A one-man band


Photo provided by Mason Endsley

Sept. 18, 2020 homecoming game halftime performance featuring one drummer, LHS senior Mason Endsley.

Kate McCartney, Staff Writer

The homecoming football game is an event widely anticipated for many reasons; one of them being the infamous halftime shows courtesy of LHS’ marching band. This year’s performance was surely unforgettable as the band’s drumline of 22 students was reduced to just one senior: Mason Endsley.

“This year’s homecoming halftime performance was the most interesting percussion experiment I’ve ever seen. After one percussionist from each section tested positive (for COVID-19), every single kid in the drumline was out for 14 days due to close contact; except for Mason, who had tested positive this summer and still had a 90-day grace period,” said Pete Hansen, director of LHS Drumline. 

Although it was not an ideal situation, adjustments were quickly made due to the lack of drummers.

“We ended up having to be on the metronome for the homecoming show because we didn’t have a drumline to receive tempo from,” said Endsley. “A decision was made to also put a personal mic on me, to hear the snare at least a little bit over the hornline, otherwise there would be no chance.”

Since it is Endsley’s fourth and final year on the LHS drumline, he has had years of experience to prepare for this defining moment. Also this season, he has taken on the largely impactful role of snare section leader which equipped him even more.

“Mason did an incredible job being the only drummer, and ever since he was a freshman he has always been one of the hardest working,” said Hansen. “Showing up early, leaving late and having one of the best attitudes I have ever seen. In fact, when it came to picking the section leader, he was the obvious go-to, for not only his drumming ability but also his leadership skills.”

Hansen has been successfully directing the LHS drumline for the last 20 years, producing many school titles locally, regionally and nationally.

“When I first started, the drumline had an incredible group of kids but not a lot of individual practicing. Then over the next five years, it went from average to one of the most highly trained, competitive drumlines in the midwest, if not the country,” said Hansen. “Over the last 20 years, the number of individuals who have come out of the Lincoln Drumline and have gone off to march in professional drum and bugle corps has been incredibly high.”

As for Endsley, the camaraderie he has experienced through drumming justifies the sacrifices he has had to make in order to fully immerse himself in the activity. 

“The Lincoln Drumline is my family and my friends. I stopped playing sports in high school to do drumline all year; it was 100% worth it and I wouldn’t change that decision,” said Endsley. “I have made so many valuable memories throughout the years and I will cherish the relationships and intend to continue them into adulthood.”

Endsley has big plans for his future, and it is anticipated with his talent that he will continue drumming beyond high school.

“At the moment, I am intending to go to Augustana for Business and Music. I also intend to teach percussion and other drumlines in the area after I graduate,” said Endsley.

Although the homecoming halftime performance came at a stressful time for the drumline, thankfully with the help of Hansen and virtual support from his fellow drummers, Endsley was able to make LHS proud as the iconic one-man band.