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Drummer boy: Central junior finds a passion in percussion

Tate Roda-Munar

Tate Roda-Munar

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It’s 1:30 a.m., and after six hours of sound check and an hour of recording, junior Evan DeLorenzo sits down to listen to the final masterpiece—a song titled “Boda Escapada,” filled with lyrics created that night. After he and his band have finished recording the first song of their album; he continues on with his high school life, doing homework that night. To DeLorenzo, this night was just one of the many ways that he lets his drumming flourish.

DeLorenzo, who has drummed since the age of four, remarked that his passion for drumming has grown over they years. “My parents were musicians. My mom sang in the choir my dad plays guitar bass and piano, so they asked me what I wanted to play when I was four, and I started taking lessons with Kris Myers, who is now in the band Umphrey’s McGee, which has played at Lollapalooza,” DeLorenzo said.

Tony DeLorenzo, DeLorenzo’s father, noted that his son’s passion also began developing after a visit to DeLorenzo’s uncle in Denver. He said that his son, “Was really moved by the experience. We didn’t have drums in the house, but we had piano and guitars. He just said ‘No, Mama, I’m a drummer.’”

DeLorenzo said that after taking lessons, he practiced with his father, also noting that his father became a main part of his motivation. “Whenever we had family events or that kind of thing we would always perform and we always had a captivated audience. Every birthday party my dad and I would prepare some songs,” he said.

In addition to playing with his father, DeLorenzo is the drummer for the band Ten and Counting, which he joined last year. DeLorenzo said that he joined the band through the bassist, who he knew in grade school.

“We met because they were playing at a variety show and [the band’s] drummer had gotten sick. They called me the day before and said, ‘Can you play?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’” DeLorenzo said. After the drummer quit a few months later, he joined as a permanent member of the group.

DeLorenzo’s band performs whenever an opportunity arises. The band often volunteers for church events, opening acts, or variety shows at local schools. Along with these opportunities, DeLorenzo said that he loves to take part in Battles of the Bands. These battles consist of competitions among individuals or bands.

Recently, the band was able to record one of their songs, “Boda Escapada,” at a studio, working with studio musician Don Griffin. “We met with Don Griffin after one of the Battle of the Bands that we won that gave you a free song in the studio,” said DeLorenzo. For the song, he mainly composed the rhythms that the rest of the band used for their parts of the song.

DeLorenzo said, “We were really proud of the song because it was unique to us. It was something that sounded like our band.” Currently, they are working on recording an entire album.

Aside from playing in a band, DeLorenzo also plays the drums at school, contributing to Marching Band, Jazz Band, and Jazz Combo. There are key differences between the ways he plays in school and out of school. “When you’re outside of school, it’s more of a collaboration, and when you’re in school, it’s more of being able to listen to direction and being able to take advice from people who are responsible for the sound,” he said. “You’re more likely to play more stylistically correct if you’re being directed by someone who has a broader knowledge of the subject.”

Matt Kurinsky, band director and DeLorenzo’s freshman and junior year teacher, has watched DeLorenzo drum for years. DeLorenzo is a “hard worker,” said Kurinsky.

“He puts the time in to figure out how to get the right sound,” said Kurinsky.

One link between DeLorenzo’s playing inside and outside of school is his friend Max Cornell, junior, who enjoys playing with DeLorenzo during free time. “Last year we were both in Jazz 3, so I got to know him and we got to be friends. And we started playing last year,” said Cornell. “We play on the weekends and have jam sessions.”

Playing with DeLorenzo has helped Cornell improve as a musician. Cornell said, “I think the most important thing is that we both challenge each other. From my perspective, playing with Evan has definitely been a challenge because we play shows together and he’s much more experienced. But I’m not afraid to tell him when I think he’s doing something that isn’t good enough. So, we definitely feed off each other that way.”

Although drumming has always been a passion for DeLorenzo, he has run into challenges, mainly during practicing. “I had a dilemma where I was like, ‘Do I really want to have to practice every week and go in and do lessons?’” said DeLorenzo.

Musically, DeLorenzo’s father noted some of his son’s obstacles in drumming. DeLorenzo hopes that his son will broaden his musical spectrum. “Evan’s ear for music is not just in the drumming, but in the full score of the composition,” he said. “He will need to continue to develop skill on piano, guitar and bass. This way he will become a more integral part of the composition process and not just the backbone of the rhythm section.”

However, with the encouragement of his father and teachers, DeLorenzo has been able to maintain his motivation. His current drum teacher, Brad Schlueter, has helped him improve the most musically. “[He] has been the most helpful in opening my eyes to what I don’t know, because a lot of the time you can get complacent if you’re playing with the same people,” said DeLorenzo.

DeLorenzo said, “If you’re with someone who’s like ‘Well you don’t know how to do that,’ or, ‘That doesn’t sound good play it again ten more times,’ it gets in my head that I can always improve.”

DeLorenzo’s father said that he has seen his son’s talents grow over the years. “His musical ideas continue to get more complex and he develops greater ease in expressing them,” he said. “He has always had a desire to express specific ideas, not just playing beats, and he keeps getting better at it.”

Whether he is stressed from practice or challenged during a lesson, DeLorenzo always keeps his passion in perspective. “I’m playing music so I can play with other people so I can connect the people through music.”

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Drummer boy: Central junior finds a passion in percussion