Hailey Mills drums in the ROC band at a women's basketball game. (Courtesy of Hailey Mills)

Making history: First female ROC Band drummer

BYU freshman Hailey Mills is the first-ever female drummer for the ROC Band. Mills has performed at women’s basketball games this season in the Marriott Center.

Mills, an Arizona native, began playing the drums when she was in eighth grade and played in the drumline at her local middle school. She continued to play in the marching band when she arrived at high school and had the opportunity to play the “quads,” which are four different drums that have different ranges of sound.

“It’s kind of really complicated at the beginning,” Mills said of playing drums. “You got to get a lot of coordination and rhythm, but once you get it, it’s just super fun to mess around and make it super exciting.”

Mills joined the BYU Marching Band when she got to Provo and heard about auditions for the ROC Band. She saw it as an opportunity to expand her drumming talents and sent a video of her playing to the directors of the ROC Band. They liked what they saw and accepted Mills into the band.

Emi Ferderber, director of the ROC Band for the women’s basketball games, worked with Mills when they were in the marching band during football season. She was excited when she found out Mills was going to be the drummer with her ROC Band crew.

“As a director, having a drummer as talented, consistent and eager to learn as Hailey has been so much fun,” Ferderber said. “She’s so solid and makes my job easy because I can trust her to keep the band together.”

Ferderber said she doesn’t have to worry about conducting much because the band listens to the tempo Mills sets.

During games, Mills says she plays whatever feels right in the moment.

“Don’t be afraid to go after it if that is what you want,” Mills said to other women wanting to play drums. “Even though there are not a lot of girls out there, there is plenty of room for girls. We can do this!”

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