Out of (Drum)Line : Soak it Up

Out of (Drum)Line : Soak it Up

By Michael Boo


Kendrick Bowman, now studying music education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, celebrated his senior year in high school by joining Aftermath Percussion and playing tenor drums for the first time, after playing snare drum in his high school band. Now in college, he played tenors with Three Rivers Indoor Percussion for the 2015 WGI season and is marching tenors with the Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps this summer. He says that playing in a drum line can be harder than being on a water polo team, as one has to be more attentive and focus for longer periods of time.

Oh, yes…it should be mentioned that Kendrick played on the water polo team all four years at Upper Perkiomen HS in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania. Water polo is quite popular on both coasts, and is one of the most demanding physical activities in which one can partake. Kendrick states that being on the water polo team made him less likely to tire out in the drum line.

The water polo pre-season starts in August, with the season ending the beginning of November, just in time to strap on a drum for the WGI Indoor Marching Percussion season. Pretty much anything goes under the water as long as the referee doesn’t see it, so team members get kicked around a lot. Kendrick once was penalized because a member of another team bumped him in his face, but the other player was able to make it look like Kendrick was the aggressor.

Water polo team members wear caps so their ears don’t get damaged. Sometimes frustrations get the best of team members and fights break out. His brother, who also plays water polo, had just gotten his braces off when another player elbowed him in mouth and chipped his tooth.

There is a lot of core training, cardio, and weightlifting to prepare for the matches. Members spend hours treading water with weights about their head, which strengthens the legs that propel them out of the water when needed. Only one hand at a time can be used to catch the ball, and to throw and shoot.

Kendrick states, “Water polo helped me stay physically fit for drum line. Being team captain helped me learn leadership skills needed for being in the drum line. When fellow members are down, you have to help lift them up mentally and physically. The intensiveness of being in the drum line—paying attention to what one’s told when drill and music is changed—translates to absorbing what the water polo coaches say.

“Both activities are what I love to do. The drum line members think it’s cool that I also did water polo.”