Shuffling the deck

When the list of parts was posted on the band room door after December’s auditions, looks of bewilderment spread through the accumulating crowd of percussionists, eager to see if they had been placed on their preferred instrument.

Many of them had not. Weathered veterans who marched with finesse for seasons past had been placed in stationary front ensemble positions, while underclassmen who lack their experience took their spots. While some questioned the motives of instructors Mr. Drew Button and Mr. Matt Mueller, senior Tyler Gritt claimed that the seemingly random assignment of parts makes perfect sense.

“We have a huge junior class, so we needed to shuffle around the parts for when they graduate,” explained Gritt, who has marched snare for several seasons, yet was put on drum set for winter. “Every now and then you need to get shuffled around; it’s always good to get new people in there.”

“I was kinda getting burnt out on the snare. They were looking for a drum set player and Mr. Button asked me to play set, so I said, ‘Sure, that’d be cool,’” said Gritt. “Drum set is always a lot more fun in the winter anyway.”

While the need for underclassmen to gain experience on more prominent parts was the primary cause of all the surprising audition results, junior Emily Tedford took a different perspective on her awkward switch from bass drum to cymbals.

“I was really nervous; my audition wasn’t really strong,” admitted Tedford. “I got put on cymbals, but I can’t play them because I have wrist problems.”

Tedford, who has played bass drum on both fall and winter drumline, decided not to do winter this year in order to avoid aggravating her pre-existing injuries.

Despite all the instrument swaps, the winter drumline has slid seamlessly into regular rehearsals. They are working hard to prepare their show, entitled “Shaolin,” for their first competition in February.