Cassie Helgesen McCabe (1983-1987, 2018) | University of Illinois Archives
Cassie Helgesen McCabe served as a drum major for the Marching Illini between 1983 and 1987 which included performances during the 1984 Rose Bowl and the 1985 Peach Bowl games. Notably she was the first freshman to hold this position for four years, following in the footsteps of Debbie Ann Soumar who became the band's first woman drum major in 1977. Cassie obtained her bachelor's in Human Resources and Family Studies with a concentration on child development and psychology in 1987, and completed her MBA with a concentration in business administration and organizational behavior in 1991.
During her time with the University Band she also formed the first hockey band and the first volleyball band, which consisted of a saxophone, baritone, and bass drum. Between 1983 and 1987 she also played saxophone in the basketball band, and conducted the ensemble twice during basket games when Gary Smith was unavailable. During one of these performances Cassie received a personal hand shake and hug from Mary Henson after a game with the University of Kentucky. In addition Cassie served as one of the editors for the Marching Illini Footnotes, a weekly student newsletter for the band's members. The other members of the Footnotes editorial team at that time were Terry Dwyer (tenor saxophone), John Henderson (baritone), and Rich Hosek (flugelhorn) who was the producer of the Footnotes movies and later became a writer for many episodes of the 1990-1996 sitcom, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."