Major Talent CMU's Gabe Gallegos

Courtesy of Gabe Gallegos 

Courtesy of Gabe Gallegos 

No one personifies the pride and spirit of both Colorado Mesa University (CMU) and Grand Junction quite like Gabe Gallegos. As drum major of the Maverick Stampede marching band, the 22-year-old Grand Junction native delivers extraordinary entertainment as he jazzes up the band and football crowds with dancing and athletic moves.      

     “I want to be a role model of the passion I’ve had for music my whole life,” says Gallegos. “I lead by example and give 100 percent every time.”

    Gallegos has committed his past seven summers to training with the elite Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, based in Casper, Wyoming. Considered “marching’s major league,” its 150 students
practice 12 hours a day for four weeks, seeking perfection before performing and competing across the United States.

    “People in the Drum Corps who later go into the military say the training for the Drum Corps is mentally harder than boot camp,” says Gallegos. “The focus required is intense.”

    Gallegos started marching at age 14. At 17 he was chosen as the Casper Trooper’s horn sergeant, and at 18 he earned the honor of drum major over the entire corps. “The guy with the loud voice” was about to embark on a life-changing experience in that role.

    “The meaning of it didn’t really hit me until I put on the uniform and cowboy hat for the first time,” says Gallegos, referring to the group’s iconic ensemble, which is inspired by the U.S. Calvary. “It’s a very emotional experience.”

     Gallegos’ commitment and talent were rewarded at the August 2017 Drum Corps International finals at the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium, where he heard his name announced to the cheers of tens of thousands of people. He’d won the prestigious Jim Jones Leadership Award for best drum major in the country, as well as induction into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.

    “The roar of the applause for this guy from Grand Junction was amazing,” says Gallegos. “It was humbling to be recognized for what I’ve accomplished in a very short time.”

    Gallegos takes great pride in watching the evolution and growth of CMU and Grand Junction, which he believes are directly related. “Touring every summer, I see other universities and towns that don’t have nearly what we have,” he observes. “We are so fortunate.” 

    No worries if you missed out on Gallegos’ talent this past fall. He’ll be drum major again in 2018, his final season, while he completes his music degree. He is also seeking support to bring a Drum Corps show to Stocker Stadium this summer. If anyone can rally the community to make it happen, it’s him. 


February 10: Alumni night at CMU Basketball. Brownson Arena, 7:30pm. $15 reserved, $10 adults, $5 seniors and students

February 14: Cultural Café. Fulbright Visiting Scholar Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Fahmy Yousef from Egypt and CMU’s Dr. Cynthia Pemberton discuss living and studying as a Fulbright Scholar. Tomlinson Library, noon

February 14: Valentine’s Wine Pairing Dinner. A three-course dinner prepared and served by culinary arts students. Chez Luna, WCCC, 6:30pm. Reservations 970.255.2600, $60

February 22-March 3: Thoroughly Modern Millie. Robinson Theatre. $21 adults, $17 seniors, $8 students

March 30-31: One-act opera, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Robinson Theatre, 7:30pm. $12 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students