Area drumlines bring the beats to BHS

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The drumlines all played a final performance together after each school had played individually. Pictured are, from left, (front) Western Reserve, Liberty, Austintown, Boardman, Champion; (back) Howland, Youngstown State University and McDonald. They all played a commonly used drumline cadence.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Austintown High School's drumline played fifth during the night. Band director Wes O'Connor said that drumline captains Zach Potkanowicz and Seth Welch decided what to play and the movements involved.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Boardman's drumline went on last. Director Thomas Ruggieri said he had almost no input in what the students did. He encouraged them to play what they wanted and to choreography their performance, but the students planned their own performance.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Parents, students and fans filled the stands in Boardman High School's gymnasium to watch the Boardman Drum Night on Oct. 2.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Western Reserve's drumline kicked off Boardman Drum Night on Oct. 2. The high schools of McDonald, Liberty, Champion, Austintown, Howland and Boardman also performed, as did Youngstown State University's drumline.


Boardman High School hosted its fifth annual Boardman Drum Night on Oct. 2 where eight drumlines, including Boardman and Austintown Fitch, all performed one after another.

The event featured drumlines from the high schools of Western Reserve, McDonald, Liberty, Champion, Austintown Fitch, Howland and Boardman. Youngstown State University’s drumline also performed.

Each band played different drumline cadences and choreographed movements to their performance. For example, some bands included bending motions while they played. Howland High School had a student circle around the band.

Thomas Ruggieri, director of Boardman Marching Band, said he had “almost no input“ into what the students did for their performance. He did say that he encouraged them to do more movements and to write their own music, but the students planned, wrote and choreographed the performance.

The Spartans swayed and marched at times during their performance. They used marimbas during their performance, which few other bands had done. Several band members switched instruments in the middle of the performance.

Austintown Fitch’s band director, Wes O’Connor, also did not coordinate his drumline’s performance at the event. He gave all credit to drumline captains Zach Potkanowicz and Seth Welch. He said he and percussion instructor Bill Gonda only spectate the event.

“As far as preparation for the Boardman Drum Night, our drumline captains decide what to play and the logistics of the performance,” O’Connor stated.

Before the event began, Austintown Fitch’s drumline practiced by beating rhythms on the tables and their legs. They danced while performing with some drummers jumping while playing. Their tenor drum player had solo during their presentation.

After each band performed individually, all the drummers strapped their drums back on and played together. Boardman instructed that they would start by playing a common drumline cadence, then each band would play their own variation on that cadence. Once each band had a chance to play the cadence, all they bands performed it together.

Some bands packed up or went to their band buses after the final performance, but others stayed and created a drum circle where the schools jammed together. The drumlines circled around a few players who would play a rhythm and the drum circle would repeat it.

Admission to the Drum Night was $2 dollars. The Boardman band sold cookies, food and refreshments, and they had a 50/50 raffle. All proceeds from the money raised went back to the band.

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