Lancer Spotlight: Drumline Captains Parker Snyder and Eric Fan


The Lancer: When did you first start playing percussion?

Parker Snyder: I started playing percussion in 7th grade. That year I was taking two band classes and I played percussion in one class and saxophone in the other. In 8th grade I switched to just percussion.

Eric Fan: I first started playing percussion in 5th grade, so it’s been about 7-8 years now.

TL: Who has been your most influential instructor?

PS: My most influential instructor is Bill Garcia. He is the overall percussion teacher at TOHS, but he mostly works with the battery in marching band and drumline. He has been teaching me for as long as I have been playing. Over the past couple years and all the long rehearsals, I’ve spent a lot of time with Bill and he has been a guiding force throughout my percussion career.

EF: Joe Martone has been an instructor of mine since 7th grade, so I would have to say that he has been the most influential to me. Since then, I’ve been improving a lot, and he sometimes reminds me of where I started compared to where I am now.

TL: How long have you been drumline captain?

PS: I became drum captain at the end of my sophomore year so I could begin my job as drum captain at our summer rehearsals.

EF: This is my first and only year as a drum captain.

TL:What are the responsibilities of a drum captain?

PS: As drum captain, I do a lot of general things. Like at our summer rehearsals, I had to include all the new freshmen and get to know them and have them get to know all the other returning members. Over the summer I organized sectionals where we would meet somewhere, like the park or my house, and we would work on some of our music then just hang out. I also have a key to the storage cans where we keep our drums. During rehearsals I give my section little bits of advice here and there to help them. I give my section pep talks before important rehearsals and before shows too.

EF: As drum captain, I pass on information from our instructors, hold the key to our storage units, lead warm ups, and participate in the award ceremonies.

TL: When is drumline’s next performance? What do the captains do to help prepare the drumline?

PS: We are currently in the beginning of our winter drumline season. Our next show is our first show at Damien High School in La Verne, California. I try to make sure my section stays focused and paying attention to our instructors’ feedback during our rehearsals because we don’t rehearse as much as marching band so we need to make the most out of each rehearsal.

EF: The drumline’s first performance is February 3rd. As captain, it’s mainly just making sure everyone is on task and up to pace with the music so that it will be ready to perform. Sometimes there are mini practice sessions during lunch, whether it be a small group or 1 on 1, just to give that little push to anyone who may need it.

TL: Why did you choose to become a drumline captain?

PS: I wanted to become drumline captain not because I thought it would be fun, but because I thought I was capable of taking on the job. It involves a lot of extra time outside of rehearsals and a lot of extra responsibilities. Also, I know that holding a leadership position is a good thing to put on college applications and being captain of the school drumline is a pretty unique experience.

EF: I chose to try out for drum captain, and I fortunately got it. Being drum captain isn’t about the title though, the title itself could honestly mean less than nothing. Just being in such a position really forced out leadership qualities that I didn’t know I had before, and to find better qualities is to become a better person which makes a better life for myself and those around me.

TL: Why do you love playing percussion?

PS: I really love percussion in general, not just drumline, because it involves a lot of different instruments and equipment. There’s mallet instruments like the xylophone or the marimba, and there’s what we call auxiliary instruments like the triangle; it’s not just all drums. Also, percussion is just really fun! Like, who doesn’t want to bang on a pair of bongos? Who doesn’t love a good drumline? Also, since the rest of the band consists of wind instruments, percussion is pretty different and isolated from everyone else so I have made some very close friends through playing percussion

EF: I love percussion because anything can be an instrument, whether it be my two hands, some pens or pencils, or even my phone. It’s a type of musical expression that doesn’t always come with a usual melodic sound, but rather booms, bangs, and crashes. It’s also really fun and calming when I’m mad and feel the need to hit things really hard and make really loud sounds.

Photo by >> Romy Snyder >> With Permission