Nine high school students form Henning School Drum Line

Photo by Chad Koenen
Members of the Henning Drum Line include: Demitri Beattie, Ava Eckhoff, Becca Frederick, Norah Froslee, Ally Hart, Jacob Menze, Steven Mills, Elin Smith and Cade Strege.

By Chad Koenen


The sounds of banging drums echoes through the hallways of Henning School each afternoon near the band room. Every once in a while you may get a sound of a bell or a symbol, but for the most part, the banging of drums keeps going steady for much of the latter part of the day.

For the first time, students at Henning School have been given the opportunity to join a drum line as part of an elective course at the school. The group has performed at halftime of a basketball game earlier this year and will be performing at the small group band contest later this spring. 

“It was actually their idea to perform (at halftime) and show what they have done,” said Henning School band teacher Ben Johnson, who added the drum line has also put a new twist on some of the more conventional pep band songs at the school. 

In its first year at Henning School, Johnson said the idea of starting the drum line came from Henning School Principal Thomas Williams, who pitched it to him as a potential elective. Williams said the school district is always looking at ways to increase elective options that appeal to students and keep them learning in the classrooms, as opposed to seeking elective classes online or out of the building. With a little bit of maneuvering of the schedules, Williams said drum line became a reality at the school as yet another unique elective.

He said the drum line could also fill a need in the future as students could perform prior to athletic events like a pep band, which can become a challenge as students become involved in a number of different activities throughout the school year. Drum line is also an activity that continues to grow in popularity across the country.

“Due to our student involvement in activities, and not having a pep band from time-to-time, a drum line would allow you to still have that interaction with your music group at an event,” said Williams. 

The drum line kicked off this fall with six freshmen members. Three seniors later joined the group as well. While the group focuses on drumming, ironically perhaps, a majority of the members of the group were not drummers when they started with the drum line. In fact, of the nine current members of the drum line, seven of them were not drummers when they originally joined the group. 

Johnson said the group has really enjoyed the opportunity to build camaraderie in a more intimate setting than the larger band that is more common among high schools. With just nine members, the group is able to work on a variety of different techniques and music. 

In addition to the camaraderie, Johnson said the drum line has taken pride in knowing they are the first group to form a drum line at Henning School. He said he has already heard from a number of people who are interested in joining drum line next year.

“It is sort of a new thing for the school and they are proud of it,” said Johnson of the current drum line.