Northwest band director refurbishing school’s drums this summer
The drum line in Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Ranger Marching Band will have a whole new look this fall thanks to the effort of some talented Northwest employees and students.
John Ungurait, director of bands for Northwest is working on a summer project to completely refurbish the band’s 15-year-old drums. Ungurait said that the drums, which were originally white, have yellowed over the years. “The drums weren’t bad looking unless you got up close. We have always taken good care of them, but they are 15 years old. Usually, drums last about eight years or so with regular use, but we take extra precautions to prolong their lives,” Ungurait said.
He explained that each summer they take the drums completely apart and repair any needed parts. This year they sent the white shells over to Northwest’s cabinet shop and the capable hands of Northwest cabinetmaker Fate Williams. “Fate stripped all of the plastic coating, refinished them with a maple finish, stained them “Northwest” blue, sealed them and lacquered them about five times. He has done a great job,” Ungurait said.
A total of nine snares, five sets of tenors and five bass drums are being refurbished, Ungurait said. “We are refurbishing all of these drums for the price it would have cost the college to buy basically one drum,” Ungurait said.
In addition to staining and laminating they are polishing the chrome hardware on each drum. They have sent the snare drum hardware to a shop in Memphis to be powder-coated, Ungurait said. “These drums will look and sound brand new because every part that is bent or damaged will have been replaced or repaired,” he added.
Band camps will begin in late July and early August. The drum, color guard and Rangerettes will have their summer camp July 22-26, and the rest of the marching band will have camp from Aug. 5-9.
Ungurait said that he expects to have anywhere between 165 to 185 students in the band this year. This year’s show will be a Latin pop show with selections from Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez. Also, former Assistant Band Director John Mixon is returning to Northwest this fall. Mixon previously served as assistant director of bands from 2008-2011.
Ungurait is excited about the “new” drums they will be using this fall. “It basically gives the drum line a whole new look at a fraction of the cost it would take to buy new drums,” Ungurait said.
For more information on the Northwest Ranger Marching Band, contact Ungurait at 662-562-3335 or email
Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College Band Director John Ungurait, center, has been working with Northwest cabinetmaker Fate Williams on a project to refurbish all of the college’s 15-year-old drums this summer. The drums have been completely refurbished and repaired for what it would cost for one new drum. Assisting Ungurait are left, Drum Captain Jameson Hunter of Nesbit, a sophomore general college major and right, Front Ensemble Captain Jessica Gilbert of Coldwater, a sophomore music major. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)