Lakewood Ranch Herald

Ranch drum line finds its rhythm

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Ryan Ehresman was in his third-period economics class Monday, lost in a supply-and-demand worksheet. The diagonal line didn't interest him.

"It was really boring," the senior said, "but I was thinking, ‘It's a good thing I have a fun class coming up.’ ”

In the words of American singer and songwriter Todd Rundgren, Ehresman didn't want to work, he's just wanted to bang on the drums all day. At 12:30 p.m., that's what he did.

Percussion class was in session as 32 members of the Lakewood Ranch drum line banged on various bass drums, snares, tenors, mallets, cymbals, pianos, bass guitars, tom-toms, drum sets, and timpani in harmony.

Harmony hasn't been easy to come by for the Mustangs' drum line this year. In late August, before their season began, four-year percussion leader and assistant band teacher Ron Lambert left Lakewood Ranch and became the band director at Southeast High School.

"That kind of hurt us," said Brittanny McCourt.

The drum line lost more than the spine that kept its rhythm intact.

Some drum line members said Lambert was a friend, someone who would often take them to dinner following a practice. "They don't call him Mr. Lambert," said band director Bob Schaer. "They call him Ron."

"It's been rough," said Ehresman, "but we're working it out."

The drum line has made dodue with three percussion instructors rotating during practices: There's Schaer; Barry Canfield, who comes for Wednesday and Thursday practices from Bayside High School on the east coast, near Melbourne; and Fred Smith, who writes movie scores in Los Angeles, graduated from Berkeley School of Music, and scripts the Lakewood Ranch drum line technique book and the percussion music for The Show, which the band performs at halftime during football games.

Schaer's son Rob lives in Los Angeles, which is part of the reason Schaer got in contact with Smith. Rob writes the music for “The Show.”

"I said, ‘We're not gonna find another Lambert,’ ” Schaer said, "but we will find world-class people."

Apparently, Schaer did.

The drum line has overcome the varying techniques that each instructor sometimes presents. Schaer said the instructors will consult each other on such varying technique before deciding on the one that will be taught, such as drumming solely with a loose wrist.

But these Lakewood Ranch percussionists have tried not to focus too much on the slight confusions. For them, it's all about the escape of the music, and being able to march onto a field, put on “The Show,” and sometimes stage drumming events with the other school on the opposite side of the field.

It's about getting away from the supply and demand line, and getting into the passion of percussion.

"Music in general," Ehresman said, "it's so complex. It's a feeling you get from moving with a marching band. Being up front, I can feel the bass in my chest. I feel the impact."

If you goCrowder Bros. Ace Hardware & Crowder’s Gifts & Gadgets, 2401 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, hosts the Lakewood Ranch High School Drum Line 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. SaturdayOct. 11. Hotdogs and refreshments will be sold. All donations will go to support the Lakewood Ranch High School Marching Band.