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Fuse drumming: Hittmen spread their beats throughout the Bay of Plenty

Alualumoana Luaitalo

A group of Bay of Plenty youngsters are using bucket drums to entertain and inspire others.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Eight Tauranga schools have signed up for fuse drumming, which doesn’t require an expensive kit - just a bucket and some drumsticks.

Carl Homersham is the manager of Hittmen, a programme that develops young drummers.

He started the group about nine years ago and has been striving to make the fuse drumming scene more well-known in New Zealand.

“We stand out, and we are unique.”

Homersham said he was inspired by the hit international show STOMP, which used items ranging from hands and feet, to poles, pots and pans to create rhythm, dance and music.

“Seeing [it on] the streets of New York - I loved the whole sound and theatrics of it.”

The student drummers used the base of buckets to make music with their hands, as well as drumsticks, and sometimes legs and feet, he said.

“The older students advance into our Hittmen group, but fuse drumming is offered from five years old to when they leave school.”

The group has shot a series of music videos to build their social media following, and had their first-ever Hittmen stage show in 2021.

The students have performed during halftime breaks at Chiefs matches at the FMG Stadium Waikato, and Homersham said it was a great exposure for the young men.

He said he was grateful for the support from parents, who usually helped by raising money or paid out of their own pockets to buy gear.

Annalisa Shepherd, whose son Lucas Shepherd attends Aquinas College, said Homersham had provided many students with a creative outlet.

“My son’s grandparents are one of Hittmen’s biggest fans. They travel frequently from Auckland to attend performances,” she said.

Lucas said the experience had helped with his coordination and confidence.

“I was six years old when I started with fuse drumming.

“It was different, fun and a type of music I hadn’t heard before.”

Assistant Principal Jo West from Bethlehem College (Primary) said it had a positive impact on students.

“I can tell you when they play together, you get a sense of community.

“It draws them together to bring such beautiful sounds and music.

“The new entrants just love everything about drumming on the buckets. It brings big smiles on their faces.”

Other schools involved are Pillans Point School, Bethlehem College (Primary), Omanu Primary, Kura Kokiri, Golden Sands, Tahatai Coast School, Suzanne Aubert Catholic School.

Hero Image: Advanced fuse drumming students at Aquinas College. Daniel Moore, left, Tristan Sparks and Lucas Shepherd.

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