14-year old drummer pursues his passion


By Matt Stone

Passion can be defined in many ways. It is also a word thatís applicable to many kinds of pursuits. For Austin Scates, 14, his passion lies with drumming.

Starting when he was 10, Austin had high goals set from day one. Starting out, he idolized Travis Barker, drummer for the band Blink 182. But as he grew, Austin slowly evolved into a more fully rounded music lover.

This diversity yields to his music, making his playing even better. Living within the boundaries of a top marching band in the state, Corona del Solís drum line became the pinnacle of his expectations.

Austin practiced tirelessly for the next four years, aiming to do what is rare: make the Corona drum line as an incoming freshman. With the school bringing home a plethora of awards from festivals and competitions in the state and out, the task seemed almost unattainable.

Austin, however, went into tryouts with nothing but winning on his mind, angling to defy the odds. 

ďI had to practice a lot, a few hours every day, went to all the help sessions and got lessons from someone previously on the drum line,Ē said Austin.

That is just what he did and then some. When the results came back, Austin found himself not only on the drum line as an incoming freshman but also on the snare line.

Barely a teenager, he had done what had never been done in the 28-year history of the school: make the snare line as an incoming freshman.


Photo by David Stone

Excited beyond words, the boy and his parents did not fully understand the gravity of the honor until Bill Richardson, former band director for the Aztecs, sought him out to congratulate him.

This only encouraged Austin to work even harder.

With his own personal life and his grueling practice schedule during marching season--in which Austin shows up to rehearsal at 5:30 a.m. each day, has 3-hour drum line practices every Tuesday, sectionalsand private lessons--Austin does not feel overwhelmed.

Modest by nature, he takes more pride in the achievements of the drum line and band as a whole then he does his own personal accomplishments.

In addition to his school-related band functions, Austin plays in his own band, FrontRunner. Playing local venues, the group feeds off Austinís talent and energy.

His drive is the most impressive part of Austinís personality, fueling him to continually strive to be better.

ďThe kid just loves it so much,Ē said Vicki Scates, Austinís mother.

As if the rigorous schedule Austin maintains for his drumming is not enough, he also keeps his academics a priority. Riding the honor roll all throughout middle school, Austin is fixated on keeping the same grades in high school.

In addition, sports and church play a big role in Austinís life, giving him a breather from his playing when needed.

Now that one hurdle has been passed, Austin does not intend to stay satisfied. In the future he hopes to try out for a drum corps, one of which is the Blue Devils.

He knows the road will not be easy, though such deterrents have failed to sway him in the past.

In this instance, passion proves to be a major lift to obtaining those far off fantasies and making them a reality.