USC Trojan Marching Band's first female drum major talks about making history

India Anderson will make history this fall as USC's first female drum major.

April 30, 2019, 5:56 PM

India Anderson, a rising junior at the University of Southern California, will make history this fall as the first-ever female drum major.

"I think it’s really just a great statement showing the fact that now the position really is equal," Anderson said. "A man or a woman can do it."

I believe that the position really shouldn’t be a gendered position.

The drum major traditionally conducts the band from up on a ladder. But at USC, the drum kicks off the game on the field with the Trojan Marching Band and requires a big personality. He -- and now she -- leads a pregame ritual called the stabbing of the field where the leader wields a sword and "stabs" it into the field at the 50-yard line ahead of the band's entrance.

Anderson spoke with "Good Morning America" about the excitement behind her brand new position.

"I believe that the position really shouldn’t be a gendered position," she said.

The New Jersey native, who play tuba, said she “had no idea how big of a culture ...[the band] was” until she joined and immediately "fell in love with it."

Anderson was elected by fellow band members after what she described as a long audition process.

Outgoing drum major Chris Rick told ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC that Anderson is the best replacement for the job.

"We do the process based on who deserves the job, and she went out there and proved in the final audition round that she, the band felt that she was most fit to be there and do the position," Rick told KABC.

Band Director Arthur Bartner, who has led the team for 50 years, told USC Annenberg Media that he was proud of the team's decision. According to USC News, Bartner brought women into the band for the first time in 1971.

"I'm happy [that] gender was not an issue in the selection of the candidate," Bartner said in a statement to Annenberg Media. "I give the band a lot of credit. It was the students' decision and their selection based on a majority vote."

When Anderson starts her position this fall, she said she's looking forward to stabbing the field at the first home game.

"It’s just going to be a really amazing moment," she said. "I’m pretty sure I’ll be the first woman to stab the field."