Bring on the drumline

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let’s not forget the horn section. Or the drum major. Or the woodwinds, or the occasional kid with a portable keyboard rigged implausibly for the long march.

They’re all integral to any marching band, and they all have a special place in the hearts of band directors, parents and anybody who loves a good John Philip Sousa composition.

But anyone who has watched a marching band advance along Main Street in Suffolk or any other city hosting a big holiday parade knows that the biggest cheers come at the beginning and the end of the corps’ passage — the dancers and flag twirlers at the front and the percussion crew, with its big bass drums, snare drums, cymbals, timpani and xylophones, driving the pace from behind.


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Those groups will be the center of attention Friday during the first “Peanut City” Drumline, Dance and Flag Showdown, hosted by Suffolk Parks and Recreation at King’s Fork High School.

The event is a fundraiser for the Suffolk Youth Achievement Awards, a program the parks department has held for years to highlight the best of Suffolk’s young people.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for individuals to showcase their skills as it relates to music and dance,” Lakita Watson, Suffolk Parks and Recreation director, said this week. “Music and dance are an important part of Parks and Recreation, just like athletics and parks.”

Aside from King’s Fork High School, the other participating schools are Bethel High School of Hampton, Henrico High School of Richmond, Ballou Sr. High School of Washington, D.C., Kipp Pride High School of Gaston, N.C., North Brunswick High School of Leland, N.C., and Warren County High School of Warrenton, N.C.

You can be sure the competition will be lively, and spectators are likely to have a hard time keeping their heads from bobbing to the beat.

“This is an opportunity to allow local and some out of state bands to come together to showcase their skills,” Watson said. “This is a very good, fun event where the entire family can truly enjoy some good music and good competition.”

The doors will open at 5 p.m., with the music set to start at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 each.

It will be a few months before folks in Suffolk have another opportunity to enjoy the city’s fine marching bands on parade. If you’re the sort who perks up at the sound of a good drumline, you’ll want to be there for this event.