Instructor Frederick Walker is by far one of the most unusual 23 year olds you will ever meet. Frederick is the behind the scenes driving force and the musical genius responsible for Huntsville Community Drumline’s (HCDL) successful free percussion program. He does all the work, I receive all the accolades. What’s unusual about Fred, is that he doesn’t seem to mind me (his mother) being in the spotlight. What’s even more unusual is that he doesn’t receive compensation (other than room and board). He has clocked over 1200 volunteer hours since June of 2010 when I founded HCDL. For 5 years he has arranged his work schedule and now his work and school schedule around HCDL’s schedule.
Fred is a trailblazer whose dedication and patience with hundreds of children who come to Huntsville Drumline from all over North Alabama, most who have never had any formal music training, is extraordinary. They arrive expecting to play the drums. However, in addition to playing the drums, under Frederick’s specialized no nonsense, instruction, every child is taught and expected to read music and every child is taught and expected to teach his teammates.
The Huntsville Drumline Stickmasters and Mini-masters, perform only original music written and directed by Frederick. Each of their performances (which Fred rarely attends) is executed with expertise uncommon in youth their ages. As an instructor, a role model and a mentor, he fills many gaps in children’s lives…by creating an opportunity to channel musical talent. He does not discriminate. He yells at them equally and expects the same amount of disciplinary pushups no matter what a child’s age, gender, circumstance or situation may be. Under 23 year old Frederick Walker’s leadership, the youth of Huntsville Community Drumline are achieving their greatness, one beat at a time while winning the hearts of many across North Alabama.
(Except those who do not like loud sounds)