Glen Ward’s office is a closet in the basement of the Armory, filled with multi-tenors, snares and cream purple band uniforms, with barely enough room for the private lessons Ward gives (at no cost) to his students. Ward started teaching drums for the Parks and Recreation department of Columbia, Mo in the late 1990’s, in an effort he says, to make music assessable to those who would otherwise be unable.
In 2012, two of the nine drummers on his drum line were murdered. “These were kids who couldn’t look tough even if they tried.” Ward said. “It put iron in my words, so to speak. It was scary that I was down here, with the kids who were getting got, but I said that was what I wanted when I started this job.”
A new high school was built in 2013, which buses students in from the neighborhoods around the Armory. Older students are unable to make practices, and now Ward is left with only 4 students, two who are less than ten years old. Ward worries that his drum line isn’t reaching the same kids it used to, but is still instructing just as he did ten years ago--even if his younger students can only carry the drums for ten minutes at a time.