Rural School Drummers Get Creative With Lack Of Funding

Wednesday, May 11th 2011, 8:39 pm
By: News 9

Jacqueline Sit, News9

MUHALL, Oklahoma -- Like many schools across the state, budget and program cuts are a long running problem, but one rural school is marching to the beat of a different kind of drum to keep their music alive.

With 100 students at Mulhall-Orlando Schools, there is no football team, but who needs one when you have a drumline like they do. From a few unlikely drummers plus a mix of trash cans and bar stools, the seven man drumline has been a big bang in the small town.

"It surprised us a lot of us that the rhythms that we didn't think would sound good together really did," said Zane Winkleman, who is in 8th grade drumline. "They think it's pretty awesome, although my mom is kind of annoyed because I wake her up."

With little money, the school couldn't afford equipment for the students.

"We tried to go ahead and buy the equipment and it's very expensive," said Vernon Vincent, band director.

So they settled for the next best thing.

"These get a perfectly good sound. It's different than a snare, but it works pretty well," Winkleman said.

Vincent cheers like a proud football coach on the sidelines after every song and every beat is music to his ears.

"I don't know how many schools have a program like this, if expense is a problem, but if you have a good instructor, it works out until you can get funding," Vincent said. "I know what they started like, just to see how they can play now, the incredible coordination. They are doing phenomenal things, and I just swell with pride."

The students said the drumline has taught them confidence since the program started less than two years ago, and to prove how successful it's been, they won a state contest just last month.

Vincent said their goal is to get a large drumline, eventually with all drums so they can perform in basketball games and parades in a few years.