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Experience helps JI-Row drum up votes

Grant Smucker, a fourth-year in biomedical engineering; Austin Willman, a second-year in communication; Brandon Kimbro, a fourth-year in human nutrition and community health; Jarrod Maynard, a third-year in construction system management; all snare drummers for the OSU marching band, play an original beat during the Red Bull Tum Tum Pa drumming compeition held at the Haskett Hall Sound Stage.

When voting ends Tuesday, four snare drummers from the Ohio State marching band might have a chance to represent more than OSU in Brazil.

The drummers won the central Ohio Red Bull Tum Tum Pa freestyle drumming competition last month, which consisted of teams of up to four people competing in two rounds. The competition does not allow for any actual instruments to be played. Instead, the competitors used school supplies like rulers, buckets, pencils and notebooks to play on buckets and Red Bull cans. According to the Red Bull website, Tum Tum Pa is the “first Freestyle Drumming Competition for students.”

Though four teams participated in the April 14 round of competition, none had the musical background or technical know-how of the snare drummers, who called themselves JI-Row and was the only team made up entirely of marching band members.

Team members are in the J and I row of the marching band, which is where they derive their name.

After winning the regional competition for central Ohio, the group created a video of the one-minute original song it created for the second round of the competition, which was then posted on the Red Bull website.

To advance to the national competition, fans vote on the videos online. The top five videos from each conference will make it to nationals when voting ends on Tuesday. Currently, JI-Row leads both the Midwest Conference and the entire nation in total votes. As of Sunday evening, they were ahead by about 2,000 votes.

Brandon Kimbro, a fourth-year in human nutrition and JI-Row band member, said he is humbled and excited to have so much success.

“It’s an honor,” Kimbro said. “It’s truly awesome to have OSU come together and help make this happen.”

The one-minute song featured something none of the other bands in the regional competition had: actual sheet music.

“I knew I could write some good stuff but also some challenging stuff so that we could keep up with the competition,” said Jarrod Maynard, a third-year in civil engineering and JI-Row member.

Kimbro said they still have their work cut out for them.

“Having the most votes is only half the battle,” he said. “Hopefully, the Red Bull judges will think our video was creative enough to move on from nationals and let us represent the United States.”

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