Littlerock High marches to the beat of its own drum line
Percussion competition comes to the AV
Drummers and percussionists from schools across Southern California brought thunder and pageantry to the Antelope Valley Saturday. Littlerock High School served as host and was also the site for this leg of the American Drum Line Association competition.
Winter Drum Line, as it is sometimes referred to, runs from February through April. Schools compete under the auspices of the American Drum Line Association (ADLA). The March 19 show was the halfway point in the nine-show 2011 season.
According to its website, ADLA operates mainly in Southern California and the southwestern United States. ADLA, which was established to “offer young percussionists a choice of indoor venues from which to participate and compete,” is in its 27th year. Percussion professionals serve as judges during the competitions.
Thirty-seven schools from Apple Valley, Oxnard, Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, Pacific Palisades, West Covina, and other areas converged on Littlerock High to participate in the show.
Performances began at 9 a.m. and ran until the awards ceremony at 8:30 p.m. Awards were given to the third, second, and first place schools in each of eight divisions. Though there were a large number of schools performing, rehearsing, staging and arriving in buses and trailers full of equipment, the show stayed on schedule.
In prior years, the competitions were all held in the Greater Los Angeles area. No Antelope Valley school hosted the shows. Instructor Tré Balfour decided something needed to be done about that.
“You had all these schools involved in drumming,” he explained, running off a quick list of five Antelope Valley schools, “but we were having to travel down the hill [a local reference to traveling into Los Angeles]. And with the budget cuts and everything, it was just a challenge.” A crucial part of the budget is the transportation costs associated with busing the students and their equipment to the various competition locations throughout the season.
“I was instrumental in bringing the ADLA here because a lot of the competitions (are) done down the hill,” Balfour said.
Balfour had a conversation with the head judge at ADLA and told him bluntly: “We need help. We need to have you guys come up here and have a show for these kids.”
While serving as coordinator for the day’s competition, Balfour also instructed Highland High School’s winter drum line. Their performance was called “Agape.” Highland is in the Class B division. The show was co-written by one of Balfour’s older students, Tim ‘Chuy’ Cruz.
Many of the students displayed their skills on more than one instrument.
Deja Mickels of Palmdale High School played the drum set, ran over to play marimba, and then returned to the drum set. One of the Serrano High School students was the featured dancer in their performance called “Temptation.” She split her time between dancing lead and playing the xylophone.
Littlerock High placed fifth in the Open Class division. The fifth place finish did not dampen Littlerock’s spirit; their scores continued to improve with each performance. Their show was called “Disconnected,” a performance written about how texting disconnects individuals from society.
Balfour instructs Littlerock’s line, too. Students only rehearse two days a week, which they must do outside their regular academic obligations.
Balfour admittedly works them hard. “My philosophy is life through drumming, drumming through life,” he said. He gave an example of a person that drums behind the beat (also referred to as late), is someone who, in life, is usually lazy. The person who plays ahead of the beat is usually impatient. “The world out there has to work in here,” he concluded. So Balfour tries to instill these principles in his students as he teaches them—literally—about life through drumming.
Balfour has taught at Littlerock for 11 years. Some of his students come back to help out as instructors. Lucas Zumbado is one of them. He graduated from Littlerock in 2008 and continues to assist when he can.
Following Littlerock’s performance, Balfour confessed that after such a long day of doing triple duty, “I enjoy it. I’m tired, but I enjoy it.”
Finals for the ADLA competition will be held on April 30 at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos.
Highland High School in the city of Palmdale is one of the many campuses in the Antelope Valley that offers students the opportunity to engage in an academy geared to a certain career path.
The Law and Government Academy, founded in 1989, helps Highland High school students decide if they are choosing the correct career by giving them the opportunity to take courses, internships and meet professionals in the law enforcement field.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Record and near-record high temperatures are expected around Southern California today and tomorrow, with valley and inland areas forecast to top out in the 90s this afternoon.
High pressure and winds out of the northeast will bring nearly cloudless skies, sunshine and wind advisories for the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — An ex-doctor who was also a minister was sentenced today to 14 years in federal prison for selling a “brown sludge” made of suntan lotion and beef flavoring as a miracle cancer cure to patients across the country, via ads on a religious TV network and her Mission Hills clinic.
Christine Daniel, 58, of Santa Clarita, who operated a clinic under such names as the Sonrise Wellness Center, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Timlin, who remanded Daniel into custody following the four-hour hearing.
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Peter Sagan of Slovakia sprinted past Australian Michael Matthews to win today’s third stage of the Tour of California, the nation’s largest cycling event.
Sagan completed the 110.3-mile stage from Palmdale to Santa Clarita in four hours, 20 minutes, 31 seconds. Each of the next 99 cyclists were credited with the same time.
“The last three kilometers were crazy with all the sprinters who wanted to win,” Sagan said.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In light of a 63-year-old woman being mauled to death by pit bulls in the high desert community of Littlerock, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today asked staffers today to evaluate a proposed change in the county’s definition of a dangerous dog.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who said “four killer pit bulls” attacked Pamela Devitt, called for the change.