FOREST CITY - Waldorf College is getting ready for its first-ever percussion ensemble: the Warrior Line drum line, which will start this fall.
Chris Ward, director of the ensemble, joined the college this summer as its music office/percussion coordinator.
Ward's initial plan is to start small and establish a strong foundation for the ensemble, with the goal of growing bigger every semester.
"That's where my passion lies," said Ward. "We are going to start with a drum line this fall and then a marching band."
A lot of members don't have a percussion background, "so this fall we are going to learn how to play drums and hold the sticks," Ward said.
Ward is writing a show that will be similar to the Winter Guard International Indoor Drumline that will culminate with a concert at the end of the semester.
Born and raised in Decorah, Ward earned his master's degree in percussion performance, music history and audio engineering from Western Michigan University and a bachelor's degree in music from University of Northern Iowa. After graduating from Western Michigan, he worked as the interim director of bands and directed a 300-member marching band at the university for a year.
He then moved to La Crosse, Wis., and joined the Blue Stars Drums and Bugle Corps, where he led the band to a variety of tours across the country. As the traveling got heavy for his family, he switched to working as a salesperson at a music store and taught percussion and drum lines at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.