if you don’t succeed it doesn’t really matter; sometimes the attempt is the most important thing.”

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About the Contributors
Grant Darnell, Arts Reporter
Grant Darnell is a second year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in English and Creative Writing and Screenwriting Arts. He is currently an Arts Reporter for the Daily Iowan.
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.