At anytime of the day Tyler Junior College students and staff can hear the tap of a snare drum or the low boom of a base drum from any place on campus.
The TJC drumline is much more than just the beat behind the band, it combines with instruments such as xylophones, marimba players, and bells to create a percussion sound.
There is a regular drumline for marching and then there is a winter guard that competes in competitions, said Tom McGowan, associate director of percussion.
“This year the winter guard got to compete in Nashville, Tenn. in the regional competition in the percussion division. In the prelims they scored 85.7 (out of 100) and in the finals they scored 87.7, which in both prelims and finals they got third place,” said McGowan.
A band is a family of music and talent, however, in order to support the band, the drumline has to work themselves to maintain a balance of sound.
“We see each other throughout the day, for many hours,” said Nicole Bullard, Marimba player (pit). “That makes us closer, like a small family. It’s fun. It’s active. You always get something to do,” said Bullard.
So what goes into having a successful drumline for competitions?
“Well the winter guard is smaller than the fall line-about 26 people in drumline and pit,” said McGowan. “They practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. and they practice for a full day on Saturdays, from about 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. They practice a lot.”
With the big Dayton, Ohio competition coming the drumline prepares to beat out the competition with a strong performance of the piece “Body Language.”
“Our contender for the medal is Penn State, who were one point behind TJC [in the Nashville competition],” said McGowan. “We just need to change a couple of moves and just have to make a better performance and play better. This year’s group is the most talented group we’ve had. They’re hard workers and dedicated. The marchers will go upstairs in the training room to lift, run, and bike. They train like athletes,” said McGowan.
With hours of practice and pure talent coursing through the drumline, a medal in the Dayton competitions appears attainable.
“I feel confident,” said Bullard. “Just hoping for a medal.”