Drummer Boy

By Kate Hassett

Drummer Boy
He didn't want to quit band, but he had to, until his teacher found another way for him to stay.

Ethan Och’s favourite pastime was playing drums in his high school band, until one day when he decided to quit.

Ethan suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy and when he began to lag behind in class, he seemingly exhausted all options, before deciding to leave. He switched to lighter, aluminium drumsticks and even had the sticks velcroed to his wrists once his grip started to go. After a while though, his disease got the better of his body and he was no longer able to keep up with the rest of his band mates.

So when he told his teacher that his time in band was coming to an end, he was surprised to learn that she was not going to let him go without a fight.

Instead of accepting Ethan’s resignation, Gina Christopherson went home that night and downloaded 75 apps to see if there was something that Ethan could use instead of a physical drum kit.

She emerged triumphant, setting up a system whereby Ethan would keep the pace on a specialty drumming app on his Ipad. She then attached the app to a surround-sound speaker system that mimicked perfectly, the sound of his beloved drum kit.

She even installed an on-the-go version of his amplifier by connecting it to a car battery and had it pushed next to him in a stroller, so he could perform with the marching band

“He’s part of the team – you don’t leave somebody behind.” Christopherson told media.

Now Ethan can continue to be apart of something he loves and not feel like his disorder is holding him back in any way.




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