The sound of beating drums echoed through the streets of downtown Tyler on Thursday morning; except this wasn’t any ordinary drum line – this drum line was made of students from Caldwell Arts Academy, and they were beating on buckets.

“Bucket drumming started in New York City with Larry (Wright),” Caldwell Arts Academy Phil Rumbley said. “In our percussion class, instead of playing the traditional drums, we do a section and a unit where we play bucket drums.”

The young drummers started their march at the school, and marched in single file up College Street to the downtown square, where they sat in front of the T.B. Butler Fountain and continued their performance.

“Kids want to play drums,” Rumbley said. “So at the first of the year when I said we’re playing buckets, they really weren’t up for that. As time went on and I showed them different things and different sounds you could make, they kind of gravitated toward that. Then when I told them we were going to the square to play they really got excited.”

The students’ performance included a combination of practiced drum pieces, as well as some improvised acts by the students. As Rumbley set the tempo with a cowbell, the students’ rhythmic beats rumbled and drew a small audience.

“We’re a fine arts academy. This is just one facet of that – our kids can be creative,” Rumbley said.

As the Caldwell students finished up their performance downtown, they picked up their buckets and headed back to class, marching to the beat of their own drum.

Digital Multimedia Journalist

Ben Fenton is a digital multimedia journalist that has worked at the Tyler Morning Telegraph since 2019. He is from Lindale, Texas and holds a Bachelors in Digital Media and a Masters in Communication.

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