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Three from Central to hit road on tour
FCHS Drummers 2 es
The three from Forsyth Central High will perform in a traveling drum corps this summer. - photo by Emily Saunders
Three local teenagers will be marching to an Iowa band’s beat this summer.

Shawn Rochester, Andrew Shelton and Shelby Brooks will perform in the percussion section of the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps of Dubuque, Iowa.

Rochester and Shelton are 2009 graduates of Forsyth Central High School and Brooks will graduate later this month.

Rochester said he’s excited about the opportunity.

“It’s definitely a big deal for me,” he said. “It’s a big step in my career because I’m going into music education. I’ve heard ... that I’ll be learning more on the road than I will in four years in college.”

The 19-year-old plays the bass drum. A student at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, he is a member of the school’s Golden Eagle Band.

The Central contingent was chosen from about 350 musicians who auditioned nationwide.

The Colts are scheduled to tour more than 65 days and perform more than 40 times for audiences estimated to exceed 200,000 people.

July 31, the group will participate in Drum Corps International’s Regional Championships at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Rochester said it’s rare for three students from the same school to play for the Colts.

“We went through the drumline together throughout high school,” he said. “The three of us got together and decided one day nobody’s ever done this so let’s do it. Let’s set a standard.’”

Despite the fact they will be sleeping in gymnasiums and eating food prepared in a kitchen truck, the three can’t wait to get started.

Shelton, 18, is an instructor for the Lambert High School band and performed in this year’s Pariah Marching Percussion Theater during the winter season. He plays the tenor drum, also known as “quads.”

Shelton’ll be playing alongside the drumline captain from the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band, among others.

He said auditions were tough and three of the five spots available were already taken.

“I was fighting for this last spot, between me and this other kid, and I got it,” he said.

Brooks, 17, graduates this year. She plays the marimba and tenor drum and is in the school’s Flash of Crimson Marching Band and the Forsyth Central Drumline.

She said she’s not sure what instrument she’ll be playing this summer, though she’ll use mallets like those with the marimba.

“It was tough preparing for it just because I’d never played mallets before I started thinking about doing drum corps this summer,” she said. “I started playing mallets because I was going to do drum corps.

“I wasn’t really expecting to make it, but at the same time it’s an awesome thing for me to do without any prior experience.”

Brooks said while she’s excited to hit the road, she’s not sure she’s fully prepared for the three-month stint.

In addition to Atlanta, the Colts will compete at major shows in Denver, Dallas, Houston and other locations around the country.