Drummers from across the Midwest came together at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio this past Sunday, October 21 in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record. The Big Beat—sponsored since 2008 by independent drum dealers throughout North America—strives to achieve the greatest number of drummers playing the same beat at the same time. The Mentor event was sponsored by Stebal Drums of nearby Willowick, Ohio.
The Big Beat is a charity event, created to support music programs in local schools. Each participant pays a registration fee and is asked to get pledges for donations. Major drum companies donate drum gear which is used to award the top pledge raisers as well as for raffles. All money raised is administered though the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. Stebal Drums has raised $30,000 since 2008 in their Big Beat events.
This year’s event drew more than 100 drummers ranging in age from five to sixty-five and playing on drumkits of every description. They set up in rows on the high school’s gymnasium floor, facing a stage on which guest performers held forth throughout the day. Those performers included director of Creative Drumming educational programs Dave Brewer (assisted by drummer Chris Leja and percussionist Gavin Goszka), noted local drum teacher Billy Coakley, Universal Percussion president and percussion clinician Tom Shelley, and popular local rock band Raised On Rock (who played with all 100+ drummers). The event was emceed by former Modern Drummer editor (and current Jay & The Americans touring drummer), Rick Van Horn.
Manufacturer sponsors for the Big Beat event included Alfred Publishing, Amedia Cymbals, Direct Sound, Dream Cymbals, Drum Fantasy Camp, Drum Workshop, Erie Drums, Evans, Hal Leonard, LP Music, Ludwig, Meinl, Pearl, Remo, Roc N Soc, Sabian, Super Drum, Tama, Universal Percussion, Vic Firth, Wuhan Cymbals, and Zildjian.
For more information on the October 21 Big Beat event, go to stebaldrums.com/bigbeat.php. Two other Big Beat events will be held later in the year: one on November 4, sponsored by Drum World of Tulsa, OK and one on November 18, sponsored by Donn Bennett Drum Studio of Bellevue, WA.