By Rebecca Durazo
Hey Eller! My name is Rebecca Durazo and I’m a senior majoring in Accounting. Originally, I came to the University of Arizona to be a baton twirler in the Pride of Arizona Marching Band. I have been twirling since the age of eight, and my ultimate goal was to be a collegiate twirler-which is exactly what I am doing today!
This is my fourth year on the Pride of Arizona Twirling Team, and my third year as Captain. As Captain, I am responsible for organizing, teaching, and motivating the team in preparation for our performances at all home football and basketball games, as well as Bowl Games. Trying out for any leadership position in the marching band is a very competitive process. All interested students enroll in MUS 397B entitled “Leadership and Instructional Strategies in Marching Band.” Each week in the class you are taught how to lead the band in verbal commands and how to teach groups on your instrument. In my case, I learned how to break down and teach routines to other twirlers. In April, all students in the class compete for their respective leadership positions at Leadership Weekend. During Leadership Weekend, students are tested on their commanding, teaching, and interviewing skills. I tried out for a leadership position during the spring of my freshman year and was selected to be Captain starting my sophomore year. Each year since then I have re-auditioned and received the position. The entire leadership process can be competitive and stressful, but you definitely walk-away with relevant real world skills to apply to your classes and post-graduate life.
Balancing a loaded twirling schedule with a demanding course schedule has always been a challenge. Over the past few years, I have really learned the importance of prioritizing and time management. It’s important to know and understand how long certain rehearsals or assignments will take you and then prioritize them based on their relative importance. Some days it is more important to study for an accounting test, and other days it is more important to stay rehearsing and finish choreographing a routine. It’s all about knowing what is important when and never letting academics or twirling always come in second place. Developing these time management and prioritizing skills has definitely helped me balance both of my commitments over the last four years. I am also hopeful that these skills will translate to the professional world and continue to benefit me post-graduation.
Overall, twirling for the University of Arizona has taught me the importance of pursuing your dreams, especially if they might require some extra effort and time. I recommend that everybody find an extra-curricular activity on-campus that they are passionate about and really devote the time to be further involved in that group by pursuing a leadership position. Bear Down, Wildcats!