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The Hittmen are spreading their beats throughout the Bay of Plenty

Alualumoana Luaitalo

A group of Tauranga young men and boys who are using bucket drums to entertain and inspire others

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Hittmen are a group of young men and boys who are using bucket drums to entertain and inspire others.

Eight Tauranga schools are now involved in the creative experience of fuse drumming, which is an easy programme that doesn’t need an expensive kit, just a bucket and some drumsticks.

And that movement is where Carl Homersham, the manager of Hittmem, is developing drummers starting from as young as new entrants.

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

“We stand out, and we are unique.

“There is no other group in the country like us.”

Homersham says he was inspired by the successful international show STOMP, which used things including hands, feet, poles, pots, and pans to create rhythm, dance, and music.

“Well, you know, seeing the streets of New York and I loved the whole sound and theatrics of it.”

He says they use the base of buckets to make music with their hands, drumsticks and sometimes legs and feet.

“So it'll be the older students, who advanced into our Hittmen group, but the fundamental is that fuse drumming is offered from five years old to when they move on from out of school.”

The group started shooting a series of music videos to grow a social media presence while also planning their first ever Hittmen stage show in 2021.

The students have performed for halftime breaks in rugby matches like the Chiefs at the Waikato FMG Stadium, and Homersham says was a great exposure for the young men.

He says he is grateful for the support from parents, who usually help by raising money or pay out of their own pockets to buy gear like buckets and drumsticks.

Annalisa Shepherd, whose son Lucas Shepherd attends Aquinas College, says that he is now old enough to go to practice alone.

“He’s fifteen years old now, so you know, I'll just drop him off now and go to him, see you later.

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

She says Homersham has provided many students with a creative outlet.

Lucas says the experience has helped with his co-ordination and confidence.

“I was six years old when I started with fuse drumming, and it looked like fun.

“It was different and a type of music I hadn’t seen before.

Assistant Principal Jo West from Bethlehem College (Primary) says the impact

for students has been positive.

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

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

She also says that it is fulfilling to see the students get stuck into it from when they are young.

“The new entrants, they just love everything about drumming on the buckets, it’s the 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: Hittmen - Left to right: Daniel Moore, Tristan Sparks, Lucas Shepherd.

Advanced fuse drumming students drumming beats at Aquinas College.

Photo / Lorraine Schofield

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