It’s been 11 years since the program started and since then the group has performed for over 1.5 million people across the Pacific Northwest, helped to plant over 25,000 Native trees and plants, removed invasive species from our green spaces, painted 3 homes with recycled paint, and helped remodel a dilapidated home for a family in need of affordable housing.
Who would have ever thought of all the adventures they would take together performing across the region, visiting college campuses, attending National College fairs, and traveling to the top of a 2 mile high mountain of trash when filming a documentary about where our trash begins and ends. Well that is what makes the One of A Kind Drumline so unique. Most people who hear the One Of A Kind Drumline for the first time will say that the group is “Amazing” and then they will continue to tell their story of how they “Heard the drumming and had to come see the group up close.” It is then that they see something much different than what they were expecting to see. They see kids performing like a fine tuned machine while demonstrating leadership far beyond their years. This excellence through leadership is what Edward A. Esparza, the leader of the One Of A Kind Drumline strive to achieve with each of his students.
The One Of A Kind Drumline performs a very upbeat, high energy, and inspirational set of drumming cadences that not only moves the audience, but also motivates them to strive for excellence as they see the Drumline demonstrate that anything is possible. The program is a college and life readiness program using the drum as a tool for excellence.
The One Of A Kind Drumline was started in October of 2003 at King Elementary school of the Vancouver Public Schools by Esparza along with seven students and the support volunteer Tammy Cline. The group started out by using equipment that he had collected and refurbished over his many years of performing.
Along the way he has shared his passion for drums and drumming with his students and has taught them that drumming isn’t just about playing the drums, but rather that the students need to see that the drums are an extension of themselves. Esparza believes that this understanding can help the students to better see the importance of learning that when they learn to respect and control the drum they can learn to apply that same discipline to themselves both personally, academically, and socially.
Since its beginning the One Of A Kind Drumline has grown to consist of students from grades 2 to 12 and beyond with one student who recently graduated from Embry Riddle University and another who is currently attending Colorado State University. The program is supported by Esparza and the students as well as their parents. The students understand that in order to participate they must demonstrate leadership in all areas of their lives.