Friday, July 5, 2013

The Arts at UNC - Student Spotlight: D.J. Lester

The arts community at Carolina is well-established and far-reaching, and taking part in it is a yet another great way to get involved at UNC. Music has always been a huge part of senior D.J. Lester’s life, so his decision to pursue it at the college level was a no-brainer.

D.J. comes from a family with a history in the arts - they’ve got singers, dancers and musicians throughout every generation. He discovered his musical talent at the young age of six when he started singing in his church’s youth choir. He went on to learn how to play the piano and then the trumpet and the French horn, all by the seventh grade. During high school, he played for the Marching Band and the Concert Band and eventually worked his way to Drum Major by his senior year.

As soon as he got accepted to UNC, he knew the first thing he wanted join was the Marching Tar Heels. A good friend and fellow band member, Alex Bradsher, was influential in his decision to join as he saw her as a role model and mentor. This past spring, D.J. was chosen as a senior Drum Major for the Marching Tar Heels. At the year-end banquet, Alex presented D.J. with his new whistle and he swears that will be a moment he will never forget.

The band isn’t D.J.’s only outlet for the arts - he also picked up a minor in Music to further supplement his passion and musical background. He’s made tons of friends through the band and feels so blessed to get to interact with such great musicians. He also doesn’t hate that the band plays for all UNC athletic events.

“I’ve developed an even greater appreciation for sports that my high school didn’t offer, like field hockey or lacrosse. Even when I don’t have to play in the pep band for these events, I still like to go and watch because I now see the hard work these teams put into what they are doing. It’s part of the reason why we are UNC: the University of National Champions.”

Just as an athlete knows how amazing it feels when he or she is part of a team that shares the same passion, UNC’s band knows the same feeling and why they are all there together. While D.J. may not know all 300 students in the Marching Band, he knows that they are there to make music and help the team to victory. Just as every student on campus is connected by the love they have for Carolina, the band is connected by their love for music and creating it. Some people don’t know that UNC’s marching band is also known as The Pride of the ACC. However, it’s only once you’ve seen them marching to the stadium or on the field, that you will understand why nobody else is fit for that title.

Do you have this same passion for music and the arts? Think about joining a music ensemble, any of UNC’s a cappella or performing groups, or even studying a music-related major or minor! Click through the links below for more information.

Music Department -

D.J. is a Sociology major and Music and Entrepreneurship minor at UNC.