By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Three dozen Philadelphia high school students are preparing to compete in the 2013 regional drumline competition to reclaim their number one spot.

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“We were first place winners five years in a row, then last year we came in second. So this year, we want to come back big and we’re coming for first place,” says 14-year-old Cameron Coulter.
He has been on the drumline for five years and plays the quad, which is four drums in one. He says music and the drumline is a positive force in his life.

“I like playing music. This is basically the only time when I shine,” says Coulter.

“The drumline is pretty elaborate,” says Denise Kinnery, executive director of Musicopia. “It has an xylophone, it has a multitude of different drums.”

(Credit: Drumline rehearsing Credit: Cherri Gregg)

(Credit: Drumline rehearsing Credit: Cherri Gregg)


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Kinney says school district budget cuts led to the non-profit taking over the drumline three years ago. She says the kids come from all over Philadelphia to rehearse twice a week at Ben Franklin High School and then compete on Saturdays.

“They’re the only independent drumline, meaning they’re not from a high school in the tri-state area,” says Kinney.

Patrick Urban is one of the music directors for the Musicopia Drumline. He says the students will perform their show titled “The Red Thread” which focuses on how different cultures and ethnicities are interconnected.

“It’s based on an ancient Chinese proverb that says we are all connected by an invisible red thread that may stretch or tangle throughout our lives, but it will never break,” says Urban.

She says the team has new uniforms and better equipment thanks to a Knight Foundation Grant. She’s hoping that’ll make the difference for the regional showdown in May.

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