Licking County News

Marching-arts clinic

Surf's up at Watkins Memorial on June 28


Watkins Memorial High School will host a marching-arts clinic for high school-age brass players, percussionists and rifle and guard members from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the high school, 8868 Watkins Road SW in Pataskala.

Student musicians will have an opportunity to learn marching techniques and efficient rehearsal practices from the famed Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps from New Jersey.

"They will get to see marching, music and execution of a show at a level you typically don't see in a high school program," said Ross Musick, percussion instructor for the Watkins Memorial High School drumline.

Musick said the Jersey Surf members would work individually with musicians, percussionists and rifle and guard members, providing ideas, inspiration and the opportunity for high school students "to see how much father they can go" with their love of marching arts.

The Jersey Surf corps also will perform the competition show it will use while touring this summer throughout the United States, including a July 28 stop in central Ohio at the Emerald City Music Games at Dublin Coffman High School.

The competitions will be sponsored by the Drum Corps International, a nonprofit organization that will host 35 world-class competitions during the summer in 17 cities, according to the organization's website.

"The Drum Corps International is different than college bands," Musick said. "They provide a whole other realm of possibilities."

The Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps is a nonprofit youth organization formed in 1990 to support musicians and marching-arts performers in Camden County, N.J.

Musick said Jersey Surf includes about 150 performers ages 16 to 22 who give up their summer to tour, conduct workshops and compete.

The group will spend two days, June 27 and 28, at Watkins Memorial High School, sleeping on the high school gymnasium floor. Corps members will practice their show June 27 and hold the workshop June 28 before performing the show for the workshop participants.

Musick said Jersey Surf has agreed to donate all workshop proceeds to Watkins Memorial High School's music program to buy instruments.

"We have brass instruments that are older than some of our students," Musick said.

He said the bass drums are 14 years old and snares are 10 years old -- five to six years past their life expectancies.

Replacing the five bass drums used in the drumline would cost $4,000 to $5,000, Musick said.

"We just can't keep up with the band's needs," he said.

Musick said most people who see the band perform would never know how old the instruments are because of the students who play them.

"Our kids take such good care of the equipment, when you see us perform you'd never guess the equipment is as old as it is," he said. "The kids have such respect for the equipment."

The Watkins Memorial marching band has 110 members, 20 who are in the drumline, Musick said.

Musick said the June 28 workshop cost is $20 and will include lunch.

Tickets may be purchased through a secure link on the Watkins drumline Facebook page,, or at

Musick said band directors who are interested in bringing groups should contact him on the Facebook page and ask about group discounts.

He said the workshop could accommodate 400 to 500 participants.