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Marching to the Beat of his own Drum

This is Nate - a driven, caring, lover-of-music senior at Kennesaw Mountain High School. As his senior quote, Nate chose MARCH TO THE BEAT OF YOUR OWN DRUM. And that's just what he's doing.

In middle school Nate decided to play a musical instrument. Although he originally wanted to play the saxophone, he was told his mouth wasn't the right shape for it. So he chose the drums, instead. In order to assess his rhythmic abilities, the Band Director gave Nate a test pounding out rhythms on his knees. Not satisfied, the Band Director sent him away and told him to come back in 2 days. Nate went home and practiced, practiced, practiced. Two days later he tried again and his determination paid off! He was accepted into the band as a drummer. He's been keeping the beat ever since!

Nate joined the Marching Band his freshman year of high school where he played bass. In addition to the regular 12 hours of weekly practice, the band put in an additional 12 hours of rehearsal time every other weekend. It was a huge commitment but Nate rose to the occasion. Not only did he earn a varsity letter for his efforts but he was awarded Most Improved Percussionist at the end of the year. The leadership skills he displayed also earned him the position of Bass Captain the following year.

Nate also managed to move up through the ranks in band class. He was placed in the mid level class as a freshman, but moved up to the school's prestigious Wind Ensemble (the highest performing band class) the following year. It was during Nate's junior year that the Ensemble was chosen as one of five high school bands from the entire United States to perform at the Midwest Clinic. Boasted as the world's largest instrumental music education conference, it is held annually in Chicago where approximately 17,000 people from all over the world attend. When asked about the clinic, Nate said,

"I was proud to be at Midwest. It was a big accomplishment. I gained less performance fright and more confidence in myself."

As if band class and the marching band aren't enough, Nate is also a member of the Percussion Ensemble of his high school. This group practices 9-12 hours per week (outside of school) from January to April. Nate's sophomore year, they qualified to compete at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis. It is the single largest percussion event in the world. Drawing thousands of percussionists together each year from across the globe, PASIC is a four-day thrumming mecca. Given his passion for percussion, and how much time he spends at it, it was only fitting that we incorporated the drums into Nate's senior session. Although Nate is talented on many percussion instruments, including the timpani, bass, crash cymbals, tambourine, triangle, xylophone, and the marimba, the snare drum is his favorite. The rat-a-tat tat of his snare was like a siren call to this little boy, who looked up at Nate in awe. Without skipping a beat, Nate bent down to his newest fan and handed him a drumstick. It was magical watching the two interact and Nate's interest in and patience with this little boy spoke volumes about his character.

Nate took the time to talk to this little boy, and even gave him a drumstick and invited him to play along.

In his free time Nate enjoys playing Fortnite, being a member of the Woodstock City Church Youth Group, making music in his friend's studio, and playing or watching football with his buddies. Mom says she loves Nate's kind, caring heart and shared that he's also a do-er. "He's the first to arrive and the last to leave [the band room]. He wants to make sure everything is as it should be. [All the] instruments are put away."

Looking ahead, Nate's applied to Kennesaw State University where he hopes to study Business, Music, or possibly Engineering. Nate, wherever your journey leads, I have no doubt you'll be marching to success!

Nate earned his Varsity Letter his Freshman Year. He wears it proudly!

Nate and his girlfriend taking a quick break in between shots.

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