PHS Drumline drums up student hype with heavy metal

Hala Habahbeh, A&E Editor

The tenors. The snares. The cymbals. Crashing. The students. Thudding. Screaming. Laughing. The music erupted, filling the 60 acres of Palatine High School, allowing for the energy to be felt from the stadium. It is the time of the night for heavy metal. 

After each home game, the PHS drumline, band, and friends gather at the flagpole for one last performance for the night: heavy metal. Including singing, screaming, and dancing, heavy metal is a special Palatine drumline tradition used to end the Friday Night Lights. 

“Heavy Metal is a composition of short songs called “ditties” that are played consecutively,” drum-line section leader Nadia Metzo said. 

Each ‘ditty’ garners a different response from the crowd allowing for the crowd to be included without being in the drumline. Ranging from simply grooving to the beats of the drums and reaching specific choreography.

“There are two parts of heavy metal: there’s the part that the drumline plays,” director of bands Carlos Esquivel said. “Then there’s a lot of dancing that goes along with it.” 

Anyone and everyone are welcome to partake in this special Palatine tradition and are encouraged to join.

“It’s a way to bring people together, no matter where they come from at school,” Metzo said. “It keeps the students hyped and excited even if our football team loses, it lifts everyone’s spirits.”

Heavy metal isn’t like any other tradition. With a long and unknown history, heavy metal has remained a cherished tradition.

“When I came into the job, I didn’t really understand [heavy metal] until I saw it,” Esquivel said. “I also just heard from the students that it was something important to them to continue doing so.” 

PHS Drumline leads students in a bombastic song, with little rehearsal to boot. (Hala Habahbeh)

As all traditions aim to achieve, heavy metal certainly meets the expectations of creating an inclusive and inspiring environment. 

“There’s a lot of traditions that bands have at their own individual schools,” Esquivel said. “But all I know is that this is something that is special here.”

Traditions, like heavy metal, that have been around for decades are bound to change and adapt as new students become part of the tradition. The new students change the dance as each new generation grooves to the beats of the drums differently. 

“It’s changed over the years like some of the dances,” Esquivel said.

Even as dances have evolved, heavy metal values have remained the same: having fun. Having fun is what makes heavy metal special because there’s no pressure from the academic realm. 

Yet, that’s not the only thing that makes heavy metal so special. 

“It’s very student-led,” Esquivel said.  “This is a special student thing.”

The band directors don’t choreograph heavy metal, nor is it conducted by them. The entire performance, dancing, and positive energy are created by band students, specifically the drumline, for all the students. It allows for leadership and inclusivity for all involved.

Join the PHS drumline for heavy metal after any home football or basketball games.