Jun 04, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles Laker Drumline made its debut to the community at last week’s Memorial Day parade, as more than 20 students from grades seven through 12 put on a show during the march that garnered much applause along the parade route.
The drumline consisted of 13 drummers, nine dancers with sparkling blue and gold pom-poms and four banner carriers.
“These kids worked really hard for this. We’re very pleased and excited for the village to see them,” said the new high school band director and drumline creator, Maureen Van Vechten. “The most exciting thing about this is that it is our kickoff. Next year we want to perform during more school and sporting events and really rev this thing up.”
Van Vechten, who succeeded retiring band director Angelo Candelo this year, came from the Morrisville school district, where she also started a drumline.
“The intent is to create a unique and interesting additional musical opportunity for any students who want to participate, including those not in the music program,” Van Vechten said. “The group rehearses as a concert percussion ensemble during the fall and winter, changing gears into a marching percussion unit for the Memorial Day in the spring.”
Creation of the new drumline in Skaneateles was a combination effort between the school district, the Skaneateles Central Schools Music Boosters and the Skaneateles Music Guild.
The guild and the boosters together raised approximately $5,000 through various fundraisers, which was used to purchase most of the drums (snare, bass and tenor), halters, covers, music stands and other equipment used by the students, said Kim Driscoll, president of the Skaneateles Music Guild.
Both the guild and the boosters are comprised of community members seeking to support and help the school music programs, teachers and students through fundraising, donations and public awareness efforts.
“The Music Boosters are so excited to see such an energetic, enthusiastic bunch of students participate in the drum line,” said Ellen Smith, co-president of the Skaneateles Music Boosters. “The students have been rehearsing all year after school and in the evenings to prepare for the Memorial Day parade, memorizing music and learning marching techniques.”
Van Vechten, who has been impressed and thankful by the support of the district, the music guild and the boosters for the new drumline program said, “This could never happen in every school district.”
Patti Carey, a member of the Skaneateles Music Guild on hand to watch the parade and the drumline, said, “Memorial Day is a beautiful ceremony and we are really proud of our drumline, which we think will add a lot to the entire day.”
“It was nice to see the young dancers as well as the instrumentalists showing their talents and skills,” Smith said. “I had pride in my heart for our school and for the community while watching. I thank Ms. VanVechten and the students for that.”
Lt. Col. Brad McLennan, second vice commander of the Skaneateles American Legion and organizer of the Memorial Day exercises, complimented the drumline and its new director at the end of the parade ceremonies on Monday, saying Van Vechten “did a great job, especially for her first parade.”
The new drumline will not practice during the summer because so many of the students have family and summer commitments, Van Vechten said. They will start back up in the fall with plans to perform at school functions, pep rallies and sporting events. The hope is to increase participation next year. “There’s really no limit to how much we can grow,” she said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.