“It’s the biggest group in Columbus that nobody has ever heard of,” explained group director Marshall Cheatham, who started the drumline eight years ago with a handful of kids. “I started it in a park beating on picnic tables with six kids, I went out and bought ten pair of drum sticks,” he said.
Now over 40 kids participate in the band which has won competitions throughout the Midwest.
“A lot of times I stand back and I almost get teary eyed because you don’t see positive activities like this in the community all you see is a lot of hurt, harm, danger,” said Cheatham.
He calls it more than kids just beating on drums, he says they are beating the odds. “This is my answer to that madness to try to offset some of that craziness that goes on in the community,” said Cheatham. Deandre Williams, a former member of the Saints Drumline, was able to obtain a music scholarship to college thanks to his band experience. “I love it without a doubt…if I could I’d be in a drumline for the rest of my life,” said Williams.
“It gives me a sense that the world can be more musically inclined as long as the old heads come back and teach that’s pretty much why I’m here now,” he explained. Success stories like Williams have contributed to the band’s popularity.
They have nearly outgrown the Rosewind Community Center where they practice, and they are in desperate need of a new cargo van for their instruments. “It’s gone from just giving the kids something to do to now the main function is to send everyone of these kids to somebody’s college,” said Cheatham. “I always say to somebody else’s college on somebody else’s dime.” Story via abc6onyourside.com