Drum line brings the beat to band of Pirates

After spending hours together every week, the 14 members of the Marshfield drum line now refer to themselves as a “family.”

Drum Line

By Beau Hunter & Jacob Klein | Collaborative Reporters

Noticed by the decibels of their drums, the MHS drum line has used the band hall as their home away from home to drum together and bond.

Drummers, as well as band members, have created an environment where they can separate themselves into a setting where they feel comfortable, explains senior percussion section leader David Walters. It is a place where they can not only connect with peers, but also be themselves.

“It’s where we gather,” Walters said. “It’s where all the band kids feel most comfortable.”

The drum line has become very close through bonding while playing together. During practices and performances, they view themselves as a family. As Director John Kruse explains, the friendly atmosphere the drum line exudes and individual work time which they utilize sets the group apart from the rest of the band. The drum line is just one of the many programs Kruse directs, and he is proud to be represented by them.

“The drum line’s kind of like the cinnamon on the apple pie,” Kruse said.

The drum line performs in an array of diverse activities. They perform within the marching band as well as solos for certain events. Aside from playing at school activities, the drum line also performs at parades, including the annual Blackberry Arts Festival parade in downtown Coos Bay. Additionally, the drum line participated in a “drum-off” with Roseburg High School in Roseburg.

Freshman drummer James Miranda enjoys the drum-offs they compete in.

“The drum-offs are a blast,” Miranda said.

In the scene of a drum-off, percussionists from each drum line execute one piece at a time. After one team performs the opposing team plays their music.

This year’s drum line consists of 14 drummers in eighth through twelfth grade, playing four different types of percussion instruments including the quints, snare, bass and cymbals. According to Walters, a beginner starts on the cymbals or bass and works their way up to quints or snare.

Any student is allowed to join the marching band, but the drum line has a different process for accepting new percussionists. During the second week of August, the percussion section leader organizes a camp where drummers are put to the test to see if they can make the team. If they make it through the camp and enjoy playing, they can continue not only in the drum line, but as percussionists in the marching band.

“The kids that show up and can cut the mustard are a part of it,” Kruse said.

Like many teams, the drum line has particular people who keep the group intact. The position of section leader is passed down by the current section leader to whomever he or she feels is ready to take on the position of directing the entire group the following school year.

Walters is already looking for someone to take his place.

“I will have to decide on someone who I feel will be able to carry out the job,” Walters said.

In the meantime, Walters and his fellow drummers will continue to enjoy their time together in the band hall.