Oct. 26, 2009
Before the first pitch is thrown at Atlanta Braves baseball games, the beats from Ahmad Worthy’s drum already have the fans cheering.
The Georgia State University junior has been a snare drum player for the Atlanta Braves Heavy Hitters Drumline for four years. Clad in a Braves baseball jersey, Worthy performs for fans before, during and after baseball games.
“It’s really exciting to be able to play with the Atlanta Braves and entertain the fans,” Worthy said. “It’s the sounds of the drums that bring a lot of movement and excitement towards the game. The fans enjoy it and sometimes they even come on the stage and dance with us.”
Worthy, 22, started playing the drums in third grade. Since then he has honed his precision and energy through years of training with other percussion groups, including the Tri-Cities High School Marching Band, the Clark Atlanta University Marching Band and the Atlanta Drumline.
When Worthy isn’t playing the drums, he’s able to share his musical gifts with children at Georgia State as an intern in the College of Education’s Lanette L. Suttles Child Development Center.
“Working here, I gained a passion for working with young children,” Worthy said. “I work in the toddler classroom where I keep the children safe, while teaching and developing them physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.”
Worthy is majoring in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Birth Through Five. He knows that his enthusiasm for music will help him in the classroom.
“When I’m working here with the children there are xylophones, a piano and drums. You are teaching them sounds, teaching them to dance and how to express themselves emotionally,” Worthy said. “I believe that music defines life. Everything is run by music because everything has some type of sound.”
To become a member of the Braves Heavy Hitters Drumline, musicians must not only be a good drummer, but they must have charisma and a knack for entertaining a crowd with marching, stick twirling and dancing.
“Playing the drums was natural for me,” he said. “I can play all the instruments in the percussion section, from the snare drum to the quads, to the bass drum. They call me ‘fill-in’ because I can fill-in on any instrument if a person is out.”
“You have to love what you do because the fans want a show at all times,” Worthy said. “We look for talented individuals who are able to bring a positive attitude and vibe towards the team.”
Currently there are 15 members on the tight knit drumline, who play together so much around Atlanta that they rarely have scheduled rehearsals. Many of Heavy Hitters are also paid members of the Atlanta Drumline, Worthy said.
“We play any time some one needs drummers around Atlanta, so there’s just a vibe we have when we come together,” said Worthy, who’s most memorable experience was being able to play against the Alabama State University drumline at Turner Field.