Raul Rivera is a second-year music major with an emphasis in jazz performance. He started drumming about five years ago, and has not turned back since. Though he has yet to decide on where to transfer to for his Bachelor of Arts in music, Rivera is sure he wants to spend the rest of his life jamming with his drumsticks.
“I started drumming back in ninth grade when I was 14 or 15, and I had no plans doing anything with music. Before, I was in track and wrestling, but one day I was watching the band rehearse because my brother was in band. One day, I was on the bleachers while band was in the field, and the band director thought I was in band and he said ‘What are you doing here? Get set.’ Then he asked, ‘Oh well you’re here, do you want to join band?’ And ever since then, I joined.
“I started off in my high school drum line, then PCC’s drum line, then moved on to Impulse last summer for drum corps, [now] I’m [performing with] Cadets this summer. The battery captain for Impulse was an instructor here and just asked if I wanted to march with them, so I said, ‘Sure.’
“First I was in [auxiliary percussion] in the front ensemble, because I didn’t know how to read music. By sophomore year, I moved up to snare. I’m very privileged to come up a little higher the next year. I work hard.
“Some awards I got were Most Improved, Best Section, and Most Outstanding Battery Member. Last year, I got a [gold] medal with [PCC’s drum line].
“Recently, I enjoyed my Memorial [Day] weekend camp with the Cadets. They just gave us a bunch of music to learn, and we loved it. I’m next to the center snare. My section leader, and everyone overall, is super chill and work hard. All the section leaders beat us up pretty badly, but in a good way. Everyone’s pushing me to get better, I didn’t think everyone would be that close. We’re just getting closer and closer. It’s a lot of hard work, [but it’s also] super fun. They gave it to us Friday, and we had to memorize it this weekend. My brain is still fried.
“I was section leader at PCC last year, so it [felt like] a huge step up from [PCC] to that ensemble.
“Drum set and snare are for sure my favorite instruments because I’ve been studying it. I’d like to learn other instruments within the drum line and eventually become director.
“I like marching with the band more instead of indoor drum line. I need that brass when I perform. I get those chills from performing with them.
“Audience hype is awesome, when they start cheering for us while performing. I love it and always play off from it. It’s for sure my favorite part of performing. It pushes me to get better, like I can’t mess up once I hear them get hyped.
“In the future, I want to perform. Play drumset. Maybe teach a little on the side, I do that for my drum line already at the high school I graduated from, James Monroe High School in North Hills. I take the bus from here to there; it’s a two hour ride, but it’s so worth it.”