Drum roll, please … The young drummers of the Seventh-day Adventist Gideon Pathfinders Drum Corps are beating a path to success.
The Cayman Compass visited one of their practice sessions last week, when the drummers, ages 10 to 15, were gathered at the Savannah Seventh-day Adventist Church yard.
The group is part of the church’s youth program, aimed at keeping youngsters together and out of trouble; to do something positive and wholesome; and to prepare them for upcoming events, said Merle Watkins, director of the Pathfinders Club.
There are currently 22 members in the band. Its membership changes every few years as some go off to college, Ms. Watkins said.
Students completing university often return to the band and assist in teaching others. “It’s a program of each one teach one,” Ms. Watkins said.
During their practice, drummers dip low to display some fancy drumstick tapping to the occasional clap of cymbals – there is a lack of an audience in the church yard but the honking of passing cars is enough. The enthusiastic teens play in rhythm a series of traditional beats, producing some soul-stirring Christian songs that get the feet stomping.
“Play a church song for the lady,” said Ms. Watkins. “Which one?” they asked, before kicking up a rhythm of beats from “Amazing Grace,” “Valerie” and “Carry Your Candle.”
“The teens built their own beats and learn from each other,” Ms. Watkins said. She explained that the group mostly plays songs that are sung at church, during Pathfinder program events and occasional church marches.
The sun is setting as the group winds down. For 15 minutes, they gave it their all, with lead drummer Tevin McLeod keeping the group going.
After practice, the youngsters rush to remove the drums and place them in the back of the church. They return quickly to gather and discuss the band’s progress.
The Pathfinder Club is a worldwide program organized and directed by the Youth Department of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, often compared to a Seventh-day Adventist coed Scout program.