The A.L. Fortune Senior Drumline was golden at the provincial drumline competition at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on May 3 capturing top spot in B.C.!
“We’re excited and thrilled,” commented teacher Michelle Reed about the award. “All of their hard work paid off.” She adds the students in both drumlines began working on their shows in September and have put in a ton of extra hours to really come together as teams.
Reed reports both the senior and junior drumlines took part in the provincial event against 11 ensembles with the seniors winning the Concert Class and the juniors finishing fifth, just .2 out of fourth, above all of the other junior ensembles and with the highest visual marks of all drumlines in their category!
“Our Junior Drumline has a lot to be proud of as well. They did great for such a young group in just their second year of playing!” adds Reed.
The provincial event is put on by the Canadian Drumline Association and this year’s judges were Michael Beauclerc from Toronto (Execution Analysis), Michael England from Edmonton (Music Effect) and Katie Badior (Visual Performance). Each drumline performs for a minimum of four minutes and all of the ensembles had memorized shows, she adds.
Reed explains the drumlines only had one chance to impress in the provincial competition, so being prepared for that moment was crucial. “Our drumlines also attended regionals in Victoria this year and applied the constructive feedback they received there to improved their shows significantly!”
She adds to enhance the visual effect of their performances, each of the drumlines selected a theme and wore a uniform/costume. “Our Junior show was called “X-Factor” because a lot of their visuals made ‘X’s’ so they chose a very simple uniform to enhance the stick work they were doing. “
“Our Senior show was called “Project Plaid” as the students selected to wear the vibrant plaid pants that they saw in the music video of one of the songs we performed an arrangement of. The pants were such a fun visual motivator for the students, that it eventually evolved into a complete “Nerd Look”! We added a matching bow tie, hats and the kids got 3D glasses and added the white tape to them to finish off the look. As always, both of our lines wore their signature Converse runners! The costume stood out at competition, and got a lot of laughs.”
She notes from a performance perspective, the costumes really helped the students loosen up and enjoy their performance with smiles on their faces. “They were able to think of themselves as ‘in character’ which is a really comforting option for teens in a high pressure performance setting.”
Reed commented this years’ competition had a completely different feel than in previous years. “There was a feeling of camaraderie among ensembles this year, a lot of cheering for each other as opposed to just being plain competitive.”
She added one of the highlights she will remember actually happened before the competition. “We ended up having to warm-up outside in the parking lot, which turned out to be one of the best parts actually. Our seniors were warming up when the students from Sardis Secondary arrived and came over to listen to our kids. There is one particularly difficult Bass section we do, and once our kids played that part, the Sardis kids began to cheer and clap as they KNEW how hard it was and were impressed.”
“This was honestly my favourite part of the competition, the look on our kids faces when they got those cheers was a memory I won’t forget. The reason this was so special is because our kids don’t have any audiences out here with Drumline experience to KNOW what they are actually achieving, so when the Sardis kids showed support and respect in that way, it made our kids just beam with pride.”
“It was one of those moments as a music teacher where you go Yep, all the extra hours were SO worth it!'”
Speaking of being the only drumline program in the area, Reed adds she is happy to report A.L. Fortune students are eager to help the new Pleasant Valley Secondary School Drumline get up and running this month!
“PVSS has just received their gear and are ready to join us in the awesome activity. Drumline is growing at a rapid pace here in BC and we are thrilled to be the centre of activity in the Okanagan-Shuswap.”
Want to see the award winning performances and help the drumline teams continue to grow? “We will be performing both shows at our year end concert on June 11th at 7 p.m. The Drumline program here at ALF is in its fourth year now and we have three Drumlines up and running, with interest from students to continue growing the program. We will be looking to raise funds for more drums very soon so we can accommodate the growth and scheduling aspects of such a program,” adds Reed.