A Strong Heartbeat

To perform to the best of ones ability, they must have a strong heart with a steady heartbeat.  Likewise, in order to have a complete sound, a band must have a strong drum line, for without that, a band is looking at flat-lining with their performance.

The 2011 drum line is a young, fairly inexperienced line, composed of only three veteran members, Danielle Vogt, Kalie Choate and Halee Garner.  They were joined this season by Bricelyn McCreary, Bailey Wilcox, Josh Hill, Caanan Thompson and flute player Tristan Cross.  While this group may not have picked up their equipment as an accomplished line, they had dedicated help from director Adam Steuart, who is a savvy drummer himself, as well as drum tech Patrick McClung, who spent countless hours this summer and fall working with, driving and molding this young line in a strong heartbeat for The Pride.

The drum line started this year’s journey the weekend before full band camp back in July.

Working alongside the Chisholm Stampede drum line, they were put through the paces by Patrick, learning different warm-up exercises, how to play tonal bass drums, new cadences, as well as the new marching music and marching with their instruments.  They built their physical strength with push-ups, learned that marching “isn’t tether ball” (a Patrickism that you really had to be there to appreciate), and throughout the week of band camp began to gel as a unit working towards being that strong heartbeat.

The drum line’s job isn’t just to keep the beat for the rest of the band while on the field or during a parade.  They are also a key and major factor in the stands while supporting the Hennessey football team.  All four quarters, the drum line pound out cadence after cadence helping keep the crowd pumped up the entire game as well as playing their hearts out during the pep band selections.  When you look to the top of the band section of the football stands, you will find eight dedicated students providing not just the heartbeat for the band, but for the crowd as well.  All of this and more is what makes this energetic and dedicated line the Mama Cross section of the week.

Picking up a drum and learning how to play isn’t easy, but to pick up a drum after four years of playing flute is a huge jump across the orchestra pit.  As the only flute player in the marching band, Tristan Cross made the transition to the small bass drum, joining the drum line this year, stepping up and showing that he’s not just a woodwind player, but a percussionist as well, and is this week’s featured student.

Tristan, also known as Twineth, Trenden, Twin, and sometimes Thing 1 by his older brother is part of a matched set.  Tristan was born 1 minute before his twin brother Brenden who plays trombone and is a freshman.  His favorite colors are green and blue, loves to eat turkey, Christian music and his favorite movie is Sinbad.  Being an individual who thinks outside the box, Tristan is a true Whovian, making it no surprise that his favorite TV show is Doctor Who. His reading tastes are also a bit more eclectic as well and lists “The Looking Glass Wars”, “Seeing Red”, and “Arch Enemy” as his favorites.  While not an all around sports fan, Tristan is a fan of his Hennessey Eagles.

Tristan is truly one of the kindest, most generous teenagers I have ever met, and I do not say that because he is my son.  I say that because as I have watched him as he has grown he has always shown kindness to everyone he comes in contact with, believes the best in everyone until given a reason not to and doesn’t care about cliques, what your social status is, or what you really think of him.  He is an open and honest individual which is why he is highly thought of by so many.  This is made more evident by his favorite quote.  “Watch your thoughts, they become words.  Watch your words, they become actions.  Watch your actions, they become character.  Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”  His role model is his grandmother and says of her, “She is a hard working, kind person.  She is a nurse and will help anybody in need.  Every year I show her my appreciation by helping clean her house.  She also makes good food that is nutritious and tastes good.”

Being an artistic person, Tristan loves band, knowing that it is hard work and requires lots of practice and that when you are at a competition, even if you are out of school, it is still a school event and that you have to follow the school rules and be polite, because you are representing not just your band, but your school and your town.  Next to band, he has a passion for photography and is very talented at capturing photos, getting his hands on a camera whenever he has the opportunity.

Tristan’s goals are to make straight A’s throughout high school and become valedictorian.  After graduation he wants to attend a collage with a strong photography program and open his own photography business, not just settling for being a local photographer, but to excel at the professional level, taking famous and renown photos.  He also plans to receive culinary training as he has apassion for food and cooking and wants to be a part time chef.

To be a successful unit, you have to work together as a single entity.  This young drum line is well on it’s way to reaching that success.  Mr. Steuart and Patrick have taken eight single pieces and have started fitting them together to make that unit.  A unit that beats in harmony with each other, providing the band with that strong, solid heartbeat.  Keeping the beat alive, providing a foundation, and giving a steady rhythm for all who hear them to know, they are the drum line.  They are the heart beat and they help provide vital life to the band.

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