WHEN Port Macquarie Vanguard sound their drums, you stop and listen.
On August 4, a contingent of 23 St Agnes Parish secondary school students led by Mark Spence did just that when judges could not fault their flawless performance to name them Australia’s best drum line troupe at the 18th annual National Percussion Eisteddfod in Sydney.
Up against some of the best drumming contingents from across the country, Port Macquarie Vanguard – made up of students from St Joseph’s Regional College, Mackillop College and Newman Senior Technical College – put one year of intensive training and practice into play to bring home the top title.
The national champions performed their five minute routine "The Tempest" and floored adjudicator Matt Cocking who awarded them first place in the Own Choice section.
They were also awarded Champion Drum Line for their entire body of work which also included a performance of a mandatory test piece.
Their show is an exhibition of modern US drum-corps vocabulary, with technically demanding musical passages played at the highest level of execution coupled with marching drill and flashy showmanship.
Vanguard co-ordinator Mark Spence said the result was a testament to hard work and a precision performance.
“This championship is the result of over a year of writing, planning and rehearsing, with the drum line meeting every week during the school year on Wednesday afternoons,” Mr Spence said.
In addition to taking home the national title, Hannah Daley, a year nine student from Mackillop College, took out second place in the Marching Snare Solo competition with her performance of "Cash Me Ousside, How Bow Dah?".
Harry Amon, in year 9 at St Joseph's Regional College, took out first place with "Half Pint".
They were the only competitors who played their solos from memory.
“Be proud Port Macquarie. Not only are you home to Australia's finest drum line, but can now lay claim to the top two marching snare drummers in the country, a feat matched in 2014 when Liam Coelho and Bailey Armstrong brought the same honours home,” Mr Spence said.
Port Macquarie Vanguard has now set the foundation for contemporary drum line competition. They hope to showcase their talents at a local level through more public performance.
Port Macquarie Vanguard perform:
Harry Amon of St Josephs Regional College took out first place in the marching snare solo with his solo Half Pint:
Hannah Daley of Mackillop College took out second place in the marching snare solo: