OPHS drumline performs for top Grammys executives

Despite the intensity of Oak Park High School’s marching band season, some student percussionists took the opportunity to add another performance to their semester. This time, the biggest producers and executives of the Grammys, the music industry’s top award show, were in attendance. 

“The people there were mostly the top brass of recording companies,” sophomore drummer Ethan Shmorak said. “The entire music industry is run by the people who were in that room.”

Held at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel on Nov. 2, the event was the first meeting of the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, led by Chair Tammy Hurt, since the pandemic. Drumline is composed of standalone percussion instruments and drums that can be strapped on and worn while marching in formation. In front of the Recording Academy, the students performed a setlist of four songs, including one written by OPHS alumni.

“[Hurt] wanted to start this meeting with a nostalgic performance,” Shmorak said. “Many of the board members were in band in high school and most are active musicians.”

The drumline’s involvement was intended to be a surprise for the Recording Academy. The performers carried their uniforms and instrument cases into an underground conference room. There they met with the head of the Recording Academy while enjoying a continental breakfast before the performance.

“[Hurt] thanked us for being there and described how meaningful the event was after quarantine,” Shmorak said. “After handing out some Grammy drumsticks, she bid us farewell until the show.”

The presentation also served as a precursor to the talent of the upcoming winter drumline season.

“I’m looking forward to mainly the competitions and meeting new people in drumline,” sophomore drummer Navya Sreeraj said. “My favorite part is the people. It’s fun to play music and create a beat with other people and connect through music.”