One would think that being in Western Carolina’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band was hard enough. Long practices and grueling travel have been known to break the best of men. As a drummer on the Purple Line, which can be considered the junior varsity of the drum line, Will Walker has seen his fair share of both road trips and practices. For him, however, the situation is a little different.
“Being a drummer isn’t easy,” says Walker. “Not only are you keeping rhythm for the other guys, you’re trying to add your own styling and music to the set. Take all that, and then try doing it upside down and it just makes it harder.”
Upside down? That’s exactly right. While the Pride of the Mountains’ other drummers are busily marching, Will has the privilege of being the star of the halftime show. The gyroscope routine played out at halftime features Walker as the lucky drummer who gets to play a snare from a different perspective. Many different perspectives actually.
Walker says that he was surprised at first to find himself selected as the main attraction. He tells the story with a laugh.
“I actually ended up beating out my section leader for the job. I was kind of shocked that I could make it into a spot like that from Purple Line. I think it came down to my acting. I’m a really expressive drummer and I think that adds some effect to the entire set.”
The gyroscope routine has proven a serious crowd pleaser as well. At the Pride of the Mountains’ performance on the October 19 game against the Wofford Terriers, the words “blown away” and “awesome” were thrown out more than a few times. Of course, so were the terms “touched in the head” and “crazy.”
However, there is more to Walker than his participation in the band. He is also a new brother of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and a consummate outdoorsman. One of his fraternity brothers, Brandon Truitt, also has some halftime fame after being crowned Homecoming King during the Catamount’s victory over Elon.
“Mine was a little cooler,” Truitt said with a grin,“but Will has been doing the gyroscope every game so I guess he has me beat with longevity.” Walker only laughs.
“I’m driven. I want to give anything I do my all. It all comes down to that work ethic and desire,” Walker explained his path to current and future success. “I have big goals for band, fraternity, life, just everything.”
Walker, a Parks and Recreation major, will likely find himself reaching them. Many might even consider him fearless, but Walker quickly dismisses that notion.
“I mean, it’s just a gyroscope right?” Judging by the ratio of “crazy” to “blown away” in Western’s student section, it is much more than just a gyroscope.
See Western’s Performance at Enka High School and Walker (at 8:23.) Video courtesy of the Pride of the Mountains.