Cat’s Got His Drum
Chase Tomberlin, a senior music major from Greer, SC, has more going on in his life than just going to class and studying. He has a part-time job, but not just any part-time job. He travels two times a week, maybe more, to Charlotte, NC to rehearse with the Carolina Panthers PurrCussion drumline, a percussion ensemble that performs during every Carolina Panthers home game.
“Being on the sideline of an NFL game is a lot of fun,” said Tomberlin.
He heard about the drumline from a friend he taught with through North Greenville Indoor Percussion, a non-profit youth percussion ensemble sponsored by North Greenville University. He auditioned in April, shortly after the end of the Indoor season.
“Getting to play again after having aged out from most ensembles in the percussion world has been a great opportunity. Also, I’ve enjoyed getting to work with a phenomenal staff and members,” he said.
PurrCussion is an 11-month commitment, which includes rehearsals, performing at all Panthers home games, and making charity and corporate appearances throughout the year. The group consists of snare drums, tenor drums, bass drums, and cymbal players.
When asked how he juggles his class schedule around rehearsals and gamedays, he replies, “The Carolina Panthers is a great organization to work for and [they] do everything possible to make scheduling very straight forward for the drumline. Our schedule for the vast majority of our contract year is given to us at the start of the season.”
Rehearsals take place at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons so he does not miss class.
“As for gamedays, the only conflicts I have had are the weeknight games and my professors have been more than willing to work around these days and let me make-up anything I missed from class,” Tomberlin added. “The community and corporate appearances throughout the year are booked based on the availability of the members.”
Tomberlin started playing drums at the age of seven. He became more serious about playing percussion when he was a student at Riverside High School. He has performed with NGU’s percussion ensemble, concert band, and orchestra, but is not currently.
When asked if he has had the opportunity to meet Cam Newton or any other Panther football stars, he replied, “I haven’t met Cam [Newton] or Christian [McCaffrey], but I have met Luke Kuechly and Graham Gano."
PurrCussion members are required to re-audition every year and Tomberlin plans to be a part of it as long as he continues to make the line.
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