This week, we'll be devoting some editorial attention to drummers, drums, and other percussive discussion points. One of the most fun aspects of being in a top-12 snare line is drumming in the parking lot. In the lot, you're up close and personal with hard-core rudimental drumming fans. What you play will show up on video somewhere in future, and those videos are typically copied and passed along among players and fans.
If your snare line plays a flam passage fast and cleanly, you'll hear quite an ovation. My favorite year marching was 1995, when the Madison Scouts snare line had eight vets and one rookie. The two center snares had six years of experience each, and I had five at the time. That made it really fun to play! The guys in the line and I had fun watching a videotape of a warm-up in Buffalo outside the stadium that year. When we'd warm up, we'd stand still and drum. We knew it was 20 percent physical and 80 percent mental, and we put in our movement work during the day. Warmup was the time to just drum. So on the video, while we were playing, we were amused to see other drum lines passing back and forth behind us in the background getting "beat" by instructors with loud, obnoxious metronomes. Drumming in the lot was fun after shows, too, when members from different corps would line it up, call out flam or roll patterns everyone knew, and just let it fly. I remember when members of the Scouts, Blue Knights and Velvet Knights got together after a show in Endicott, N.Y., in the mid-90s. It was so invigorating to play with so many other great rudimental drummers. Chris Hollenback marched bass and snare in the Northmen from 1988-1990, and bass for the Madison Scouts from 1991-1993 and snare for the Scouts from 1994-1997.