Tilley Drumline contest to feature A&T, NCCU
This year’s Mike Tilley Drumline Competition at Hillside High School will pit the host school’s drumline against local rival Southern High School as well as Kinston High, Dudley High from Greensboro and the 2012 champs, Warren County High School on March 9 at Hillside.
But the broader draw will be two rival drumlines that include Hillside alumni -- N.C. Central University and N.C. A&T University.
It’s the first time A&T and NCCU will both perform at the Tilley drumline contest, said organizer Adrian Carroll. NCCU comes every other year, and it is the first visit by A&T. Carroll started the competition in 2006 and named it for Hillside High drumline member Mike Tilley, who died May 20, 2005, from suicide. Carroll also organizes the Battle of the Bands between high schools each fall that features performances by HBCU bands. This past fall, A&T and NCCU’s full bands performed, as well as Winston-Salem State University and Elizabeth City State University. In 2005, Tilley was a senior and bass drum player that Carroll was mentoring as the teenager was “finding his way out of a gang,” Carroll said. “He was an outgoing, enthusiastic guy.”
Carroll established a college scholarship fund in Tilley’s name for Hillside marching band members. Six scholarships for $500 each have been given out to students. The Mike Tilley Drumline Competition is a fundraiser for the scholarship. Funds also go toward The C-NOTE Foundation and Hillside High School Marching Band. Scholarships are given out in the spring performance arts award ceremony at Hillside.
The NCCU dance team Eclipse will also perform, and the A&T drumline dance team, Cool Mist. Other drumlines include Mt. Calvary United Church of Christ’s drumline P-Storm and the Research Triangle Charter Academy Drummers. Hillside’s drumline is called Blue Steel, and Southern’s drumline is Black Ice.
Carroll thinks the appeal of drumlines is in the techniques and precision of tricks.
“It’s a big production show, a big showdown between A&T and Central,” Carroll said. “It’s just another fun, community annual event I’m doing, and also giving back.”