It’s a groove that Brad Stockert found when he was still a kid.
“Even when I was a senior in high school, I had a few friends who were like, ‘Hey, could you teach me how to play drums?'” recalls Stockert. “And I was like, ‘Sure!'”
Now Stockert has over one hundred young drummers under his wing as the percussion specialist for Horizon, Simle, and Wachter Middle Schools in Bismarck.
“I love this level,” he says. “Especially beginner students. When you get a sixth grader, they are so eager to learn. That’s what they’re here for. I don’t think you get a more enthusiastic student than a sixth grader.”
Stockert spends hours with those enthusiastic kids in small group settings, establishing the fundamentals of drums and percussion.
And once they find the beat, it’s time to hit the street.
“For me, I always think of it as the percussion season,” says Stockert. He’s talking about marching band season — the first few weeks of the school year when the din of horns and drums fills the air.
When I caught up with Stockert, he was helping the Horizon Middle School marching band practice their steps ahead of this Saturday’s Autumnfest Parade in Bismarck. “It’s really a time for percussionists to shine and get to play something that they wouldn’t necessarily get to play during the school year,” he says. Then, with a laugh: “They also, I think, enjoy playing louder.”
Stockert’s guidance in the percussion section pays dividends during marching season. He even wrote Horizon’s drum cadence (that’s the intricate rhythm that helps the rest of the musicians stay in step). “It’s really cool to hear the students play,” Stockert says. “That idea that you had in your head comes to life, and you’re like, ‘That sounds great.'”
Sounds great? You bet it does. It’s the sound of a man with a passion for percussion — a groove that he just can’t shake.
“I pretty much think about drums just about 24/7, it seems,” he smiles. “I think my wife would testify to that — that drums are always a part of our house.”
That’s what makes Brad Stockert someone you should know.
The Autumnfest Parade is this Saturday starting at 10am, weather permitting.
To learn more about the parade, including the route, click here.