Mills Middle School Drumline 'Grooving Cadences'Jan 19, 2023 12:00AM ● By Story by photos and Margaret Snider
Trying out some of the new marching drums are from left to right: Chad Xiong, Sebastian Zendejas, and Ethan Bogue - smallest drum to largest.
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - “Drumline provides the opportunity for students to learn music fundamentals in a fun way,” said Mills Middle School music teacher Jimmie Adams, “that incorporates great dynamics, drumstick tricks, and grooving cadences.” Adams said he thinks his is the first among Rancho Cordova middle schools to actually have a drumline that’s separate from concert band, and with a class. There are 23 students enrolled.
“Anticipation for the arrival of the drums was great,” Adams said. “Students were asking every day if they had arrived. When they came in to class and saw the boxes, they were so excited and ready to play! It was a great day.”
Students will be using the new drums at the combined Cordova High School and middle school concert held on two Tuesdays and Wednesdays in a row, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, and Feb. 7-8 onstage at the Cordova High School Performing Arts Center.
Adams plays some piano and rock guitar but his primary instrument is definitely percussion, or drums, and always has been.
“I had music through the church, and also music through school as well,” Adams said. “I’ve always been a part of it since middle school myself, so it’s like full circle to come back into a middle school, have my teaching credential and actually teach music. So, I’m really, really excited for the opportunity to do this.”
Adams has a college degree in music, and a master’s degree in education. He taught music for 12 years in the Bay Area and is in his second year teaching at Mills. Adams has played music all his life, coming from a musical family – a mother who was a choir director, and his father “plays the guitar really well.”
Eighth grader Lorrie Garcia, 13, is in the new drumline class. She had an elective class in drums in the 6th grade, but said, “We just really had drum pads and sticks . . . When I was signing up for our 8th grade elective I saw drumline, and I got excited because drums have always been my favorite instrument.”
Another of the drumline students, Zane Starks, also 13 and in the 8th grade, has never had a drum class before. “I’ve been wanting to play drums my whole life because I’ve been with beats and such my entire life,” Starks said. “I just wanted to be in drumline . . . If you want to get into drums, I highly recommend this class.”
Adams said that he is really looking forward to seeing the students move on to high school. “To actually wear the drums, to move with the drums in middle school really prepares them for high school so when they get there . . . they’ll already be one step ahead and ready to go for that.”
Kevin Sims, instrumental music director at Cordova High School looks at Adams’ drumline class as a possible feeder for the successful winter percussion program at Cordova, which runs from January to April. “They’re independent, like an offshoot of the marching band . . . they compete in competitions in Northern California . . . I think eventually (Adams) will start competing with the middle schools, doing what we’re doing.”
Adams gets high marks as a teacher from Garcia as well. “I also like his way of teaching because if one is stuck, he’ll help everyone.” Garcia said. “Not one person is really left behind, so we all know what we’re doing.”
Funding for the class is through a City of Rancho Cordova Measure H grant Adams applied for this, first getting clearance from the Folsom Cordova Unified School District that the class would be an approved one. Following that, the application went through the City process along with all the other applications, and the drumline class was one of those that was chosen for a grant.