“Her sons and daughters are ever on the altar”, the motto of the Fisk Bulldogs who are a testament to HBCU Excellence. The oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, Tennessee, Fisk University houses some of the nation’s brightest minds, named as a Black Ivy League Institution. One bright mind we’ll be highlighting in this piece is Erin Allen, the very first Drum Major and female at that for The Music City Sound.
The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma native is a junior Biology Major who plans on attending PA school to become a Physician Assistant upon graduation. She also strives to own several businesses and continue helping band programs, specifically the ones she has been apart of. Choosing to attend Fisk University to be apart of a legacy of successful Black individuals and of course to pave the way for the new legacy of The Music City Sound Marching Band, this young woman is sure to be written in Fisk history as a legend.
Being exposed and a part of the band culture since the 5th grade, Erin started her band career playing snare drum and bells. After getting into the marching band in 6th grade, she began playing saxophone which has become her primary instrument outside of her drum major rolls today. “Being drum major at such a historic and prestigious institution is surreal. It comes with a lot of pressure, not only to be the best, but to represent my university and the band world well. However, I have been prepared, as I was the first freshman drum major in high school and served in that position for all four years. Those experiences were the stepping stone to where I am now. It has been an honor to be selected to be the first drum major because I feel that I am inspiring young Black girls that they can do whatever they aspire to do no matter what others may say. I think everything will really hit me once I am able to come back and see the success of the band as an alumni.”, says Erin.
Being a student-athelete can be quite challenging and overwhelming, especially when you hold a leadership position such as drum major at an HBCU. When asked how she maintains being a student-athlete and the feeling of being drum major at Fisk University, Erin responds saying, “Academics have always been top priority with me. I am a student Athlete with emphasis on the student. I enjoy learning, so getting my work done has always came natural. The structure of band also helps as well. I am able to plan ahead and keep from procrastinating. Attending an HBCU is so empowering. To have professors, peers, and administration who look like you and are successful and/or thriving for their goals is motivating. Band is its own culture in itself. It is beautiful to watch a group individuals from different backgrounds come together and play in harmony. It is also like having a family away from home.”
Stating that her inspiration in college, band, and her personal life is the vision she has for the future. The level of success that she wants for herself keeps her working hard and persevering through anything life throws her way. Truly inspiring to her peers and an amazing example of an empowering Black Woman. We can only hope the very best for this young woman in the future to come.
You can follow Erin and The Music City Sound Marching Band on Instagram with the links below.