Orting drum line got its bang from Woodstick

Staff writerNovember 22, 2013 

The drum line at Orting High School used to be in pretty sorry shape.

“Cracked rims, bolts flying off,” band director Aaron Ruff said. “I think there were wooden block inserts that the shop class made to hold one of the drums together.”

The students played the best they could on the equipment they had until last year, when they got a new set of donated drums. That was a game changer, Ruff said.

“It instills a sense of pride in what we do,” he said.

The drum line will show off its skills on the new equipment Sunday at the event that made it possible — Woodstick. The Western Washington gathering of drummers, which eight years ago broke a world record for synchronized drumming, raised funds last year for Crime Stoppers’ GROOVE Music for Youth, which donated the musical equipment to the Orting school.

To set the record in 2005, 533 drummers played in unison at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (Qwest Field at the time). A British charity broke that record last year when 798 drummers gathered in Manchester, England. Sunday’s record attempt will take place at the Emerald Queen Casino, which is donating its ballroom for the effort.

Orting High — one of three schools that have gotten donations from Crime Stoppers — received $15,000 for its new equipment.

“They saw the boxes rolling in and weren’t really sure what was going on,” Ruff said. “There were tears. That sense of being humbled at being given a gift that’s really special.”

Senior Austin Lucas said more students can play now that they have more gear. The group has 15 to 25 students.

“When we found out, my jaw just kind of dropped,” Lucas said of the new equipment. “The difference between the old stuff and the new stuff, it was tremendous.”

And the first time they tried them out?

“They were just beaming,” Ruff said.


What: 11th annual Woodstick Big Beat 2013.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday; doors will open at 10 a.m.

Where: Emerald Queen Casino ballroom, 2024 E. 29th St, Tacoma. Children are welcome.

Cost: $15 to participate; $10 to watch.

More information: 425-747-6145, www.bennettdrums.com.

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