Who Marches to the Beat of the Nest’s Drum?

Who Marches to the Beat of the Nests Drum?

The close-knit Drum line is an important group at Skyline, yet, to much of the student body, a lot is unknown. We hear the well-known sets at assemblies and sport games; but what is the hard work that goes into making those sets, into executing them at all? 

Well, to start off, the members are highly trained. Most of the team have been playing the drums since they were little. A 6-8 year experience level is quite common in the group, with many having backgrounds in piano and guitar. 

What is most interesting about the Drum line is that the group is also the Percussion Ensemble, the official name of the 3B class. “They are the hardest working group in the school,” says the Nest’s instrumental music teacher Adam Larson. “They have their own thing, but they also have to play for every other group.” Those groups include, but are not limited to, the Wind Ensemble and the Philharmonic Orchestra, both who have demanding concert seasons. Because it’s a percussion class, the students are thoroughly introduced to many more instruments than the drums. Dozens of percussion instruments can be seen in Skyline’s music room, and the Drum line has the task of learning and playing most of them.

 “I’ve found that being a teacher for 20 years, that there’s a difference between a drummer and a percussion musician,” remarks Larson. “Drummers have one style, only play rock band…but when it comes to knowing music composition, it’s a big deal, and these guys are skilled with that. At Skyline we are teaching you how to be a musician and not just a drummer,” he explains. “A lot of the instruments no one has heard of like the timpani or vibraphone,” says Freshman Eagle Jack Catten. The group testifies that anything you can hit can become a percussion instrument. Boom whackers, boxes, wine glasses, and snow globes are just some of the examples the group gives. The Eagles are expected to learn a variety of compositions and notation to be better acquainted with the multiple instruments. 

Even with all the things the Drum line, or rather the Percussion Ensemble, does to keep the Nest in tune, it often gets unnoticed. “Many times we get forgotten,” says Senior Eagle Zach Pulley. “We are the most important but often the most forgotten.” Without the drums, there is no beat and rhythm. Making other instruments, such as the violin or the trumpet, not stay together with the entire group. “Without us, there is no feeling, and there is no heart to the rhythm,” explains JT Benson, a Freshman at Skyline.

The group won Best Orchestra this year as part of the ensemble in this year’s musical, “Into the Woods” and routinely perform well in the competitions they participate in, Percussion Arts Society and Solo Ensemble. “It’s fun to show off what we have worked so hard on all year,” says Catten. 

Without this multi-talented ensemble, many events and groups at Skyline would be less in sync than what meets the  Eagle’s eye. We are grateful for these Eagles’ continued dedication in helping our Nest stay more in rhythm.