by Jessica Thomas

As the Eagles took the field on Saturday afternoon, some of their biggest supporters were right there with them, making music on the sidelines. The University of Northwestern – St. Paul drumline provides pep and energy to UNW football games, and homecoming weekend was an especially big occasion. Prior to homecoming week, drumline director Joel Alexander said, “We’re going to play at a chapel to get people psyched; we’ll be rocking at the football game, opening up the Night of Worship and Fun and getting people pumped.” The drumline even played in chapel on Friday as a prelude to homecoming and a fun way to get the student community into the spirited excitement of the weekend.

With all the energy in the atmosphere surrounding homecoming, it was definitely a lively weekend. “I’m always excited for the homecoming game – there’s always so much energy!” said Mikaela Krampotich, a UNW student who plays snare. “I love being in drumline because playing at the games is really fun, and I love getting to cheer on our football team, too.”

“We’ve got a good football team, and we’re just going to have fun,” Alexander said. “Homecoming is fun since there are a lot of people, and it’s a nice surprise for people who don’t know drumline is a thing. I think it’s fun to see a lot of alumni come back and see how the campus has changed, like when I go back to my old school, it’s fun to see the new stuff. It’s a nice surprise – like walking into a new football stadium and seeing a drumline. It excites me to show people how things have changed and maybe evolved since they were here, and for me personally, it’s fun to showcase the drumline and show them that part of it.”

The reason some may not know that drumline exists at UNW is that this is only its third year in existence. Several years ago, drumline began as a group of friends playing together at games, but the athletic director liked the idea and began talking to the music chair about the idea of an official drumline. Alexander said, “They really wanted to have a drumline along with the new stadium to give it a collegiate feel, like big schools, even though we don’t have a full marching band; it’s just drumline for now. When people hear ‘drumline,’ they think ‘game day.’”

The drumline practices on Saturdays and also plays at other home football games, as well as the Hoops Hysteria event that occurs later in the year. Drumline is an enjoyable experience for all involved, and it is open to new members. “A lot of people in the drumline did marching band in high school and were looking for a way to keep that going, but I think something great about this group is that it ranges from music performance majors to PSEO students, some who didn’t have much exposure to music,” said Alexander.  “If anyone sees it and wants to join, I would encourage it if people are interested. It’s a living, breathing thing at the school now, so that’s exciting. It appeals to a wide range, and it’s fun for those who have done it before or want to try.”

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