With finals finally done and turned in, I am back to writing! Now to get back to business. This next article is dedicated to all of my high school drum line teachers. My band instructors may have been amazing, but my drum teachers deserve just as much credit for creating a family environment and instilling discipline within us drummers.
I will begin in freshman year with the man most people disliked because his methods were rather ridiculous, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy him at times. Frank (insert last name that starts with an O) was one heck of a drum line instructor. He was stern and kept you in check. I don’t remember many laid back moments except for when he couldn’t remember my name. The most common nicknames were Steve (which is kind of close) and Jimmy. I have no idea where he pulled Jimmy from, but it seemed to stick in his head and I couldn’t care less about the name. I thought it was pretty funny actually.
There are two moments I remember very vividly of his presence within the drum line. The first one happened on the day of our BIG rival football game with the cross town Liberty Hurricanes. We were playing the National Anthem with the other band and I crashed my cymbals on the wrong beat. Well… let me tell you… you do not want to be on his bad side. I ended up there and in front of everyone he told me to do something like 30 push-ups. Of course, I looked at my band teacher who said don’t do it, but then I looked back at Frank and I immediately went down and did my push ups. I think it was his intimidation factor that made me do it more than anything. Right after I was done, he made the whole line do it while me and everyone else in the gym just looked on.
There was also the time when the band went to Disney World and I asked him what his reaction would be if I switched over to the tuba and well, that was the wrong question for me to ask because he didn’t even look me in the eye but simply said, “You are no longer a part of this line and will never be allowed back if you switch.” I don’t think he liked me very much from that point on. To sum him up, he was a heck of a teacher. He really churned a lot of people's gears, but he left me with some funny and memorable moments that I can look back on.
Now for my four favorite drum instructors. Rob, Matt Stephen, Chris DeRemer, and Dan Chianese.
Rob (Self Defense Master)
The only thing I remember about this guy was when he came on a band bus with us the one day and talked about some really extreme self-defense and I just remembered being so worried when he picked me to be his display dummy. He talked about being calm and… well… I won’t make any of you puke by describing it in detail. The short and sweet PG version involves breaking bones and twisting limbs. So yeah. He was one awesome guy to talk to though and he lived right next door to Frank so when he wrecked Frank’s house after our rival game I remember a few of us were actually terrified that he would come out and chase us. Good times…
Matt Stephen (AKA Cymbal God or Master…I don’t really remember)
First off, I’d like to apologize on behalf of all the cymbal players for constantly stealing your stuff and hiding it on top of the doorway that led to the band room. We all really missed you and felt horrible about everything even though it was pretty funny. At least it made some great memories…for us cymbal players at least. You were one heck of a guy and teacher though. Your cymbal tricks and flips were on point. Too bad I was a weakling and couldn’t achieve more than half the stuff you taught me. I also never could keep my elbows from flaring out on the flips. I’m weird. We all came to realize that quite quickly.
Chris DeRemer (Mr. Dreamer… I hope this is right, haha) and Siobhan (Baking Goddess)
Chris. The man, the master, the dreamer, the remixer. You were awesome. If I am correct, you came and started teaching the line in my sophomore year which was back in 2010. Let's all feel really old for a minute there. You really knew your stuff though and were always on your A game. You weren’t like Frank, but that’s a really good thing. Honestly, there are so many memories of you in my head but for some odd reason the one that sticks out the most has to deal with us almost denting your brand new Prius. It was either Justin Agren or Matt Ashton that had lobbed the ball up in the air and someone missed it and I just remember everyone staring at the ball as it slammed into the curb, mer inches from the door and it miraculously bounced straight over the roof of your car and rolled away. I swear, that car of yours had some sort of invisible force field around it because that was incredible. It is probably the most memorable because of how scared everyone was for that split second and then the surprise and laughter that came right after it.
Who could forget your wonderful wife. Siobhan, you were secretly everyone’s favorite because we knew that just about every time you made an appearance it meant that you brought us a treat. The best part is that the treats were always amazing. Chris got everyone’s seal of approval straight away. You were so sweet and energetic and always made practice and the football guys so much more exciting. By the way, your Snapchats are hilarious and that cat of yours is amazing. It just doesn’t seem to care what you do to it with all those Snapchat filters.
Dan Chianese (Coffee King)
Last but certainly not least, Mr. Chianese. I know you said you wanted all of us to call you Dan after we graduated, but it is still as weird as attempting to call Moran, Mike. It just doesn’t flow right off the tongue. You could be compared to Frank in terms of sternness and instilling discipline, but you were much better at teaching it than Frank was. You made the environment open and friendly while getting us to understand how to act during certain moments, to keep our chins up, and to stand tall. You were really an incredible teacher. The best moment I would say that I have of you (besides our last game together) would have to be during the Freedom vs. Emmaus game which was in my senior year of high school. It was the ridiculous game with the streaker at halftime and since Moran wasn’t there you figured it was a good idea to go over and play for the opposite school’s Riot Squad. Let me tell you, I was hyped up for about 5 minutes and then I as terrified for the rest of those moments. Especially when one of the coaches from Emmaus grabbed my bass drum, swung me around like a rag doll, looked me in the eye and said, “Get the f**k off our side of the field!”. I probably could have reported him for that, but looking back now it is all in good memories. The fear and laughter made it for one heck of a moment in time.
Just as a little thank you, I did this before on a Facebook post, but I want to thank you for being one incredible leader and mentor. Without a father in my life for a majority of my life, I looked towards certain individuals as that stand in figure. You happened to be one of those individuals and I have so much to thank you for. You really opened me up during my senior year and it made me who I am today. Your determination and strong will to keep fighting is what really drives me to do well in school and in life. Keep going, you’ve got a lot of memories to make with your family and friends ahead of you. From all of us that got to know you in the drum line, even from years past, we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the memories and for everything you helped us with and did for us. You were incredible. As you would always tell us before going onto the field, "You don't win a war by dying for your country, you win a war by making the other idiots die for their country!"