So yesterday evening I had a lengthy chat with the drumline's director after I requested last year's sheet music for both the snare line and the bass line. His initial reaction was to tell me "I'm sorry Ben, both of these lines are full and then some. Plus I don't really know your drumming experience since you haven't gone the drum corps way. Do you know ruffs? Flams? Hybrid rudiments?". I took all of this in stride because I knew the quality of this drumline, and I knew what I was getting myself into.
Let's see. This drumline is jam-packed with DCI vets and instructors. And not only is the entire line-up from last year returning, we are five new guys coming in. One has his job cut out for him as he is the timpani player; he has to write his own parts and stuff. Another is already marching snares in Quebec's senior corps, so he easily gets that spot. The third is a guy who was marching snares when I was a kid and he was already OMGWTF awesome, and he never stopped drumming. He'll get a multi-tenor spot and I know he's up for that challenge. The forth guy is actually a bass guitar player but he's a long time friend of Wishmaster's leader who happens to be the drumline director's son. He'll be on the bass line. And then there's me.
So to break down the drumline by section: 9 snares, 5 basses, 4 multi-tenors, 1 timpani, and various cymbals. This right there is a full-sized competition drumline, with only the pit crew missing. So because of my unknown status I will be on the cymbal line, but knowing what I can do on drums I will be a damn solid cymbal player. You see, playing on a drumline isn't about the individual but the sum of all parts. A good example of this is the Santa Clara Vanguard cymbal line, who not only perform all kinds of crazy visuals (look up "SCV viper" on YouTube) but also play stuff that would challenge the best orchestra percussionists. Modern cymbal playing isn't about crashing every other quarter note in 4/4.
But even though I won't be on the snare line itself, I simply cannot pass on an opportunity like this. I will STILL get the snare parts and practice them for two reasons: 1- just in case, and 2- just because. I will also have a look at ALL the other parts; I do have to concentrate on getting my own part perfect but I welcome this challenge with open arms. One thing is certain, I will have an awesome amount of fun. I mean, how often does one drummer get to hang out with 20-25 other drummers, some of which have vast experience? I see nothing but good coming out of this :)