MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rosemount High School is known for their fine arts, and music in particular.

Their marching band has played at the Rose Parade in California, for the world-champion Minnesota Lynx and even at last year’s We Day at the Xcel Energy Center.

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“[The drumline is] the pulse and heartbeat of the marching band,” said Leon Sieve, one of three band directors.

With 203 students in the marching band, Rosemount has the largest in the state. Forty-three students make up the drumline.

“You have to have a great drumline to have a great band,” he said. “You have to have a great band to have a great drumline.”

The center snare position is held by senior Alex Malecha. Her position sets the beat for the drumline, which sets the beat for the whole band.

“Without the drumline, without the other drums giving pretty much the backbeat to all the music — it’s just not the same without the drums,” Malecha said.

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What remains the same is their important function, according to band director Andrew Dussl: setting the pace on the football field, just as they did on the battlefield.

“It originated out of militaristic tradition. It goes all the way back to fife and drums giving commands in early city-states, giving commands to troops on the fields,” Dussl said. “As soon as they start that cadence, it’s all about the groove, it’s all about entertainment and feeling great. They provide time. It’s about emoting and connecting to an audience and making everyone clap their hands and get into it.”

These beat keepers make it look easy, but their instruments can weigh 40 pounds. Drummers aren’t just musicians — they are athletes.

“Our drumline performs for the student body at pep fest assemblies and then in front of the student section at football games, and they are like rock stars,” Sieve said.

Senior section leader Matt Skare says there’s nothing like having a good performance.

“The emotion that flows through you after the show, and you’re looking up at the crowd and they’re all on their feet cheering,” Skare said. “I can’t even explain it in words. It’s amazing.”

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At last year’s We Day, the Rosemount Marching Band rocked a crowd of 17,000 at the Xcel Energy Center.