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Red Sea of Sound drum majors ready for new challenges

Red Sea of Sound Drum Majors perform near the WSSU clock tower
The 2018-19 Red Sea of Sound drum majors (from left): Miles Moore, Muhammed Clemons, Gregory Hughes and Brandeen Sonkesak. 

In May, Red Sea of Sound drum majors Brandon Burgess and TreQuan Holman created a Twitter storm with their walk across the stage at Winston-Salem State University's (WSSU) Commencement. 

The viral clip of the two 2018 graduates was featured on TV stations nationwide, they were saluted on NBC's "Today" as "the viral stars of the week" and even Fox’s "Dish Nation" was talking about them.

Their graduation has left two openings on WSSU's marching band that won’t be easy to fill. However, the 2018-19 drum majors say they are ready to hit the field in the style that fans expect from WSSU’s band. 

Stepping into the leadership role are new drum majors Miles Moore, a junior music education major from Charlotte, and Brandeen Sonkesak, a sophomore computer science major from Fayetteville. Joining them are two returnees: head drum major Muhammed Clemons, a senior elementary education major, and Gregory Hughes, a senior computer science major.

"It’s important not let the hype and pressure of the past drum majors get into our heads, and just doing the best we can," says Moore, in his third year with the RSOS. He also played mellophone in the Olympic High School marching band for four years.

For Sonkesak, a graduate of E.E. Smith High School, it's about "becoming the best drum major I can be while also continuing the tradition. It’s hard work, and takes a lot of mental strength.”

Clemons says he learned the fundamentals from Burgess and Holman. 

"The most important thing is to generate excitement with our own spin on things," says Clemons, a graduate of Rockingham County High School.

Hughes, a graduate of Westover High School in Fayetteville, says it's about "keeping the thrill alive."

WSSU’s Red Sea of Sound's first performance on the field will be at Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, with the Rams taking on the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. 

The Red Sea of Sound, under the direction of Dr. Michael Magruder, has participated in the prestigious Honda Battle of the Bands six times. 

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

Drum major performs a bend maneuver
Muhammed Clemons, head drum major, says this year's drum majors are looking to put their own spin on things.

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