Drumline to compete in HEB Contest Sept. 18


Photo by Andie San Luis

Junior Jack Rossi practices with the drumline before school on Sept. 17. Rossi plays Bass 5, the largest bass drum, and is also the co-leader of the band’s media team.

The drumline will compete in the HEB Drumline Contest at 7:20 p.m. at Pennington Field on Sept. 18. This is their first competition of the 2021-22 season. 

“The percussion section always does a little more than what the full band does: we do [the marching show, a separate percussion] show and [extra] contests, so we have to prepare for that,” head percussion director Zach Houston said. “Even though we did [contests] last year, [we had] a minimal summer band and a less time-intensive drumline camp — you can tell that the kids are tired. They’re feeling it a little bit more than what they’re used to.”

The show will be performed in three different movements: an opener, ballad and closer. This year’s show is titled “Chaos Theory,” with music from Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 8,” “Requiem – Dies Irae” by Giuseppe Verdi and “Anitra’s Dance” by Edvard Grieg. 

“The music is aggressive — it’s not pretty, playful or anything like that,” Houston said. “It’s in your face. Historically, the drumline [show] has always been on the darker side of what music is. [Chaos theory is] the [same] concept of [the movie] “The Butterfly Effect.”

Hebron competes in the 6A Advanced category with other schools such as Coppell and Marcus. Last year, the drumline submitted one recording of their show to multiple virtual contests, leaving students with limited in-person performance and competitive experiences. 

“[This year] is definitely different in the sense that we’ve got a lot more time and less restrictions,” senior quad captain Parker Freeburg said. “[COVID-19] definitely isn’t over, we’re still in it, but it isn’t dominating our rehearsal schedule anymore. Things like social distancing aren’t [being implemented] anymore, so we can have more freedom.”

In addition to transitioning back to in-person contests, the drumline experienced a personnel change following the departure of previous assistant percussion director, Ben Koch. The new assistant percussion director, Dr. Adam Davis joined the staff during summer band and works with the front ensemble. 

Senior snare captain Hayden Schroder plays the opener during rehearsal on Sept. 17. Schroder has been on the snare line since freshman year and has also earned placements in the All-State Jazz Band. (Photo by Andie San Luis)

“Now that we have a completely new director leading the pit — Houston did it in past years — it’s definitely been a change, but it’s been a good change,” junior marimba section leader Dylan Khangsar said. “There’s [a difference] in how we practice and warm up, but it’s been beneficial for all of us. We’ve become more efficient and [play] more together.”

Since the original 2020-21 marching band show was reused for the 2021-22 season, percussionists had their marching music further in advance than usual. Normally, the full ensemble’s music is not finalized until some time around late September, but this year, students ended summer band with an opener and ballad in hand.

“In the past, it’s been easier in some ways to work on the drumline show in the early season, and as we get [marching] music, we filter it into rehearsal and work on that before the drumline contests,” Houston said. “After the Plano contest, we would work [primarily] on band music and just [focus on] the drumline music. This year, we’re [doing] both at the same time because we have the band music sooner — there’s no excuse to underplay that at rehearsal.”

Following HEB, the drumline will be attending the Plano Drumline Contest on Sept. 25 and the Lone Star Drumline Contest on Nov. 20. 

“[I hope to help] steer the drumline back to some sense of normalcy,” Freeburg said. “[Things] aren’t going to revert back to [exactly] what they were [pre-COVID-19], but trying to get us on a path of not letting it hinder our mind or our abilities [is the goal.]”