Featured 15: Kevin

tenors.jpgAround 7th grade I started listening to blink-182. my favorite song was first date, I loved the drum intro it sounded so cool. I looked up the drummer, his name was Travis Barker. He is the reason I became a drummer. I bought my first pair of drumsticks later on and wanted to learn how to play the drum fill at the beginning of the song. It took me quite a while to get it down since I didn’t have a drum set at the time, but with practice I eventually got it down.

When I got to high school I really wanted to play drums in the marching band. I didn’t really need to audition to join because it was a small group at the time. I started out playing bass drum 3 and over time I moved up to snare sophomore year. By my junior year I wanted to move up again, this time to tenor drums.

Tenor drums was the most challenging, physically, emotionally, and mentally. There was this girl who was a year older than me, she was suppose to teach how to play them. For some reason she didn’t really like me, in fact she hated me. I don’t know why she hated me but it was a real struggle learning from and playing with her for a school year. There were even times when I wanted to quit because of her. But I didn’t care. I knew that eventually these drums were going to be mine. So she graduated and I became a senior and the Tenors were mine, I felt so happy. Band Alumni have told me I have become a good drummer over the years and feel so great about it. Never let anyone bring you down. Like Travis Barker just Drums Drums Drums.

Featured 15: Raikwon

drumline sci fest cc.6x4.jpgIn 8th grade, my band director showed the band a video of the Blue Devils and a video of the Blue Devils Drumline. It was that day that I knew I wanted to be good at the snare drum.  Then in the 10th grade, I decided to try the drumline.  When we started the auditions(in the previous Spring), while playing the exercises, I realized I  I wasn’t that good.  I made Bass 5, but I didn’t enjoy it.  I knew I wanted to be a snare drummer.  So I began practicing for 5-6 hours a day.

Drumline auditions came around again for the new school year(11th grade).  Those auditions didn’t go so well either.  I made bottom bass again.  After that I said I will not stop until I get to play snare drum. I practiced even more, sometimes until midnight or 1 in the morning.

The end of the year came around and it was time for the band’s annual banquet. At the end of the banquet, my band director announces the new section leaders and he assigned me Assistant Percussion Captain.  The following week we have auditions for the new year (senior year). The auditions went pretty well this time!

Ben, the percussion instructor, announced the line and he left snares last on the list. I made it!  But now I’m Percussion Captain and Center Snare!  I was super excited.  After that, I started thinking about my future in drumline and I decided to audition for the Louisiana Stars Drumline.  I am getting ready to go to the last audition camp now, wish me luck!

Featured 15: JD

dscn2510Hi everyone, this is JD, director of DOA.  Today I decided to share a bit of my own story on “Featured 15.”  Percussion has always been a way for me to express myself, making a drum or marimba sing helps me say the things that I can’t verbalize.

As an early teen, I suffered through a horrible depression.  It was brought on by some instability at home.  To make matters worse, it seemed that I couldn’t express how I felt to friends or family without everyone taking it the wrong way.  So I kept things to myself, and bottled up my emotions.  This created even more problems.

Band class was the only reason I really got out of bed in the morning, the only thing I felt was worth living for at times.  It was because I could put my emotions into the music.  Once I realized that, I just started spending a lot of alone time with my practice kit and music books.  This “alone time” eventually became my daily practice schedule.  As my skills got better and better, so did life.

Percussion really helped save me from a dark place, and for that I am forever grateful.  This is why I do what I do everyday now.  I know there are more kids out there like me, waiting to find something worth living for.  Music may be what saves them as well.

Featured 15: Luke

unnamed-1.jpgI already knew I wanted to play drums, but when I got to the 6th grade, my mom made me play alto saxophone instead. So I went with it for a while until drum line try outs came around. Then my band director helped me build the confidence to audition on snare drum.  I didn’t make the line.  I felt as if I was never going to touch a drum again.

I was crushed. I felt like I would never be that excited for an audition again, but somehow my parents and band director got me back into it.  My band director did all he could for me, even getting the center snare to give me some lessons.  It really helped me build more confidence.  So I went to auditions again next year. I’m so happy they did because I made the line that year!   And I aced everything they threw at me.  Now I am captain of my drum line and getting ready to march drum corps.

I learned to not give up your dreams, because if I had given up then I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to be the leader I am today. Nor would I be a DCI tenor player in the upcoming season. So to everyone who got cut from their first auditions… DONT QUIT! because you can always come back next season like a boss!  My life motto for musicianship: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

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Featured 15: Ellen

unnamed-2.jpgI was just a quiet person in school.  I got bullied a lot by other kids because I was new and I didn’t know English very well.  Everything started when I would stare at the drumline every single day at lunch.  It was just a habit, because I was so amazed and interested. I didn’t really have the courage to talk to them because I was scared that I might get bullied, so I just kept admiring them.
One day, one of the snare players caught me staring and asked why I had been looking at them. I just told him that I was really amazed at what they were doing. He laughed and then introduce me to their line and their band director. They were all so nice. A week after that I met Mark, a sophomore on the line.  That’s when I decided to join the band. Mark started teaching everything I needed to learn, like holding the sticks correctly and all the rudiments. Later, I ended up on the snare line with him.
I eventually got to know everyone in my band and they are absolutely awesome.  Everyone is like my family now.  Being with my band at every competition and football game is always memorable and fun. We have ups and downs, but we always make it. And they also bring out the best in me. I came out of my shell and became more sociable. It has been such a fun and amazing experience.