This is Home: Daughter grows up to be just like her mom

Mother-daughter duo are drum majors for rival school bands 30 years apart
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 7:20 PM EDT
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Most kids want to grow up to be like their mom or dad at some point in their life, and a lot of them will grow up to be just like their parents. That statement rings especially true for Mindy Thorn and her daughter Tessa.

In 1989, Mindy was the drum major at Parkersburg High School. Thirty years later in 2019, Tessa is at the front of the band at Parkersburg South.

“I had actually wanted to become drum major, because my mom was drum major,” said Tessa. “That was what I really wanted to do, so I started working at it in the early years. I was like, I have to get this!”

Just like her mom, she made the cut. But, the similarities don’t end there.

“She came home and was talking to me about getting her gold chord as an honors student, and I’m just so proud of her, she mentioned she was 13th in her class, which struck me because I also finished 13th in my class,” said Mindy.

“We looked back, we both played tenor saxophone in jazz band, we both finished 13th in our class, we both were awarded the John Philip Sousa award by our band.”

Mindy went to West Virginia University after high school, which is where Tessa is now. And to no one’s surprise, Tessa is determined to be in the band, just like her mom.

“I was a chicken and was only on it for one year because I wanted to focus on academics, but knowing Tessa and her goal to be in band, I know she’s going to be in it for the long haul,” said Mindy.

They’re not all the same though. Mindy is a pharmacist. Tessa, however, is studying biology in the hopes of one day being a genetic counselor. However, she unsurprisingly wanted to be a pharmacist like her mom when she was younger.

And of course one big difference is where they went to high school. One is a Big Red and the other is a Patriot.

“You know I’ve gotten some grief over the years, wtih my kid going to South. I remember when Tessa was in basketball we were at a restaurant on North End and I actually saw a woman who had been in Big Red Band with me, and she saw me walk in with a kid with a south uniform on and she was like “Mindy! you let your kid go to South?” and I said of course I do, said Mindy. “As long as we are supporting music programs, whether my band kid is in South, or Ravenswood or GW. It doesn’t matter. Let your kid be apart of the program. It shouldn’t matter what side of the town you grew up on. As long as we are supporting our kids in music, that’s what’s important.”


There’s nothing like the bond between a mother and her daughter. That’s especially true for Mindy Thorn and her daughter Tessa, who in many ways, are more like sisters than a parent-child combination. It takes all of 2 minutes with the pair to see that they are great friends.

They are also strikingly similar people. Decades before Tessa became the drum major of the Parkersburg South marching band, Mindy was the drum major at Parkersburg High School.

Despite the two schools’ well-known rivalry, Mindy says the bands aren’t too competitive with one another. Their traditions are very different, as the Big Reds focus on a military style of marching, while the Patriots focus more on contemporary styles.

Recently graduated, Tessa is heading to West Virginia University this fall. Just like her mom, she will be joining the WVU marching band.

“We looked back, we both played the tenor saxophone in jazz band, we both finished 13th in our class, we were both awarded the John Phillip Sousa award by our bands, which is the outstanding band member senior year, and we both will be moving forward to be in the mountaineer marching band,” said Mindy Thorn.

The similarities don’t stop there.

We’ve spoken with the women at length, and they’ll be featured in our This is Home segment in the coming weeks.

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