Fairs & Festivals

Drumline kinship: At fair, friendly competition emerges

MANATEE -- It’s not often the drumlines from Southeast High School and Lakewood Ranch High School play together.

But at the first Drumline Drumoff at the Manatee County Fair on Tuesday night, students from both schools gathered outside a white tent and matched one another beat for beat in an impromptu show.

“We are just here to have fun, for us as long as we are drumming we are having a good time,” said Southeast senior Jamar King, 17, drumline captain and tenor drummer. “We all support each other and whoever wins just gets bragging rights.”

King said he enjoyed the drumoff because it was, “very different than what we are used to, but good different.”

Different may have been an understatement, since the regular marching season is over the five drumlines that performed were all involved mainly out to have a good time.

“We want to give the schools a chance to shine,” said Ina Baden, one of the directors of the event. “Each school will get $200 at the end and the winner is chosen based on applause.”

Lakewood Ranch High School, who got the most applause, got an additional $300 for their school and a traveling trophy to keep until next year’s event.

“It feels amazing,” said freshman Ben Foster, 14, as he played his bass drum along with students from Southeast following their victory. “Next year we are going to come back and try to do it again.”

The other schools, Manatee High School and Bradenton Christian School were runners-up and participated in second drumoff with Lakewood to pick the winner after all three schools played against Southeast High and Bayshore High School.

Josh Knapko, of Bayshore High, considered his team the underdogs going into the event but was more proud of the fact that they competed strongly than anything else and said he was happy with the winners.

And that feeling of sportsmanship, or drum-ship in this case, was carried throughout the event largely because all the competitors are friends.

“I’ve known some of these guys since middle school,” said senior Xander Chawi, 17, drumline captain at Manatee High School. “Drumline is like one big family.”

Paradise Afshar, Herald reporter, can be contacted at 748-0411, ext. 7024.

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