Drumming Dreams

Band, News, Spotlight — By on January 25, 2016 6:20 pm

By Nick Leopold

Beckett Christensen

Beckett Christensen

If you walk through the fine arts hallway at Mount Vernon High School, you may be lucky enough to hear our band playing. Standing in the back would be a drummer, sophomore Beckett Christensen, working hard to maintain the speed and tempo. But Christensen puts much more time into drumming than just rehearsal with the band.

Music runs in the family for him; his dad, uncle, and grandpa were all fine musicians. Christensen says that he was born into drumming because of that. When he was three or four, Christensen was always fascinated by his father playing instruments in the house. “Dad would play music around the house and I would listen,” he said.

As a young kid, Christensen’s favorite group was the Beatles. They were always playing somewhere in the house and he loved listening to them. As he grew older, he took drumming more seriously. At the age of seven, middle school science teacher Susan Maurice gave him lessons on the drum kit. Each week for the next two years his lessons became more and more difficult, preparing him for high school band.

Eventually, freshman year came around, and Christensen focused even more on drumming. He is a part of the marching band and is drumline captain. His high school marching band course was twice every week for 2 hours a day.

Christensen’s favorite memory from his freshman year in high school band came on the last day. Kai Walberg, Martin Benesh, band director Bernie Moore, and Christensen played their instruments for almost two hours. “This felt nice because it was pretty much our goodbye message to Mr. Moore,” he said.

Drumline is a big commitment for Christensen. It is a four-day event where they practice for seven hours a day. He enjoys it, but with the enjoyment comes hard work.
“Sitting in my room for hours working on a drumline piece is very difficult but is relaxing to me,” he said. He is used to coming home from a long day at school and working at this for hours on end. He has a rough schedule throughout the school year. He won’t get home until 5 p.m., depending on the current sport he is playing, then has to finish homework from the day, and then will squeeze in as much drumming practice as he can.

“Drumline music is very hard, it’s different than our normal band,” he said. Drumline being separate from the normal band means that he needs that much more practice.
The drum teachers at the high school helping him are Brock Davenport and Joey Harkins. “They are very good at what they do. They have high expectations and that can make them pretty strict sometimes,” he said. The two teachers are very experienced and Christensen enjoys working with both of them.

Christensen gets pretty nervous when performing in front of a large audience. “If I have been working on the music a lot and then mess up during the performance I get angry with myself,” he said. He also gets nervous when he messes up during the piece because he thinks that somebody recognizes it in the audience.

Christensen’s drumming inspiration is Ginger Baker. “He is insane,” he said. He likes how Baker innovated a new style of drumming with two bass drums instead of one. He also likes how Baker is a jazz drummer.

Christensen has many dreams as a drummer that he will maintain working towards throughout his career. Whether or not he meets them, the friendships built, the lessons learned, and the memories made will never leave him.

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