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Marching to the Beat of a New Drum(line)

Thanks to NC State Crowdfunding, the Department of Music was able to raise over $15,000 in just 30 days to purchase new drums for its marching band.

students in a marching band drumline.

A drum used in a marching band’s drumline typically has a lifespan of around seven years. So when NC State’s Power Sound of the South drums turned 11 years old last fall, leaders of the Department of Music knew it was time to replace them.

“A marching band’s drumline is its heartbeat,” Director of Bands Dr. Paul Garcia said. “The students that make up the drumline provide the pulse that is central to the band playing together with high energy, powerful impacts and greater artistry.”

NC State’s on-field drumline for football games usually consists of 27 to 30 drums, ranging in size and style; replacing them all would carry a sizable cost.

What would be the best way to raise the necessary funds for the new drums? For Garcia, Department of Music head Dr. Daniel Monek and marketing coordinator Erin Zanders, the answer was a no-brainer.

“The alumni and parents and fans of the Power Sound of the South are so passionate, so supportive and so engaged with what we’re doing that it’s really a gift to the department,” Zanders said.

The team turned to NC State Crowdfunding, an initiative launched in fall 2021 that enables departments, organizations, clubs and other university entities to harness the power of the Pack to reach their fundraising goals. The framework provides a simple and streamlined process that allows individuals to collectively support a shared passion.

The opportunity was music to the marching band’s ears.

“We had seen so much success with Day of Giving and we thought that this type of fundraising would work really well for us,” Zanders said.

Marching band students in formation near the home football stadium.
Photo courtesy of Dan Jahn.

In order to have the new drums available for the upcoming fall semester, the 30-day campaign was set for April 13-May 13. Strong social media efforts were utilized leading up to and during the campaign window to get as much buzz going as possible.

“We knew that this would be a good sort of grassroots, social media type of campaign, where potentially alumni and parents might share it and people who enjoy hearing the band perform might get involved too,” Zanders said.

And get involved they did.

While initially advised to seek a lower starting goal, the music department opted to set the bar at $10,000, a number which its leaders thought was achievable.

When the beat died down at the end of the 30-day campaign, however, over $15,000, or 151 percent of the goal, had been raised.

“Everybody was really proud of it,” Zanders said. “The students in the drumline were very excited to see how successful it was. It’s a big help.”

The marching band plans to debut the new drums this fall. The beauty of this particular campaign is that donors literally will be able to hear the impact of their giving at their next NC State football tailgate, game or pep rally.

A student drummer standing amongst the marching band.
Photo courtesy of Dan Jahn.

The Department of Music staff hopes to continue to build off this success and pursue more projects using crowdfunding in the future — to help with student trips, for example, or the ever-present need to replace aging instruments.

“The fact that we succeeded is really a testament to [our donors] and their dedication,” Zanders said. “We’re really grateful to have them and that they care so much about the marching band and about the music department overall.”

Keep the music playing

Your gift to the Department of Music fosters continued growth in student involvement at NC State.