Special traditions bring new spirit to drumline and band

Traditions in the band drumline have worked to unify the section and provide a unique environment for the rest of the band members


By Marah Shulda

Over the past few years, the drumline has come up with a number of traditions that have strengthened the bond between the section and band as a whole. "Everytime we come we are ready to play and ready to have fun," said junior David Boatwright. "Even if you come in a bad mood to drumline, you’ll leave in a great mood because everyone around you is awesome."

Jordan Robinson, JagWire photographer

Walk into any basketball game and the sound of rhythmic hits and beats coming from the many drummers sitting amongst the band can be heard. Wait long enough for a break in the music, however, and the sound and sight of attention catching cheers, chants and traditions shared between members of the drumline become apparent.

Since he joined drumline as a freshman, junior Zach Bossert has begun bringing a variety of props to use at basketball games.  After coming up with the idea to bring a brick to a game, Bossert acquired a brick for each member of the drumline to hold up while the opposing team shoots free throws.

“[The bricks are] iconic, clever and good-looking too,” said Bossert. “They really get into the mind of the opposing team and make them brick the shot.”

By Marah Shulda
While the other team shoots a free throw, the drumline holds up bricks in an attempt to make the shooter “brick” the shot. “We enjoy being there more so than we did a couple years ago because we are all so invested in our antics,” senior Landon Butler said.

According to senior Landon Butler, shortly before the opposing team’s member takes a free throw, members of the drumline coordinate a specific action to do with the bricks, including flipping them up or down, forming a large “L”, or clinking them together.  

“We channel our inner energies into our building materials, our bricks, then we focus that energy onto an individual of the opposing team,” Butler said.  “We use our inner brick energies to cause the other team to clink it off the rim.”

Another new addition to the drumline’s various traditions is a wooden skeleton named Reggie that a group of students purchased while on a lunch break at the Central States Marching Festival in Manhattan during the fall of 2017.

According to sophomore Aidan Thomas, Reggie became an immediate source of pride for the drumline when band director Deb Steiner gave her nod of approval.

“We brought it over to Steiner and she walked over like she wasn’t going to approve it. [But,] she went up, put a [marching] hat on Reggie, and it was official,” Thomas said.  “We screamed ‘Reggie’ and everybody started chanting.”

Though drumline members occasionally bring him out to basketball games, Reggie currently sits clothed in a marching hat and band t-shirt in a lawn chair on top of instrument lockers in the band room.  

“He serves as a symbol and mascot and leads us through tough times in the band,” Bossert said. “When we feel down, we look up to him, and he’s right there.”

By Marah Shulda
Before performing the song “Get Ready for This”, the drumline waits for the count off to start playing. “We are all just hype for no reason, and it just makes everybody else hype,” said sophomore Aidan Thomas.

While Bossert said the drumline has become closer after introducing new cheers and antics in the past couple years, one special drumline tradition has been around for more than a decade.

Before a football game, drumline seniors lead a stretching circle followed by a round of jumping jacks where members spell out the word “drumline”. Then, the members form a large “mosh pit” where they “run towards the middle, embracing each other with camaraderie”, jump up and down and scream.

“We don’t want to pull any muscles in our wrist and hand joints. They can get really sore at times gripping the sticks and you just want to prevent that,” Bossert said.

According to junior Elizabeth Rigney, however, along with the more practical benefits, the pre-game stretching circle allows drumline members to become more familiar with each other.

“As we are stretching, we go around the circle and say our name because we probably don’t know everybody yet,” said Rigney.  “We tell something about ourselves — we have a different topic every time”.

By Marah Shulda
After a player makes a three point shot, the drumline mimics shooting an arrow while holding up three fingers. “Drumline used to be super serious, which we’re still serious, but the cheers and the traditions make us more of a family,” sophomore Aidan Thomas said.

Being well acquainted with each other, according to Rigney, is an integral part of the drumline’s success.

“Everything we do, we have to be in sync … if we don’t work together, it doesn’t work at all,” said Rigney. “We really have to spend a lot of time thinking about each other and working together as a group.”

Having drumline specific cheers, Bossert believes, has served as a bonding experience for the drumline.

“Since last year when we started doing all these traditions, it connected us more. Before, the freshman and the upperclassmen … didn’t intermingle,” Bossert said. “Now, since we have these traditions, the freshman feel a part of the family too”.

According to Rigney, improving enthusiasm within the drumline has had a large effect on other sections of the band.

“I think we have a tighter connection than a lot of other sections do,” Rigney said.  “We can hype each other up easily and as a group we get a lot of energy going. It’s just infectious to everyone else.”

Ultimately, Bossert has discovered, drumline is about playing music with his “drumline family”.

“We just enjoy what we love [to do]; playing music and having fun at the games,” Bossert said.

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