While everyone was looking for ideas on how to celebrate this year's Father's Day, which fell on Sunday, 19 June 2022, Pathfinders from Doncaster, Sheffield Burngreave and Bradford Pathfinder Clubs celebrated the day by acquiring new skills during a weekend of training in drumming and percussion. The training, organised by the Doncaster Club, attracted 30 participants. It was fitting that drumsticks were the order of the day on the second day of the training, instead of chicken drumsticks which would have formed part of the food menu in people's homes on Father's Day.
Marcus Anti, a South England Conference (SEC) certified Drum Corps trainer and deputy Pathfinder Director at Holloway Adventist church, led the weekend training. Many Pathfinders decided to attend the Sabbath service in Doncaster to allow themselves sufficient time to be in the area for the afternoon session. During the family worship at the church, the local club welcomed their counterparts with a unique rendition of the chorus 'We welcome you', led by Praise Leader and Pathfinder Counsellor Panashe Muringani. The post-service fellowship lunch gave all pathfinders time to meet, greet, mingle, and share their experiences.
Starting with the theory part on Saturday afternoon, participants were given the instruction required to prepare them for the practical part of the training, which followed the next day. As part of the requirement, all participants took a theory exam. Marcus spent the evening marking the test papers, and they announced the results at the beginning of the practical session on Sunday morning. The highest scorer for the theory test was Glenys from Bradford Pathfinder Club (pictured receiving her certificate from Marcus).
Father's Day Drumsticks?
The Pathfinders, as budding drummers, received comprehensive tutoring on everything they needed to know before picking up drumsticks. Some of them, novices at the start of the training, ended up picking so many array of skills in drumming and percussion.
As this was Father's Day, a team served participants a sumptuous fellowship dish prepared by Mumsy Mbano, Lina Mavika and Naledi Mbano as part of the hospitality team for the event. During this break for fellowship lunch, I got to know our certified trainer first-hand. Marcus, a husband and a father, drove from Bedford to Doncaster for the weekend to be part of this training. While he may have missed being with his family at their Father's Day meal, he shared his skills with our young people this weekend. I could not think of a better way for any father to have made a very lasting impact in the lives of our Pathfinders, as was the case on this occasion. All fathers should get one particular day out of the year dedicated to celebrating their impact on children's lives.
Why Drum Corps?
A drum corps is a group of Pathfinders aged 10 through 18 and registered members of the Pathfinder Club who minister through drumming and percussion. The minimum number of members per drum corps is 8, consisting of the following instruments: 3 snare drums, 2 pairs of cymbals, 2 bass and 1 multi-tom (septs, quints, quads, or trios). You can find the complete list of the SEC-certified drum corps criteria here. The drumming and percussion honour, together with basic drilling and marching honour, forms part of the requirements for the drum corps.
Pathfinder Clubs with a drill team and drum corps will not miss a beat or step to serve the community, as they demonstrate their skills and wow the onlooking crowds with precision moves at events such as international camporees, local or national events. The local council and government can also invite the drum corps to lead in faith marches to protest against gun and knife crime, at Remembrance Day parades, or once-in-a-lifetime events such as the recent Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations. So, if you are up for a challenge and fun, Pathfinder Clubs are encouraged to take up these skills in readiness for community events.
Drums for your club?
In the future, drumming and percussion training will form part of a tradition that will bring local Pathfinder Clubs together to enjoy upskilling for years to come. However, in between these refresher courses, each participant has been instructed to perfect the art and skill mastered at this training by owning their drumsticks and practising using tables at home. If a club holds a drum set like the Sheffield Burngreave Pathfinder Club, the drumming practice can be part of your monthly mingles. At Doncaster, we feel challenged to purchase our drum set to harness these skills in our newly trained Pathfinders. Gear4music is an excellent place to start looking for new drums https://www.gear4music.com/drum-kits.html.
What did the participants say?
To gain insights into this inaugural event, the organisers sent a post-attendance survey for the participants to complete. Overall, 80% of the participants rated the training very good or excellent, with none rating it average or poor. Similarly, 80% felt that the event time was convenient for them. However, 20% did not feel so. Most participants (2/3) had some knowledge of drumming and percussion, mainly through seeing their older Pathfinders drumming. While most participants felt that the presentations were at the right speed, one-fifth thought it was too fast for them.
The leaders have challenged the Pathfinders to develop their new skills as they serve God. A few pictures are here, showing the training in action.