Drumlines for professional sports in the northeastern United States have kicked it up a notch with the talents of Gallant Entertainment.
Photo by Elizabeth Schrier
Since its formation in 2011, Gallant Entertainment—based in New York— has brought the art of drumline to a new level of professionalism with innovations such as proprietary lights that blink in time to the music, a one-of-a-kind microphone system, choreography and original charts. Shaun Gallant started the company with a vision to offer quality entertainment at sporting events. Today the company’s gigs include being the drumline for sports teams in football, basketball and hockey such as the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Jets, Boston Celtics and New Jersey Devils.
Halftime: What is Gallant Entertainment’s primary mission?
Gallant: To optimize creativity, imagination and class. To provide just a wide range of entertainment across all kinds of various genres. In addition to the drumlines, we do steel bands, we do drum and fife, we do show-style groups that we’re launching at the end of the year, we do bucket drumming, we do cover bands. It’s really [about] the client, you know.
Halftime: For which sports teams does Gallant Entertainment generally perform? What happens if there are multiple teams with games on the same day?
Gallant: We have performed with the Knicks, the Rangers, the Jets, the Giants, the New Jersey Devils, the New York Liberty, the Connecticut Suns, the Philadelphia Flyers and the New England Patriots. For football, we usually do all of the games. For the other sports, it’s usually the marquee games. We have enough people on our roster [and enough equipment] that we can facilitate … up to four groups at a time.
Halftime: For what other types of events does Gallant perform?
Gallant: The sports side is one third of what we do. We do a lot of private events, from a backyard barbeque to a rooftop party to a bar mitzvah to a birthday party to a wedding. That’s what we would consider like a smaller event. That’s the second side. The third side is corporate events. We love doing them because most of them are custom performances, so we will work with the client.
We did a UPS convention this summer, so what happened was we worked directly with the UPS team to create a performance that fulfilled their overall vision of what the convention was, and that included a specific number of performers, the look and feel of the ensemble, we created a custom track that the drumline played to … and LEDs on the drums. Creating top to bottom custom packages for clients in the corporate world—that’s really what they’re looking for—and we just love it because we get to be so creative. We’ve flown all over the country to do those, and we just love doing those and the sporting events and the private events.
Halftime: What made you decide to start Gallant Entertainment?
Gallant: We formed the company in October of 2011. I marched five years at Santa Clara Vanguard, two years in Vanguard Cadets and three years at Vanguard A Corps. And then I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in percussion performance, so the creative side of it was kind of a no-brainer.
How many times do you go to a drumline or a marching band competition or a percussion ensemble concert, and everyone’s kind of mesmerized by percussion, right? Not only is it visual, it’s an audible element. We know we have something special as percussionists, and with everything they learned in drum corps, [we’re] taking that and morphing it into kind of this entertainment aspect—finding that happy balance of extremely difficult music, yet entertaining and groovy. It’s a lot of good stuff; however, it’s also entertaining to the Average Joe as well.
Halftime: How has the company evolved over the years?
Gallant: We’ve gained tremendous momentum, and part of the reason we’ve been able to gain that momentum is due to our corporate partners. Our partnership with Yamaha, Zildjian and then Vic Firth and Evans Drumheads, just to name a few, has propelled us into all kinds of realms that we didn’t expect to go.
And we’ve gained a tremendous momentum and a reputation in the sports industry for excellence and professionalism. You know, something that we do that sets us apart is we’re not just a drumline. We truly are an entertainment company in the definition of the word. We’re going in, we’re producing these shows, we’re working with the client on design on every aspect.
We have different technology that we’re doing with the internal mic’ing systems in the drums, which is due to a corporate partnership with Randall May International. And then we’ve created an LED system that goes on the face of the drums that we use in corporate and NBA events. So, due to the relationships that we’ve made in the industry, it’s just allowed us to gain tremendous traction, momentum, in a very short period of time.
Halftime: Do you have any advice for marching performers, especially those who want to be professional marching musicians?
Gallant: I would say that one of the most important things we’ve learned is the way you carry yourself and the perception of your group to the executives.
About the Author
Liz Wright is an editorial intern at Halftime Magazine. She is a senior at the University of Cincinnati (UC) studying creative writing, communications and journalism. She marched trumpet for five years in the Kenston High School Marching Band in Bainbridge, Ohio, and for three years in the UC Bearcat Marching Band. After graduation, Liz hopes to pursue a career in copyediting.