By Samantha Adams
The enthusiastic beats of the drum-line at Union University home soccer games ring out almost twice as loud this year as in the past, because of the addition of new students to its ranks.
The drum-line, which was created in 2006, is a group of students that beat rhythms on plastic buckets to cheer on the soccer players. Arranged into snare and base sections according to the size of their bucket, the students play both practiced cadences and beats improvised on the spot. Eight new students joined the group this year, making a total of 18 active participants.
A first-time focus on recruitment of freshmen at the beginning of the school year is what brought growth, said Treasure Hightower, senior digital media studies major and leader of the drum-line.
B. J. Davidson, freshman Christian studies major, said he was glad to find an outlet for his drum skills in the line. Comparing it to the drum-line at his high school, Davidson said that one unique aspect of Union’s line is the easygoing approach.
“It is so loose, so fun and not so stressful or strict like at other schools,” Davidson said.
Davidson said he also appreciated the group’s diversity. Majors in the group range from biology to engineering and music performance.
Marie Adamkova, the freshman music performance major in the group, was drawn to the drum-line not because she wanted to build on past experience, but because it reminded her of a group she had once seen beating out a rhythm on buckets on a street in New Orleans while visiting the city.
Hightower said students like Adamkova, who had no drum experience, are just as welcome to the group as students with drum experience.
Hightower joined the drum line three years ago because she “grew up loving music and drums” and “wanted a place to drum.” Now, as its leader her passion for the drum line remains. Hightower engages music and beat theory experience when she leads the drummers in practicing cadences before a game to make sure they sound crisp. Anyone in the drum-line is welcome to create a cadence for the team to perform, as long as it includes both snare and base drummers, she said.
Two experienced snare improv leaders, one rookie and one base improv leader work together not only to help create cadences for the group to practice, but also to spontaneously create beats on the sidelines during soccer games. The improv leaders said they let the creative expression flow and feed off the crowd’s excitement about the game.
“Soccer players love it and feel encouraged,” said Ryan Mays, junior sociology major and a snare improv leader. “The fans do, too.”
The addition of new students has prompted the group’s leaders to plan for the future. Hightower said she wants to ensure the drum-line is structured, continues to actively support the soccer players and continues to expand after she graduates. To gain long-term organization and a budget, the process is underway to request that the group be recognized by the university as a student organization, she said.
The drum-line practices every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. in the Jennings Hall’s band room. Hightower encourges interested students to come participate.