Stop, Listen & Look
Next time you hear the Life Christian Academy drumline coming, don’t just listen—look! For every minute they play, countless hours of practice have gone into every strike you hear and every movement you see.
Having played since 7th grade under two former LCA drumline leaders, Jake takes his lead role seriously—practicing one to two hours every night, researching techniques, and studying other drumlines’ performances.
He’s also intentional about learning to lead well, and keeping a strong focus on God. “We pray at every practice, and we always give credit to God for what we do. For me, God is a big part of playing the drums.”
With no formal instruction outside his five years of LCA band experience, last summer Jake was one of 32 drummers statewide invited to attend a drumline camp at University of Washington. “I learned a lot I hadn’t done before,” he says. “Every drummer there was really good, which was great—and challenging, too.”
“Jake came back from the UW camp a changed drummer,” says LCA band teacher and drumline advisor Brian Gaukel. “He started the school year wanting to make our program better—and I’m seeing it happen.”
As a mostly self-led group, the line can be as good as they want to be, according to Mr. Gaukel. While they get some class time together each week, most of the group’s work takes place before or after hours. They meet five to ten hours a week, September through June.
In February, the group hired University of Washington drumline leader Nick Molenda for two hours of training. Utilizing every minute, they drilled techniques and learned several ways to take their practice and performance to the next level.
Since the workshop, Mr. Gaukel says he has seen greater unity and work ethic, and improved skills. “They’ve really taken what they learned and applied it. I believe they have the talent to be a standout group.”
So far this year the LCA drumline has performed for the Boys & Girls Club, the upper school Christmas concert, the all-school Christmas chapel, and the Lincoln Drum Festival. Upcoming events include Leavenworth, March of Dimes, and the upper school spring concert. They’ve also been known to make surprise appearances…so keep your eyes and ears open! In the meantime, check them out on YouTube.
No Break for Jake
Though the line will break for the summer, Jake will keep on drumming. He has been invited to return to the UW drumline camp, and will perform with the Washington All-State Marching Band in Hawaii. He’s sure to bring back new ideas for his senior year of leading the line.
College plans? None that are drum specific, but, he says, “I’ll be drumming wherever I go.”