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DRUMLine Live inspire Montana musicians, brings HBCU culture to small towns

Posted at 8:08 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 16:08:03-05

DRUMLine Live was hosted at the Alberta Bair Theater on Thursday for matinee and evening presentations of the traveling company's namesake performance, inspired by the 2002 film.

“DRUMline Live is a theatrical production, musical attraction, based on the movie, 'Drumline', and full circle, based on the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) culture," said Don Roberts, the director of the theater production who also worked as the executive band consultant for the film.

The musical-dance-theater company hosted a clinic for Billings and Laurel music students from various high school drum lines on Wednesday afternoon.

“Having that encouragement from the parents, the professionals, makes you feel inspired and feel incredible, y’know? It makes you want to do incredible things in your life," said Joseph Arnold, a drummer with West High's pep band.

The high school students joined the performers on stage for both show times.

“We’re not different schools, but we’re one big city. We can play as one big city too," said D'Shawn Hill, a student drummer with the production.

The DRUMLine Live performers said their traveling production has been a great way to diversify the entertainment palate of America.

“Us as African Americans get to bring our culture … you go to Broadway; there’s not a whole lot of black shows on Broadway," said Xavier Cross, a drummer with DRUMLine Live.

Theater company members said they hope to inspire students to see the viability of their musical talents and potential to sustain a career in entertainment.

“That’s the big part, ‘I can do this too.’ That was my mentality growing up," said Cedric Evans, a trumpet player with DRUMLine Live. "I had a professional trumpet player as a teacher, it was like, ‘he puts his pants on the same way I do.’"

The company's next performance will be in Butte on Friday.

“You never know who you may put that spark in and who you may encourage," said Brianna Smith, a dancer with DRUMLine Live.