Drumline program offers students a place to excel

Community Oct 28, 2016 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

In the cafetorium at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, students push back tables to clear a space, then rush out of the room, returning with snares, bass drums, cymbals and music stands.

The instructor tells the students to line up the set – drumline practice is about to begin.

Once the line is set up, they have a quick group meeting and determine that the “quadline” section (made up of tenor drums) was there in full force but a part of the “bassline” was missing.

Afterward, the 12 drummers and cymbal players who attended rehearsal last Wednesday, lined up behind their drums and the lead tenor drummer tapped off the rest of the line to signal the rest to get ready. The noise the group the percussionists make is deafening and the drummers all have their earplugs in.

This is the St. Mary Secondary School Marching Arts Drumline and they pound with passion.

“It helps me to meet new people and make all sorts of friends so it’s been a great community building activity,” said 17-year-old Carlisle resident Cole Chalupka.

He has been a part of the group since Grade 9 and he said it has given him the confidence he said he otherwise wouldn’t have.

“It really kind of like teaches you a lot about yourself,” added the Grade 12 student.

For Corey Pearce, drumline instructor and Impact Percussion executive director, it is his purpose in life and as an instructor.

“It’s probably one of the greatest gifts to watch a kid, and there’s probably lots of kids that don’t stay with the program and you see them take different paths but there’s so many kids and there’s still kids that are attached to the St. Mary’s marching arts program,” he said.

Before every rehearsal, the group recites the Optimist Creed – a promise to always look for the good in themselves and in others, to be enthusiastic and to look on the sunny side of life.

“I do this seven days a week from September to June and people ask me ‘Why?’” Pearce said. “It’s because of these kids.”

Impact Percussion is a not-for-profit Hamilton-based educational program that teaches the love of music. Although the group works alongside the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and have built programs strictly for the schools, they also have community-based programs open to everyone.

Drumline has been a part of St. Mary’s for some time, but when the school teamed up with Impact a little over a year ago, the program moved to a whole new level. According to Pearce, a big part of the organization’s success is the support it has from the HWCDSB.

“They (the school board) have helped us with space to run events, practise and store equipment, they have also recommended students for our programs that can benefit for the service we provide our community,” Pearce said in a follow up email.

“I have never see two organizations work together selflessly to help each other and work together to grow and provide opportunities for each other.”

While drumline has been a part of Hamilton’s makeup for years, in recent years, there became a big push to get schools involved.

“The reason I do it and the reason who’s in Impact does it is because we benefited as kids and we found a place to belong and a place to excel and a place to do things,” Pearce said.

As the teens practise, they are engaged and focused. The drumming instructor notes the passion they display make his job worth it.

Impact Percussion was started six years ago and now offers five programs.

Impact 2 is geared towards Grades 3, 4 and 5 students and teaches drumming basics. St. Mary’s Cadets is for Grades 6, 7 and 8 students and builds off the skills they learned in Impact 2. They also get to compete and perform with the St. Mary Marching Arts ensembles. Once drummers reach high school, the St. Mary Marching Arts or Icon Percussion programs are available. Icon started this year and is for drummers ages 14-21. They compete in contests in Ontario, New York State and at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships. Once drummers have enough experience, they may join Impact Entertainment. The group, started 2010, is the official drumline for Hamilton Bulldogs and performs in music videos, parades, charity events and award shows – including the Much Music Video Awards (MMVAs).

For 10-year-old Josh Finlay, a Waterdown resident and student at Guardian Angels, the group offered a chance to be a part of something and to be himself. As a bit of a comedian (he wants to be the next Jim Carrey), drumline is a place to perform and to feel good about who he is. Finlay also knows how hard it is as he needs to carry a heavy drum.

“It’s like carrying a little man on your chest,” he said.

Finlay, now in the Cadet program, said he started because his mom thought it might be fun for him to try. “When I joined, there are so many nice people, I just decided to stay around for another year,” he said.

“You can be loud, so many nice people, you know, it’s just fun. It’s physical,” he added.

Pearce said the St. Mary Cadet program aims to is help students have a smooth transition into high school. The high school drummers pair up with the younger members and teach them as they go along.

“High school is kind of a scary thing, but when you’ve already got lots of friends in high school and you’re there all the time, it’s an easier transition to the big fish pond,” he said.

What makes drumline unique among the programs offered in high school is that it attracts students who otherwise may not be interested in joining teams or clubs.

St. Mary principal Michael Gravina has seen first-hand the changes in his pupils.

“They feel excited about attending those drumline practices, because their practices are rigorous. They’re here quite often and so they now have a place to go after school. They have a place to communicate with some friends that they know or just met through the drumline so it really is about them feeling that sense of belonging.”

Along with Pearce, Gravina knows that if students are engaged in some kind of extra-curricular activity, they will do better in school and drumline has given those involved a sense of pride. “Not all students are athletes. It was really a great way for students to be involved in a different way,” he said.

Chalupka, who plays with both the St. Mary’s drumline and the Icon and Entertainment groups, said it’s the higher level of drumming and energy that keeps him coming back. Since he started, the Carlisle resident has performed in the United States and has gone to American training camps. He believes that if he hadn’t joined the groups when he first came to high school, he wouldn’t be as social as he is now. “It really teaches you how to interact with people and, yeah, I just think I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t done it,” he said.

For more information on Impact Percussion or to join, visit www.impactpercussion.ca.

Drumline program offers students a place to excel

Community Oct 28, 2016 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

In the cafetorium at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, students push back tables to clear a space, then rush out of the room, returning with snares, bass drums, cymbals and music stands.

The instructor tells the students to line up the set – drumline practice is about to begin.

Once the line is set up, they have a quick group meeting and determine that the “quadline” section (made up of tenor drums) was there in full force but a part of the “bassline” was missing.

Afterward, the 12 drummers and cymbal players who attended rehearsal last Wednesday, lined up behind their drums and the lead tenor drummer tapped off the rest of the line to signal the rest to get ready. The noise the group the percussionists make is deafening and the drummers all have their earplugs in.

This is the St. Mary Secondary School Marching Arts Drumline and they pound with passion.

“It helps me to meet new people and make all sorts of friends so it’s been a great community building activity,” said 17-year-old Carlisle resident Cole Chalupka.

He has been a part of the group since Grade 9 and he said it has given him the confidence he said he otherwise wouldn’t have.

“It really kind of like teaches you a lot about yourself,” added the Grade 12 student.

For Corey Pearce, drumline instructor and Impact Percussion executive director, it is his purpose in life and as an instructor.

“It’s probably one of the greatest gifts to watch a kid, and there’s probably lots of kids that don’t stay with the program and you see them take different paths but there’s so many kids and there’s still kids that are attached to the St. Mary’s marching arts program,” he said.

Before every rehearsal, the group recites the Optimist Creed – a promise to always look for the good in themselves and in others, to be enthusiastic and to look on the sunny side of life.

“I do this seven days a week from September to June and people ask me ‘Why?’” Pearce said. “It’s because of these kids.”

Impact Percussion is a not-for-profit Hamilton-based educational program that teaches the love of music. Although the group works alongside the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and have built programs strictly for the schools, they also have community-based programs open to everyone.

Drumline has been a part of St. Mary’s for some time, but when the school teamed up with Impact a little over a year ago, the program moved to a whole new level. According to Pearce, a big part of the organization’s success is the support it has from the HWCDSB.

“They (the school board) have helped us with space to run events, practise and store equipment, they have also recommended students for our programs that can benefit for the service we provide our community,” Pearce said in a follow up email.

“I have never see two organizations work together selflessly to help each other and work together to grow and provide opportunities for each other.”

While drumline has been a part of Hamilton’s makeup for years, in recent years, there became a big push to get schools involved.

“The reason I do it and the reason who’s in Impact does it is because we benefited as kids and we found a place to belong and a place to excel and a place to do things,” Pearce said.

As the teens practise, they are engaged and focused. The drumming instructor notes the passion they display make his job worth it.

Impact Percussion was started six years ago and now offers five programs.

Impact 2 is geared towards Grades 3, 4 and 5 students and teaches drumming basics. St. Mary’s Cadets is for Grades 6, 7 and 8 students and builds off the skills they learned in Impact 2. They also get to compete and perform with the St. Mary Marching Arts ensembles. Once drummers reach high school, the St. Mary Marching Arts or Icon Percussion programs are available. Icon started this year and is for drummers ages 14-21. They compete in contests in Ontario, New York State and at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships. Once drummers have enough experience, they may join Impact Entertainment. The group, started 2010, is the official drumline for Hamilton Bulldogs and performs in music videos, parades, charity events and award shows – including the Much Music Video Awards (MMVAs).

For 10-year-old Josh Finlay, a Waterdown resident and student at Guardian Angels, the group offered a chance to be a part of something and to be himself. As a bit of a comedian (he wants to be the next Jim Carrey), drumline is a place to perform and to feel good about who he is. Finlay also knows how hard it is as he needs to carry a heavy drum.

“It’s like carrying a little man on your chest,” he said.

Finlay, now in the Cadet program, said he started because his mom thought it might be fun for him to try. “When I joined, there are so many nice people, I just decided to stay around for another year,” he said.

“You can be loud, so many nice people, you know, it’s just fun. It’s physical,” he added.

Pearce said the St. Mary Cadet program aims to is help students have a smooth transition into high school. The high school drummers pair up with the younger members and teach them as they go along.

“High school is kind of a scary thing, but when you’ve already got lots of friends in high school and you’re there all the time, it’s an easier transition to the big fish pond,” he said.

What makes drumline unique among the programs offered in high school is that it attracts students who otherwise may not be interested in joining teams or clubs.

St. Mary principal Michael Gravina has seen first-hand the changes in his pupils.

“They feel excited about attending those drumline practices, because their practices are rigorous. They’re here quite often and so they now have a place to go after school. They have a place to communicate with some friends that they know or just met through the drumline so it really is about them feeling that sense of belonging.”

Along with Pearce, Gravina knows that if students are engaged in some kind of extra-curricular activity, they will do better in school and drumline has given those involved a sense of pride. “Not all students are athletes. It was really a great way for students to be involved in a different way,” he said.

Chalupka, who plays with both the St. Mary’s drumline and the Icon and Entertainment groups, said it’s the higher level of drumming and energy that keeps him coming back. Since he started, the Carlisle resident has performed in the United States and has gone to American training camps. He believes that if he hadn’t joined the groups when he first came to high school, he wouldn’t be as social as he is now. “It really teaches you how to interact with people and, yeah, I just think I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t done it,” he said.

For more information on Impact Percussion or to join, visit www.impactpercussion.ca.

Drumline program offers students a place to excel

Community Oct 28, 2016 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

In the cafetorium at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, students push back tables to clear a space, then rush out of the room, returning with snares, bass drums, cymbals and music stands.

The instructor tells the students to line up the set – drumline practice is about to begin.

Once the line is set up, they have a quick group meeting and determine that the “quadline” section (made up of tenor drums) was there in full force but a part of the “bassline” was missing.

Afterward, the 12 drummers and cymbal players who attended rehearsal last Wednesday, lined up behind their drums and the lead tenor drummer tapped off the rest of the line to signal the rest to get ready. The noise the group the percussionists make is deafening and the drummers all have their earplugs in.

This is the St. Mary Secondary School Marching Arts Drumline and they pound with passion.

“It helps me to meet new people and make all sorts of friends so it’s been a great community building activity,” said 17-year-old Carlisle resident Cole Chalupka.

He has been a part of the group since Grade 9 and he said it has given him the confidence he said he otherwise wouldn’t have.

“It really kind of like teaches you a lot about yourself,” added the Grade 12 student.

For Corey Pearce, drumline instructor and Impact Percussion executive director, it is his purpose in life and as an instructor.

“It’s probably one of the greatest gifts to watch a kid, and there’s probably lots of kids that don’t stay with the program and you see them take different paths but there’s so many kids and there’s still kids that are attached to the St. Mary’s marching arts program,” he said.

Before every rehearsal, the group recites the Optimist Creed – a promise to always look for the good in themselves and in others, to be enthusiastic and to look on the sunny side of life.

“I do this seven days a week from September to June and people ask me ‘Why?’” Pearce said. “It’s because of these kids.”

Impact Percussion is a not-for-profit Hamilton-based educational program that teaches the love of music. Although the group works alongside the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and have built programs strictly for the schools, they also have community-based programs open to everyone.

Drumline has been a part of St. Mary’s for some time, but when the school teamed up with Impact a little over a year ago, the program moved to a whole new level. According to Pearce, a big part of the organization’s success is the support it has from the HWCDSB.

“They (the school board) have helped us with space to run events, practise and store equipment, they have also recommended students for our programs that can benefit for the service we provide our community,” Pearce said in a follow up email.

“I have never see two organizations work together selflessly to help each other and work together to grow and provide opportunities for each other.”

While drumline has been a part of Hamilton’s makeup for years, in recent years, there became a big push to get schools involved.

“The reason I do it and the reason who’s in Impact does it is because we benefited as kids and we found a place to belong and a place to excel and a place to do things,” Pearce said.

As the teens practise, they are engaged and focused. The drumming instructor notes the passion they display make his job worth it.

Impact Percussion was started six years ago and now offers five programs.

Impact 2 is geared towards Grades 3, 4 and 5 students and teaches drumming basics. St. Mary’s Cadets is for Grades 6, 7 and 8 students and builds off the skills they learned in Impact 2. They also get to compete and perform with the St. Mary Marching Arts ensembles. Once drummers reach high school, the St. Mary Marching Arts or Icon Percussion programs are available. Icon started this year and is for drummers ages 14-21. They compete in contests in Ontario, New York State and at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships. Once drummers have enough experience, they may join Impact Entertainment. The group, started 2010, is the official drumline for Hamilton Bulldogs and performs in music videos, parades, charity events and award shows – including the Much Music Video Awards (MMVAs).

For 10-year-old Josh Finlay, a Waterdown resident and student at Guardian Angels, the group offered a chance to be a part of something and to be himself. As a bit of a comedian (he wants to be the next Jim Carrey), drumline is a place to perform and to feel good about who he is. Finlay also knows how hard it is as he needs to carry a heavy drum.

“It’s like carrying a little man on your chest,” he said.

Finlay, now in the Cadet program, said he started because his mom thought it might be fun for him to try. “When I joined, there are so many nice people, I just decided to stay around for another year,” he said.

“You can be loud, so many nice people, you know, it’s just fun. It’s physical,” he added.

Pearce said the St. Mary Cadet program aims to is help students have a smooth transition into high school. The high school drummers pair up with the younger members and teach them as they go along.

“High school is kind of a scary thing, but when you’ve already got lots of friends in high school and you’re there all the time, it’s an easier transition to the big fish pond,” he said.

What makes drumline unique among the programs offered in high school is that it attracts students who otherwise may not be interested in joining teams or clubs.

St. Mary principal Michael Gravina has seen first-hand the changes in his pupils.

“They feel excited about attending those drumline practices, because their practices are rigorous. They’re here quite often and so they now have a place to go after school. They have a place to communicate with some friends that they know or just met through the drumline so it really is about them feeling that sense of belonging.”

Along with Pearce, Gravina knows that if students are engaged in some kind of extra-curricular activity, they will do better in school and drumline has given those involved a sense of pride. “Not all students are athletes. It was really a great way for students to be involved in a different way,” he said.

Chalupka, who plays with both the St. Mary’s drumline and the Icon and Entertainment groups, said it’s the higher level of drumming and energy that keeps him coming back. Since he started, the Carlisle resident has performed in the United States and has gone to American training camps. He believes that if he hadn’t joined the groups when he first came to high school, he wouldn’t be as social as he is now. “It really teaches you how to interact with people and, yeah, I just think I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t done it,” he said.

For more information on Impact Percussion or to join, visit www.impactpercussion.ca.