Band Leaders Q&A: Drum section

Lee Wright and Forrest Shea

Lee Wright and Forrest Shea are co-captains of the LSU Tiger Marching Band’s drumline. Wright, 23, of Seattle, Wash., is a senior general studies major. Shea, 19, of Shreveport, is a sophomore majoring in accounting. Both play snare drum.

Q: How many people are in your section?

A: Thirty-one, which includes all drums and percussion.

Q: What is the drumline’s contribution to the band?

A: Wright: We are probably the most important part of the band. We provide the beat and tempo, and sometimes when the band and percussion isn’t clicking, we bring everything back together. It’s not common that this happens, but the band will follow the drums when it does.

Shea: We’re the backbone of the band. We keep everything together.

Q: Do the drums have any traditions as a section?

A: Wright: It’s tradition for the drums to warm up by the Greek Theatre before marching to the stadium on game day. The fans will gather around and watch.

Both captains also tell the story of how the section’s upperclassmen give an assignment each week to the freshmen drummers.

“We tell them to dress up at practice on Thursdays,” Wright says. “We tell them what we want them to dress up as, and they come up with the costumes.”

“Once, we had a redneck country day,” Shea adds. “It was really funny to see what some of them came up with. It’s not something they have to do, but it’s something fun if they want to do it.”

Joshua Bluford

Joshua Bluford, 22, of Monroe, is the section leader of the Southern University Human Jukebox’s drumline. He is a senior majoring in computer information systems. He plays snare drum.

Q: How many people are in your section?

A: We have 30, and that includes all the percussion instruments.

Q: What is the drumline’s contribution to the band?

A: We’re the band’s heartbeat. We keep the beat and pace, as far as tempo goes.

Q: Do the drums have any traditions as a section?

A: We work really hard on our cadences. Our style is our tradition, and it’s one of the things that separates us from other bands. There is also a clarity in how we play, which also separates us. Sometimes, before the game, we’ll step outside the band hall and warm up as a section, and the fans will gather around and listen to us.

Bluford also describes the drum section’s family atmosphere.

“We all love playing in the band, but we’re also a family,” he says. “We look out for each other, and I know I’ll miss it when I leave.”

Robin Miller

romiller@theadvocate.com