LCHS dedicated drummers refine their rhythm

  • LEFT: Nicholas Bryant skillfully keeps the beat for the LCHS Band of Gold. RIGHT: Jackson Knepper has worked hard to perfect his percussion based craft.
    LEFT: Nicholas Bryant skillfully keeps the beat for the LCHS Band of Gold. RIGHT: Jackson Knepper has worked hard to perfect his percussion based craft.
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While summer vacation is all about relaxing for most students, for two of the LCHS Band of Gold’s finest percussionists, there was very little relaxing to be had this past summer.
“[Nicholas Bryant], left the week before school got out and came back like a week after school started, was never at home that entire time,” Carrie Bryant, Nicholas’s mom said.
The two, Bryant and Jackson Knepper, auditioned and made it onto honor marching band drum corps groups that performed across the country, allowing them to play with the very best marching band students in the nation in front of large crowds at some of the most reputable marching band competitions in America.
“It does feel pretty awesome to actually be in a competition and really know that everyone there is there to watch your groups,” Knepper said.
Knepper played the quad, the tenor drums used in marching band drumlines, for the Hiram-based group Atlanta CV, which is a group that’s a part of the Drum Corps Associates (DCA).
“Jackson and his band slept on the floor of field house or gym floors every weekend during the summer tours,” said Jackson’s mom Angie Knepper. “They practiced nonstop usually putting in a 40 hour work week just in three days.”
Atlanta CV competed in several events during the summer including taking second place in open class competition at the Drum Corps Associates World Championship in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with a score of 96.150 for their production titled Of Gods and Goddesses.
“I basically spent most of my summer trying to perfect the same 12 minute show, which sounds kind of boring, but it was super fun and probably one of the most life-changing things I’ve done,” Knepper said.
Bryant played the marimba for the Music City Drum Corps, a group based in Nashville from the highest level of Drum Corps International (DCI).
“He’s the only student we’ve had in Lumpkin County ever to make a DCI group while in high school and he made it at 16 which is very rare, a big deal,” Carrie Bryant said.
With the Music City Drum Corps, Bryant traveled to over 15 states, playing shows in venues across the United States.
“We went all over the country, performed in the Alamo Dome, Mercedes Benz, Lucas Oil and a ton of other stadiums and played a really high level marching band show across the country,” Nicholas Bryant said. “It was just fun travelling around the country with my friends and just playing music with them.”
Both Bryant and Knepper mentioned that the highlight of their summers came in playing in their home state at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta during the DCI Southeastern Championship.
“We were on the field performing in [Mercedes Benz Stadium],” Knepper said. “They usually fill up almost an entire half of the stadium with audience members for your performances so it was really cool to be there. There were tons of people watching us, so it was like marching band extravaganza. It’s a good feeling, it helps you feel like the work I did paid off finally. It’s sort of humbling too, you look and are like ‘wow I started here and now I’m all the way here.’ It’s a good feeling to say the least, the work starts to pay off. I’m finally here.”
And both boys were able to make the most of the opportunity, learning and making the most of an experience that will help them individually, but also bring back something they can use to help their hometown LCHS Band of Gold.
“One of the biggest things I learned was work ethic,” Knepper said. “It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work to put on even a good high school show like our show this year and with Lumpkin County we’re trying to push and be more competitive, especially this year, so me coming back with the insane work ethic I got from the summer was very helpful and I feel like it helped me push the rest of the drumline people I’m directly around. My work ethic started to rub off on others and that’s probably the biggest thing I could bring back is the want to get better, the constant drive.”