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New YWA Steam Drum Line serves beats, pride

(YOUNG WOMEN’S STEAM RESEARCH & PREPARATORY ACADEMY Sept. 3, 2021) — The sounds of a burgeoning new drumline echo through the hallways of the Young Women’s STEAM every day at lunchtime as the new drummers learn and practice their beats. 

So far 31 new drummers joined the new club that administrators hope brings even more pride to the all-girls school. At lunchtime, they practice on desks. They also have some used drums donated to them from another school in the district, but their equipment is in short supply.

“I’ve always been interested in playing a percussion instrument ever since a high school band came to my elementary school,” said seventh grader Kiana Tsutsui. “I don’t know what it is that drew me to the drums, but I always thought it was what I wanted to do.”

Seventh grader Frida Caldera-Cordero got her first drum set at 3 years-old and started playing at 4. She was a natural choice to be the school’s first section leader. At lunchtime, Frida led her YWA Warriors through their practice. 

“I’ve done this my whole life. I wanted try out for section leader because I get to lead and help other girls that don’t have as much experience as I do,” she said. “From every young age, I’ve like to play music and when I listen to a song, I listen for the specific beat.”  

The drumline is a project of Mark Teran, YWA’s dean of operations, met up with the fine arts department to bring in a drumline in the summer to get the program started.    

“I told them we wanted to create a drumline and do a production like STOMP on stage,” Teran said. 

The department worked with Teran to get some older drums to start up the club and Teran began teaching at lunch, after school and some Saturdays. He was a drum section leader in high school at Bowie and continued playing at UTEP on a scholarship. 

“It’s for pride,” he said. “We want to get invited to other schools, so our girls can be in stands during football games since we don’t have a football team. That was some of the best time of our lives when I was in high school.”

The campus is seeking donations of cymbals, bells, xylophones, gongs, cowbells, suspended cymbals, and chimes to further grow the program. Anyone willing to donate the instruments can email Teran at materan@episd.org.

Story by Reneé de Santos