Student drumline to play in Roots and Blues

Award-winning A.L. Fortune Drumline kick off festival opening on Friday, Aug. 16

Barb Brouwer

Contributor

Hot-dog, hot-dog, curly fries, coke.

This is not a fast-food order, but a string of words that is turning some School District #83 students into accomplished drummers, who will perform at this year’s Roots & Blues Festival.

Under the direction of Michelle Reed, the A.L. Fortune Drumline that began four years ago with 14 students has grown to 50 enthusiastic members from Grades 8 through 12.

Music teacher and School District #83 vice-principal of music, Reed says students do not have to learn to read music in order to play the snare, tenor or bass drums used in the program.

Reed teaches by ear, saying a number of words to teach a certain rhythm. Very soon, the students are able to play the rhythm back to her on the drums.

“That’s a lot of the reason I can get kids so young playing so quickly,” says Reed, who believes the current generation needs motivation and quick success. “It gets them going right away and they’re hooked.”

Students know they have to do well in school if they want to be part of the performances, and recognition from their peers that they are part of a provincial award-winning team provides motivation too.

The first year, and after only a few months of practice, the drumline performed in provincial competition where students came in third in their category, earned a second-place finish in the following two years and took first place this year.

Reed says drumlines are becoming increasingly popular in schools across Canada and A.L. Fortune’s is the only one outside of the Lower Mainland.

“The kids are so attracted, in my opinion, because of their success,” Reed says. “And they’re hungry for being part of a team.”

Read more: Join the circus at Salmon Arm festival

Read more: Ruthie Foster brings her musical mastery to Roots and Blues

Read more: Salmon Arm Roots and Blues green initiative diverts truckloads of waste from landfill

As well, Reed says there is a huge potential for mentorship through the program. Older students are happy to go into the music room to help and will often take younger students into another room to practise their parts.

Because of the high number of participants, Reed has broken the performance lines into three groups, with many of the students clamouring to perform in more than one.

Reed and some 20 members of the drumline are excited to be performing at the Roots and Blues Festival.

They will kick off the opening of the main gates at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, and make an appearance before the mainstage launches at 6. On Saturday, they will make an appearance at the barn stage and will be an integral part of the Acuity Glow Parade that evening.

“They are super excited,” laughs Reed, noting about 20 of the more senior members of the drumline will perform. “A lot of these kids have never been to the festival, so for them to see it and be part of the entry is pretty big.”

The A.L. Fortune Drumline will also participate in a drumline battle with two other youth groups at this year’s Okanagan Military Tattoo, one from Alberta and the other from the U.K. The drumline has also been a feature of some Salmon Arm Silverbacks games.

Enthusiastic students have been rehearsing with Reed on their own time over the summer and, thanks to a $4,000 donation from the Enderby Lions Club, Reed can buy more drums so more kids can play in the future.

The school is hosting the Yamaha Sounds of Summer Drumline Camp, which is open to any School District #83 student 13 years and older.

The camp will run from Aug. 6 to 8. For more information, email mhoncoop@sd83.bc.ca.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Year-round training envisioned for Salmon Arm’s Rapattack base

Mayor hopes council’s support of Rapattack will pay off in longevity for base

Letter: Better fix needed than what’s proposed for Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Province already behind on widening of Trans-Canada Highway

Salmon Arm approved for worker based in Vernon to support homeless

While application to Ministry of Social Development gets nod, one to BC Housing denied

Column: Potentially valuable WorkSafeBC review let down by bias

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Boil water notice rescinded for Yard Creek Campground

Interior Health water testing shows acceptable levels of bacteria

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Okanagan Nation bringing overdose awareness to Syilx Okanagan communities

The Purple Ribbon Campaign for International Overdose Awareness Day is Aug. 28

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Most Read