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When I was in third grade I wanted to play the snare drum in my school’s marching band. My parents, though not totally excited about having a drummer in the house, were supportive. They even went so far as to shell out $75 to buy a drum instead of renting it because I swore up and down that I would not lose interest in being a little drummer boy. I’m not sure how long it was before I realized that drumming wasn’t for me, but it was definitely soon enough so that renting the drum would have been cheaper. From then on it sat in my closet and played the part of a grim reminder as to how I could never commit to anything.
It wasn’t until I was almost through high school that the drum rolled back out of the closet. For the next fifteen years that snare would keep the beat in several different bands, as well as do double duty as a prop in several plays. It’s current role, and arguably it’s best to date, is as beat maker in Musical Robot.
In all that time I never got around to replacing the drum heads. Having quit playing the drums in 1979 I’m not even sure how often that thing is supposed to be changed. Unfortunately, with the amount of work we’ve been putting it through recently, combined with the fact that my son just started taking drum lessons and has been banging on it all the time, it finally got a hole beat through it.
The guys at Encore Music took the job of getting it back in shape and it sounds better than I ever remember. When they took the heads off, a Dixon Ticonderoga pencil and a bunch of raffle tickets that I had stuffed in through the little hole in the side fell out onto the table. My old band teacher Mr. Tuluga used to give them out to people did good work and have a raffle at the end of class for a candy bar. This and many other memories of that drum came back when it was time to get rid of a piece of it that had been around for over 30 years.
I begrudgingly threw the old drum heads away but not before I had my wife snap this photo just to prove to my parents that even though it seemed like that drum was a waste of $75, they actually got all their money’s worth and more.