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High school percussion, where do we drum from here?

Evansville high school students interested in percussion or those who want to play the drums are very fortunate to live in an area where music programs are still part of the public school system. Young drummers have the opportunity to perform in the drumline for marching band, indoor percussion ensembles, and various wind and concert bands. While in high school these ensembles can consume every second of a young performer's life, but what happens after high school?

In Evansville, a student wishing to pursue percussion performance as a college major has a very short list to choose from if they would like to stay in Evansville. Our city only has one University that offers music performance and allows a student to major in percussion. While the University of Evansville offers an excellent program the school's tuition could prevent a large number of would-be percussion majors from continuing to grow as musicians. In Evansville there is no other option for full-time music study. The University of Southern Indiana offers no percussion major and has little offerings in single courses for general music or music history.

If a member of an area drumline wishes to continue performing, learning, and growing as a musician he or she would have a difficult time locating college level or independent ensembles. In Evansville there are no college marching bands. No university football teams mean no university marching bands. While many college bands are largely a social function for students many percussionists have the opportunity to perform competitively in national drumming contests.

One tiny ray of hope in the entire city is the University of Evansville Drumline. While still in its infancy the group performs at university and non-university events. While there is no competition the ensemble provides an outlet for those students who were part of the drumline in high school.

It is sad to say that the reason for lack of opportunity is lack of students interested in general percussion, rudimental drumming, and even learning the drum set with any degree of professionalism and integrity.

On two separate occasions a drum corps has attempted to thrive in Evansville. Formed in 1980, Imperial Guard was active for three years but ceased operation before the 1984 season because of low membership. In 2005 Hypnotix Drum and Bugle Corps  began with great support from the city and the local media but never fielded a corps.

Where else can you go?

Your options are, again, very limited for percussion. I2 was an indoor percussion ensemble in Indianapolis but within the last few years also ceased operation. There are several drum and percussion units farther north if you don't mind the three, four, or five hour drive. Kentucky has very few options with the closest indoor drumlines hailing from Lexington and Bowling Green.

Sadly, unless you attend a larger Indiana, Illinois, or Kentucky university or you drive to six or more hours for a drum and bugle corps you will need to find a drum circle and work on your hand drumming or polish your drum set skills in the Evansville music scene. In either situation your passion may only be an infrequent hobby.

If you would like more information on indoor percussion ensembles near you use the "unit search" on WGI.org 


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