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Just as every beginner wind player learns scales, percussionists are taught rudiments to facilitate technique and create a solid, musical foundation. Terms such as flam, drag, and paradiddle quickly become ingrained in the mind of a young percussionist. An article written by W.F. Ludwig traces the progression of drum rudiments, with a history deeply rooted in fife and drum corps. While this approach to drumming has a strong military background, it can also be transferred into other types of playing. However, as the field of percussion evolves, some players are concerned that rudimental drumming is getting lost, forgotten, or overlooked by the younger generations of today.

The United States Association of Rudimental Drummers (USARD) is an organization that aims to preserve this historical art form. In 2012, the Hellcats drum section performed a 40-minute program while also collaborating with The Old Guard as a joint drumline. On April 26, 2014, the Hellcats offered another performance at the USARD 2014 Convention. During this banquet performance, the Hellcats performed their patriotic show entitled, “The Costs and Joys of Freedom.”

The Hellcats at the U.S.A.R.D. convention

The drum section offered an encore collaborating with Dr. John Wooton and Staff Sgt. Scott Jamison. The rudimental drumming community is tight-knit, connected not only by their passion, but also through master players and teachers. Staff Sgt. Jamison, Sgt. First Class Prosperie, and Dr. Wooton are all former students of the late Marty Hurley.

Regarding the performance, Sgt. First Class Prosperie stated:

I think we reached the big picture, and we served a higher purpose, which was to move people…This venue was intimate; I was able to connect with the audience. The show calls the audience to be interactive as it progresses into different moods, contrasting technical facility with folk melodies. As a musician, you feed off the audience’s interactions and want to give them more…We wanted the show to evolve and unravel … and to be more approachable.