Q&A with senior drum line member Sarah Hill

Hailey McEntee, Co-Editor

Question: What is your favorite thing about being in the drum line?

Answer: I love that fact that we’re just like a very close family. We may fight in stressful situations, but at the end of the day, I know any one of them would be there for me if I ever needed anything.

Q: How do tryouts work for drum line?

A: There are clinics in the spring and then an audition process each year.  You try out as an eighth grader as well as each year after that. After auditions they place you either in the front ensemble or on drum line. Drum line isn’t any “better” than front ensemble, they just require different abilities and interests.

Q: What is a favorite memory you have from being a part of the drum line?

A: There are way too many to pick one, but I have loved being able to go play at different events and hang out afterwards. We play at Royals games, charity events, BV football games, competitions, and more.

Q: What is your relationship like with the other drum line members?

A: Since we’ve spent so much time together, they just get me. I love hanging out with them. We’re really close.

Q: What is the time commitment like?

A: We start in the spring with auditions, then have rehearsals about once every two weeks until the summer. In the summer we have sectionals — rehearsals with the people on your instrument — as often as possible, and get the whole line together as often as possible as well. Everyone is required to memorize their music over the summer on their own. Band camp starts the last week in July. It’s five days a week — plus a few Saturdays — until school starts, usually from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Drum line puts in some extra hours during that time, coming in early and in the afternoons to get extra rehearsal time. Once school starts, band is our first hour so we get to school by 7am and rehearse through first hour. Drum line sometimes comes in at 6:30 a.m. to work on music. Since there’s no 1st hour on Thursdays, the band has rehearsal at night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. We also come in early sometimes for these. We play at all home football games, and have four competitions on weekends, which, besides BoA in St Louis, happen all day on Saturdays — leave early morning, get back between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Beyond that, there are a few commitments that just the drum line has such as extra rehearsals, personal practice time, Relay For Life, and more.

Being on drum line was probably one of the most rewarding experiences for me in high school. It was so much work, but it taught me to balance my schedule while being required to put in the effort it takes to be a good percussionist. It gave me memories and people I’ll never forget, and showed me what it really looks like to work for a group of people with one common goal because the line is only as good as its weakest player.

Q: Are you going to miss it a lot when you graduate?

A: I will miss it so much. But I know that I’ll always love music, and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of it for four years.

Q: What is the hardest thing about drum line?

A: With soccer and school, it was hard to balance my life. Drum line takes a lot of discipline which was also something I had to constantly work at. Physically, marching a heavy drum — they range 20 to 50 pounds — was hard as well, especially combined with playing competitive soccer and working out. Overall, drum line is hard mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Q: Is there anything else people should know about drum line?

A: The school sees a very small part of what we do. Our main goal is to be a rock solid section in our competitive show that the band can rely on to maintain tempo and add another texture to what they’re doing. We spend most of our time on the competitive show.