For the third year in a row, an engineering student leads the prestigious Longhorn Band as drum major. David Forinash, a mechanical engineering major, will stoke the excitement of Longhorn games.

After a competitive selection by both peers and faculty, Forinash spent the summer traveling around the state leading clinics for prospective members and performing one of his more difficult assignments: teaching participants the band’s unique marching style.  Despite the band’s size, only about one in six of those who try out make the cut. The grueling three-day tryouts test both marching and music abilities, and yield the great sound and show that give the group its illustrious “showband” reputation.

While Forinash has amassed enough class credits to be a senior, he has only been a college student two years and spent both in the band. Below he shares the enthusiasm that allows him to maintain the challenging academic rigors of engineering, while leading a large, active and high-profile student organization like the 400-member Longhorn Band.

What musical instrument do you play and why did you choose it?
I am a proud member of the trumpet section in the Longhorn Band.  I actually wanted to play the trombone at one time, but my arm wasn't long enough.  The trumpet—because it fits into classical and jazz music—turned out to be a perfect fit for me.  I've fallen in love with its adaptability and beautiful timbre.

Why did you want to become drum major and what strengths do you bring to the position?
I jumped at the opportunity to give back to an organization that had given me so many memories, friends and experiences.  The band undoubtedly helped make me who I am today.  I knew it would be a tremendous honor to represent and serve the “Showband of the Southwest.”  I bring to the table a passion for people and music as well as an unwavering optimism.  I am driven to connect with others and commit my time and energy to something bigger than myself.

As the third consecutive engineering student selected to this prestigious position, why do you think engineering students make good drum majors?
I think there's something intrinsically mathematical about music.  The internalization and manipulation of the beat seem to come naturally to those who enjoy solving problems analytically.  I think the engineer's passion for improving a system or process makes the Longhorn Band an attractive niche.

How do you manage your time between two demanding college pursuits?
Carefully. The scheduling and prioritization of my time has been essential.  I stick to my calendar, and I'm obsessed with improving my productivity.

How do you maintain the energy required for both Longhorn Band and the academic rigor of engineering?
Despite the workload, my passion for both entities prevents excessive fatigue or stress.  It's hard to get burned out when you're doing what you love, whether it's solids homework or preparing for the next big game.

Why did you choose to major in engineering?
A love of physics and a curiosity for what made things tick drove me to engineering.  I also saw engineering as a challenge and an opportunity to grow as a problem solver.  Engineering seemed to quench my thirst for knowledge and my yearning for something extraordinary.

How do you see your Longhorn Band success contributing to your engineering career?
Longhorn Band has helped me to take enormous strides in my ability to interact and communicate with others.  The experiences gained as a leader and teacher will definitely help earn the respect of my co-workers someday.  More importantly, however, the Longhorn Band has helped me believe wholeheartedly that how one impacts and experiences the world is entirely up to him/her.  Anything is possible, so strive for the highest.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I hope to be raising a family and doing something I love. I want to make a difference in the community and in the lives of those close to me.

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cover of Texas Engineering magazine with group of students
cover of Texas Engineering magazine with group of students