But it wasn’t just any podium fail. While the platform in question did certainly fall over, the drum major perched on top of it kept his composure and won the internet AND our hearts!
Ethan Molina, horn and mellophone player, and also the drum major for the Somerset Academy in Pembroke Pines, FL, is directing the band in this video. In 2013, when this video was filmed, Ethan was a junior and a rookie drum major. The band was performing at a district Florida Bandmasters Association event. (Scroll down for full video)
About halfway through their performance, the right leg of the podium failed. Ethan didn’t have much time to react, but says he pieced together this series of events:
“So, that podium model, a Jarvis, isn’t really too big and doesn’t allow much movement, so I was taught by the drum major before me to stand mostly on the right so as to allow the left leg to step out for bigger cues and stuff. The right podium leg was halfway on the track and halfway on the grass, so I when I stepped out, a screw snapped, the platform bent, and I jumped.”
What turned out to just be a freak placement of the podium on the track edge, led to a “hero” in the making. One of the judges let Ethan know how much he was impressed by his composure. He wrote on his eval sheet, “Drum major you’re my hero.”
Without missing a beat, literally, Ethan landed on his feet and continued to conduct the band. Even more amazingly, after watching the clip over and over, it actually appears as if the visual move the band is doing at the exact moment the podium falls are in synch. When he falls, the band is in the middle of a dip.
This isn’t the first time the internet has seen the video. It went viral and landed Ethan and the Somerset band on the news for an interview! We shared it almost three years later on Marching Band Is Awesome and it continues to be a viral sensation among band kids.
Check out these stats:
- The short video clip we shared on our facebook page has almost 160,000 views.
- The post itself has over 15,000 reactions (likes, loves, wows, etc)!
- It was shared almost 3,500 times and has over 2,500 comments!
We asked Ethan how the band reacted to his fall. What was actually happening on the field?
“A lot of the credit has to go to the band because they didn’t panic and relied on what we learned in rehearsal. Vets didn’t panic and knew what to do without even thinking about it, and rookies followed suit. It didn’t help that it was very windy that day for the color guard, and the prop in the middle of the field, a couch, was set up wrong. So everyone was communicating with each other and the drumline was dutting and counting loud enough for people to hear who couldn’t see me.”
Ethan’s favorite part of marching band is the sense of unity.
“Not only do we become close as friends and almost family, but we come together to bring about a visual and musical experience. I love feeling that sense of oneness with my fellow performers when playing and especially with conducting. The happiest times of my life have come from playing music, in and outside of marching band.”
Ethan graduated from Somerset in 2015 and is now a second-year biology major, minoring in medical anthropology and music at University of Central Florida. He plays horn in the concert band at UCF. He plans on auditioning for the Boston Crusaders (also known for the “Possibly Possessed Keyboard Player”) for a mellophone spot and as a conductor.
Watch the full performance below (Podium fails around 5:20).