The snares and tenors of the Leesville drumline wait for the 2019 Raleigh Christmas Parade to start. (Photo courtesy of Leesville Band)
The Leesville Road High School Symphonic band is not only well known for its amazing seasonal concerts, but also for its role as the school’s marching band.
In covid-free times, they participate in football games, pep rallies, and parades in addition to marching band competitions on the weekends.
The marching band consists of many parts that work together to make everything run smoothly during marching season. There is the colorguard, the wind players, the pit ensemble, and the drumline.
The Leesville drumline is made up of three instrument types: tenors, snare drums, and bass drums. After tryouts in the spring of 2020, the following lineup was announced:
Jason Fogelsonger (junior)
Jackson Hutchison (senior)
Caden Merritt (center, junior)
Mary Mabry (junior)
Killian McRae (junior)
Abby Beasley (junior)
Maddy Phillips (senior)
Dietloff Jordan (sophomore)
Anthony Gardner (freshman)
Caroline Lipson (senior)
Owen Clark (junior)
Mac Haney (Captain, senior)
The drumline has specific responsibilities that the rest of the band doesn’t. This is what makes the drumline so noteworthy.
Marching In/Out Of The Stadium and Pregame:
Right before football games start, the band has to march in. The drumline leads the band into the stadium while playing their main 3 cadences. A cadence is a groovy piece for just the drumline to play. The main three are called Main, G-O, and D&K. They play cadences as the band walks into the football stadium to let everyone know that the band is coming, insuring everyone will move out of the way. The cadences also help the band keep time and walk in sync.
Once the band reaches the field, the entire band plays the National Anthem and fight song. They also make a tunnel for the football team to run onto the field.
Because the drumline is responsible for playing while marching into the stadium as well as once the rest of the band plays, it can be nerve-wracking.
“Marching in and pregame is the most terrifying part, especially for new members,” said Caden Merrit, a junior snare drum player, says over text. This is because the drumline does not stop playing and all eyes and ears are on them.
The drumline plays their main three cadences when leaving the stadium as well.
The Student Section:
For most members of the drumline, playing in front of the student section is the most memorable event of every football game. After they finish playing the halftime show with the rest of the band, they walk over to the student section. Here, the drumline plays their main three cadences, as well as others like Fresh Prince and Train. But it doesn’t really matter what they play — the student section goes crazy anyways.
“No matter how dirty or bad the cadence, the students are always hyped up” said Merrit. This is a common feeling among the drumline — “nobody seems to care if we do good or bad, it’s just a lot of fun and generates so much hype in both the student section and drumline” Killian Mcrae, another junior snare player, says over text.
Mcrae describes playing in front of the student section as the “highlight of being on drumline” and Merrit says this is where he feels “the most free from the rest of the band.”
The drumline also plays special performances completely separate from the band.
Before each school year, they play at the freshman orientation to welcome new students to Leesville.
In November of 2020, they played at Leesville’s annual Turkey Trot. They played cadences to keep the energy up and encourage runners.
Go follow @leesville_drumline to keep up with everything LRHS drumline-related!
They also do this outside of the Leesville community — they have played at many marathons in Raleigh and are praised for the energy they bring no matter where they go.
During the off-season, there is a winter drumline — they have played at churches and basketball games.
Having performances outside of the regular band creates a huge sense of community for the drumline and allows everyone to become really great friends. Mcrae says that his favorite and most rewarding part of being on the drumline is “the relationships built in it.”
A challenging year:
Covid-19 restrictions have hit the drumline very hard. They have barely been able to practice or perform this year. To sound clean and together as a drumline takes a lot of practice and attention to detail. Mcrae says the hardest part of this year has been “not being able to practice as a group much anymore.”
Merrit even thinks that “the drumline is obviously of lower quality this year compared to others.” He said over text, “we’re not getting the experience performing or marching that we need to have the ability to teach future generations.”
Even with the struggles this year, the drumline still jumps at any chance to play, and they hope to get back into their groove once the pandemic dies down. They are a very hardworking group of individuals and will continue to bring the hype to every event they go to after the pandemic is over.
Hi! My name is Mary. I’m the engagement editor for The Mycenaean. I am a member of the Leesville Symphonic Band and I have 3 dogs!