Steeline wants to kick start fundraising drive
Members of Pittsburgh Steeline would like to march to the beat of their own drums.
The all-volunteer, independent drum line -- whose stated mission is to entertain the fans of Steeler Nation -- soon may be forced to perform an about-face if it can't get some drums.
The group, which has performed at a Steelers game, tailgating sites near Heinz Field, Steelers bars and community events around the region, previously rented drums from a local musical organization that no longer can provide the drums because of other commitments.
While exploring ways to raise money to buy drums and equipment, Pittsburgh Steeline founder Vince Wallace of Monroeville said the members came up with the idea of launching a fundraising campaign through the Kickstarter website, an online funding platform for creative projects.
Through their Kickstarter page, Mr. Wallace said, the drummers hope to rally community support to raise the money needed to buy a starter set of marching drums. The fundraising campaign was launched Sept. 17 and quickly raised $850. The group, however, needs $7,500 to return to Heinz Field and keep on drumming.
"If we own our own stuff, then we can really guarantee that this could be a thing," Mr. Wallace said. "We could incorporate, we could get some organization to it, and we could really start to take off."
Mr. Wallace started the group a little more than a year ago after watching videos taken by a friend who directs the drum line for the Philadelphia Eagles.
In addition to Philadelphia, other cities that have this type of entertainment, include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, San Francisco and Seattle, where drum lines are sponsored by the National Football League teams and members are paid as professional musicians.
"This has never really been done in Pittsburgh," Mr. Wallace said. "There's such a great football fan base and such a sports culture here, I think people would love it."
Pittsburgh Steeline has 20 members that play traditional drum line drums, including marching snares, tenors, bass drums and cymbals.
Members wear black and gold and drum to the beat of popular stadium songs such as "Black and Yellow" by Wiz Khalifa, "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited and "Sandstorm" by Darude.
They range in age from their 20s to early 30s and are mostly local schoolteachers and drum line coaches. Mr. Wallace, a music teacher for Propel Schools, said some members have their own equipment, but it's not enough to keep them going.
The group has performed at Steelers bars and venues around the region. Its most recent performance was Aug. 30 at Heinz Field at the Steelers game against the Carolina Panthers.
Mr. Wallace said the reaction of fans to their performance was one of unbelievable and overwhelming support.
"Every single person we talk to or see just goes absolutely crazy when they see us," he said. "That's what keeps us going. We see how much the fans like us and how much they appreciate us being there playing."
He equated the energy created by the drum line to that of cheerleaders and mascots.
"We are trying to be a Steeler-themed drum line," Mr. Wallace said. "We want to play for and entertain Steeler fans who are there for the game. It's a really unique thing that we've really come to love."
For information or to donate: www.tinyurl.com/steelinekick.
First Published October 4, 2012 12:00 am