By Tom Tolen /

A Brighton High School alumnus has been selected as one of the two drum majors on the acclaimed Purdue University Marching Band, known as the “All-American Band”, for the 2022-23 season.

The Purdue University Marching Band, with about 350 members, is annually ranked in the top ten among the nation’s top college marching bands.

After an exhaustive selection process, Valerie Minnick, a 2020 BHS graduate and now a Purdue sophomore, has been chosen as drum major along with Geoffrey Ladue of Wildwood, Missouri. She is the daughter of Jill and Kim Minnick of Brighton.

Minnick, who is majoring in chemistry, performed in the Big Ten Flags and piccolo sections of the band and currently plays flute and piccolo in the Campus Band.

Brighton High School Marching Band Director Gabrielle Hoffman says she is elated that Minnick has been picked to be a drum major for a university band with such a stellar reputation.

However, Brighton High School already has a reputation for producing drum majors that go on to perform in major college marching bands. Minnick follows in the footsteps of fellow Brighton grad Brendan Schultz, who was drum major at Purdue two years ago. And, at the same time that Schultz was at Purdue, Zachery Casper - another former Brighton High graduate — was drum major at Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids.

The Brighton High School Marching Band program has also produced four drum majors who performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. They include Minnick, Erin Raby, Jack Newcomb and Matt St. Germain.

On a related note, the current BHS Marching Band will travel to Orlando, Florida, on April 21st to perform at Disney World, and will march in the huge parade scheduled on April 23rd at the Magic Kingdom.

Photo: Valerie Minnick of Brighton, center, among group of Purdue University band members.