Academy-Sponsors-Spring2017-300x225From nationally arranged tours to tight-knit local shows, drumlines are getting crowds riled up all over the US. While most think of drumline as a marching band halftime show, Don P. Roberts, creator and director of Drumline Live, is looking to change the game.

“It’s anything that you would see in a full marching band, and then some. Think of it as the marching band and the Grammys combined,” says Roberts in a telephone interview. “We are very confident that you’ll be on your feet within the first five minutes of the show.”

Drumline Live will perform at Overture Center for one night only tonight, with an opening performance by Madison’s own Black Star Drum Line. The 35 member cast has practiced rigorously in their home base of Atlanta, Georgia to prepare for the company’s Black History Month Tour.

pkamau_Drumline_-59-smallDrumline Live incorporates dynamic scores and elaborate choreography to recreate original Historically Black College and University (HBCU) drumline experiences. Don P. Roberts served as the executive band consultant for the movie Drumline in 2002 and by 2007 took Drumline Live to the stage.

“I was still excited when the movie was wrapping up and I thought about how cool it would be to put something like that on stage,” says Roberts,“ It was dream of mine. And now it’s the most exciting show in the country.”

Joey Banks, director of Madison’s Black Star Drum Line, is also spreading his passion for drum corps.

“I had the opportunity to start a drumline at the Boys and Girls Club in 2008 and what it evolved into was a hip-hop drum line,” Banks tells Madison365. “It’s difficult to get kids interested in something that requires a lot of focus and discipline to do from a technical standpoint. But for those kids i was able to create this hip hop/drumline concept.”

Black Star Drum Line has performed in Madison and surrounding areas over 600 times and although it has proven its distinctness to the Madison community, it might serve an even greater impact on its members.

“It’s an extremely unique opportunity. It’s a challenge, it’s arts education, it’s performance, it’s community service, it’s leadership, it’s comradery.” says Banks,”It’s something these kids will have with them forever.”

Both drumline groups, despite differences in size and reach, will perform for the community, as a community.

Tickets are available for $25 – $45.

This piece was produced by a student in the Madison365 Academy. To learn more and support our educational programs visit