Viking Drumline supports sports at Berry College

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

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Jameson Filston | CAMPUS CARRIER
The Viking Drumline leads the football team into Valhalla before the game against Centre College on Saturday.

Berry’s Viking Drumline has played at every large sporting event for the past five years and has supported numerous sports teams at events on campus.

The drumline is made up of 20 members and is led by John David, artist-in-residence and director of jazz and percussion studies. They practice twice a week and have around 30 performances per year. The drumline performs at many different sporting events, such as football, volleyball, lacrosse, softball and soccer. They also perform at student orientations, pep rallies and other community events.

David has led the drumline since its creation five years ago and hopes to continue to grow the program with more talented students. 

“We’ve brought in seven very talented freshmen this year,” David said. “We are open to anybody in the school. We’re always looking for people who can drum and who have an interest.”

David also designs every half-time performance that the drumline performs and teaches it to his students. He hopes that he can teach them life skills like teamwork and discipline, as well as drum-related skills through the activity. 

“They learn how to negotiate each other’s personalities and to work hard towards a goal,” David said. 

In addition, David teaches Viking Drumline members improvisation, African and Brazilian drumming vocabulary, drum core language and how to establish a drum groove.

“It’s quite a chorus actually,” David said. “Once you peel the layers back it’s not just drumline. It’s life, music and culture all wrapped up into one.”

David tries to keep the halftime show interesting and varied each week, which was especially difficult this season because Berry had three home football games back-to-back. The drumline played battery percussion the first week, trash cans the second week and steel drums this past week to increase the interest in the shows. 

“It’s just a process of coming up with new things each week and keeping it varied and also looking at the student talents and individual capabilities,” David said. “I try to use their abilities to the maximum.” 

Caroline Moore, a junior music performance major and first bass in the drumline, has participated in the drumline for three years. She said she has learned a lot about teamwork as a result of the activity and has enjoyed learning from David over the years as well. 

“He really pushes us because he knows that we can do so much, and we are capable of a lot of things,” Moore said. “Just a little bit of time can go a long way.”

Moore’s favorite part of the drumline is the people involved in the ensemble.

“We have so much fun on the sidelines,” Moore said. 

Lucas Hill, a sophomore music education major, plays cymbals on the drumline. He joined the Viking Drumline after his Percussion Methods class last semester and now enjoys being on the drumline greatly.

“It’s a different atmosphere than wind ensemble and orchestra,” Hill said. “They all have their own nuances to them, and drumline is a lot more casual ensemble. We just play fun stuff. We groove.”

Hill wants to be a band director, so he feels that learning in a more hands-on environment like drumline is the best experience to have. 

“Since JD [John David] is a master of percussion, I can definitely learn a lot from being on the drumline,” Hill said. 

David considers the group very successful, mixing both education and fun into the activity while having a very diverse set of music. David said that the drumline fits Berry’s culture very well and adds a musical enhancement which was not present before it was here. 

“I think we bring a level of excitement to each event,” David said. “We have a job here, but I think we manage to enjoy doing it, and also learn a lot while we are doing it.”

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