Seymour High School drumline plays at Lucas Oil Stadium


As people wearing blue and white walked into the east side of Lucas Oil Stadium, they were drawn to the students wearing purple and white.

The 25 members of the Seymour High School drumline provided pregame entertainment as fans made their way into the home of the Indianapolis Colts to see them take on the Houston Texans.

Many of them captured photos or video with their cellphones, especially when one of the band members hung upside down with his legs over the shoulders of a fellow percussionist and played a drum.

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The experience was a win in more ways than one. For several students, it was their first time at the stadium. Plus, they watched the Colts defeat the Texans 30-23.

“It was amazing to have the opportunity to not only watch the Colts win but also getting to show off our skills as a drumline to the fans,” junior Brady Horton said.

“A lot of my friends thought it was an awesome experience for us small-town kids to get,” senior Morgan Sargent said. “I liked the bus ride up and back from Indianapolis with my friends and getting to experience the Colts win with them, as well.”

In August, Kyle Lutes — assistant band director and percussion director — saw a flier on the Indiana Percussion Association’s Facebook page looking for high school drumlines to be a part of game day and perform.

He filled out an online application and a few weeks later was contacted with a couple of dates. Sunday fit in with the band calendar.

After receiving approval from Director Kevin Cottrill and school administration, Lutes presented the idea to the students.

“It was a total surprise to them,” Lutes said. “Every single one of them was interested. They all wanted to take the step to do it.”

The drumline already meets from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday nights throughout the school year — marching band in the fall and percussion ensemble in the spring. The four parts of the Seymour drumline are snare drums, quads or marching tenor drums, bass drums and cymbal and tom lines.

For seven weeks, they rehearsed the music for the pregame performance.

“We started just primarily rehearsing the music for that and then just kind of did it in rotation so they get used to playing for a long duration of time because it’s a challenge on the hands to play for that long,” Lutes said.

On Sunday, they played for an hour and a half before the game outside the stadium. For a drumline, Lutes said that’s quite a bit of time.

“We routinely have four to five drum cadences or drum pieces for marching band season, and they range from 30 seconds to about a minute and a half, so when they said that we could play up to three hours, it was like, ‘OK, well, we can’t quite fill three hours,’ so we did an hour and a half,” he said. “We actually had to add in eight or nine new pieces.”

They took 15 pieces and rotated through them off and on. Lutes said they did each one at least six times apiece.

“The kids, it was neat for them to see because it wasn’t always the same crowd because they were coming into the ticket booths and everything,” he said.

The staff members stationed outside the stadium seemed to enjoy the students’ performance the most, Lutes said.

Seymour was the first high school drumline to perform outside the stadium this season, so it was new for the people working on game day.

“We had several staff members come up and compliment the kids and talk about how much they loved it,” Lutes said. “A lot of fans stopped by and were taking cellphone videos and things like that and drumming along with that.”

Fans at the games are from Indiana and beyond, so this was a good opportunity for the students to showcase their skills and represent Seymour.

“It could get pretty intense knowing that people from other places were watching us and comparing us to other drumlines they might have seen before, so we tried to bring our A-game and show them what we can do,” Sargent said. “The drumline got to show many people from all over Indiana and possibly the United States what we can do and have accomplished this marching season.”

Once the game kicked off, Lutes, the students and their families went to their seats to watch the football game. In all, 105 people from Seymour were there for the experience.

That was even more special for Lutes because it was his first time attending a Colts game.

“It was packed,” he said. “There was a great crowd there. We were set up right behind one of the end zones. We had great seats, and they had the (retractable roof) open.”

Sargent had previously been to Lucas Oil Stadium.

“It was nice going back to Lucas Oil to not only watch a football game but to also sit with my friends wearing the same shirt as me and being associated with some amazing drummers,” she said.

At halftime, they were treated to a show by the Ball State University and Indianapolis Colts drumlines.

“It showed a lot of us that you can go on and play in college-level drumlines and even NFL drumlines,” Sargent said.

“It was cool for the kids that they got to see a professional drumline and then they got to see a college drumline at the same time,” Lutes added.

Lutes said he appreciates the school administration and parents for helping make the experience possible.

He was proud to see the drumline be in the spotlight for the day.

“The way I look at it as an educator, I always want kids to have very unique opportunities, and when we were looking at the Colts thing, I thought, ‘Not many other schools are going to get the chance to go do this ever, so that’s a really unique opportunity for us to do,’” he said.

“Sometimes, kids can be very enclosed to just their own community or their own school, and it’s really neat to take what we do and show other people and see what it’s like to be out in front of other people,” he said. “That’s really kind of the underlying decision for it.”

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