Drumline wins first at the Atlantic Indoor association event


Natalie Coburn

Thomas Jefferson’s Winter Drumline (TJDL) performs their show, CounteR, at Woodgrove High School. For the past winter, TJDL has choreographed and rehearsed their routine, always striving to improve with their instructors. “We work well with both of our body instructors; one focuses on movements without the drums, and one focus with the drums,” senior Ryan Payne said.

Ray Zhang, Staff Writer

By using time-efficient means of practice in rehearsals, Thomas Jefferson’s Winter Drumline (TJDL) placed first in their class at the Atlantic Indoor Association at Woodgrove High School. 

With a score of 77.45, TJDL’s show CounteR scored higher than Freedom High School’s and Chantilly High School’s shows, two other schools in their division. 

“Rehearsal technique is something we’re really good at,” senior Ryan Payne said. “We have very limited rehearsal time, so we always want to be spending that rehearsal time doing something.”

Still, the performance was not all that easy, and many TJDL members felt the pressure of performing in front of a large audience.

“I think a lot of people were nervous given it’s the first show of the season. A lot of people played faster than they thought during the first tempo change, so that threw us off,” senior Greg Byun said.

Nonetheless, the added nervousness of performing also contributed to the improvement of many parts. The cymbal section faced difficulties with their feature during rehearsals, but they were able to nail it during the performance.

“We have a cymbal feature at the end of part two and it has never hit in rehearsal, or even in sectionals, and it hit this time,” Byun said. 

Although TJDL only had one month to prepare after receiving their drill, many of the first-time members were able to excel at their parts. 

“I was nervous because, at the end of our first movement, I do this stick twirl in the air but if I dropped it, then it would have ended badly,” freshman Jesus Garcia-Ferrufino said. “That had me panicking, but it went well.”

Throughout the show, TJDL members found many parts particularly memorable.

“At the end of the first movement, we have this giant buildup, where the whole battery is in the middle of the floor, and we play louder and louder. Then we all bring our sticks up, and it’s a ghost note, which is where we bring our sticks right above the drum to make it look like we’re playing a note, but then we don’t hit the drum,” Payne said.

After being unable to continue drumline for the past school year due to COVID, TJDL faced challenges with resuming progress.

“We had to remember some of our exercises and remember what it means to play with a full group because it’s very different to play with the full drumline than to play on our own,” Payne said. “There’s also stuff about listening to other people that we had to remember and also marching technique, which is hard to practice on your own.”

Nevertheless, Payne attributes TJDL’s success this year to the prior experience many TJDL members have had in the past.

“Having our group be very senior-heavy has helped with that because we have previous experience to draw on,” Payne said. “There are some things that instructors can’t communicate as well as other students can because it’s a different perspective being an instructor than a marcher.”

At the end of the day, TJDL accredits its first performance to not just playing notes or performing but to sharing music with others.

“It’s just really special performing for other people and sharing your hard work with everyone else,” Garcia-Ferrufino said. “We know our music, and now it’s time to clean it up and make it sound amazing so that we can share it with other people.”