Quiara Jackson is the first female drum major of Norfolk State University’s long-running Marching Spartan “Legion” Band.
The senior sociology major has been named Cap ‘N Soul, which gives her command of a team of about 250 staff and student musicians, dancers, and flags from across the country, according to The Virginian-Pilot. She is the first woman to hold the position at the Norfolk-based HBCU and aspires to be a role model for women leaders.
“One of my main focuses when I was auditioning to be a drum major, I was telling people not only am I running for myself, I’m running to inspire other women to take on these positions,” she told the outlet.
“WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN THESE LEADERSHIP POSITIONS.”
According to the news outlet, several of the band’s section leaders are women.
Jackson, who attended Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, was more interested in choir and orchestra until her junior year, when she picked up her band instrument. She had the support of the high school’s band director, who had graduated from NSU as a member of its legendary band.
In 2018, she joined the Spartan Legion Saxophone section after falling in love with NSU’s campus.
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Her transition from nursing to sociology almost caused her to leave the band, but her supporters, including last year’s Mr. Spartan, Jonathan Lee, encouraged her to pursue her historic role.
Among her notable responsibilities, Jackson has been a member of the Tau Beta Sigma Epsilon Sigma chapter since 2020 and currently serves on the executive board for the 2022-2023 school year. Her sisterhood sent her flowers through social media.
The award-winning “Legions” band was founded in 1975 and is best known for the Philadelphia Parade commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Constitution (1987); the Mardi Gras in the Rex Parade in New Orleans (2003); the MLK “Drum Major for Justice” Parade in St. Petersburg, Florida (2006); the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase (2007 and 2008); and the Norfolk Grand Illumination Parade (2007 and 2008).
The band continues to spread the love of the “Legions” across the country under the direction of William H. Beathea.