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Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
Kami Nilsen, foreground, and other members of the UVSC drumline perform Saturday at Lone Peak High School. The drumline has 26 members.

OREM — According to the Kenny Rogers tune, it's critical that a gambler not only knows when to hold 'em but when to fold 'em.

That's also true for a member of an indoor drumline corps.

Knowing when to stop is every bit as crucial as knowing when to begin.

And, judging by the music made at the Percussion Ensemble concert at Utah Valley State College that included the new indoor drumline, the 26 players know how to do that. Twenty-two of the drumline musicians are from Utah County.

The drumline is in its first year as an organized performing group and has already impressed judges in festivals and competitions.

Celeste Cope took a first place at the University of Utah's Percussion Festival for her marimba solo. Nate Anderson took second with a vibraphone solo.

"We found a tremendous void here," said Director David Fullmer. "So a year ago, we started an indoor drumline. It's a brand new thing for us and the state of Utah. This is the only university to offer an indoor drumline opportunity. We've been rehearsing since January and have played all over the state and for thousands of school children."

Fullmer described the corps as a vibrant effort with talented musicians who not only have fast hands and musical skill but who are writing their own music for drumlines.

Bass drum players, tenor drum players, snare drum players, marimba players, cymbal strikers, vibraphone players, xylophone players with two mallets in each hand: all line up for performances that are mesmerizing and rhythmic.

Andy Garcia and Will Whitaker are drumline instructors. Garcia said he brought the idea with him from California where drumlines are more common.

Fullmer said they performed at an official event last March as a "test run."

"It was incredibly successful and we decided to formally organize it," he said.

"We started it up because we don't have a marching band and we wanted students to have a chance to continue their progress in music education."

The drumline rehearses four hours every Friday and all day Saturdays.

Liz Sanderson, who plays second bass drum in the group, said she chose UVSC because of the drumline opportunity.

"It's one of the reasons I came to UVSC," she said. "I'm very happy that they organized it. I think we're doing really well."

Sanderson said the drumline this year will be marching and performing more, probably in uniform.

"I just enjoy it so much. It's fun to play and fun to be with the other people. Almost all of the people in the pit are from my high school (American Fork) so I know them all," said Tricia Wright, a musician who plays the xylophone, the vibraphone, the cymbals and the gong bass drum.

"You have to be confident," Wright said. "That's for sure. If you're going to make a mistake, you want to make it boldly (so it doesn't look like a mistake)."

Indoor percussion formally started in 1976. Over the past two decades, marching percussion has advanced and moved into auditoriums and gymnasiums as percussion or "battery" and "pit" groups sought ways to maintain their skills during cold winter months that follow the regular band show season.

Independent percussion groups typically start rehearsing in October and finish their season with the April National Championships.

If you go ...

What: Indoor Drumline Championship Competition

When: starts at 4 p.m., drumline exhibition at 5 p.m., Saturday

Where: Lone Peak High School, 10189 N. 4800 West, Highland

Cost: $4/$20 family

Web: www.uvsc.edu/music

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com