Local drummer stirring up a beat in national competition
Ryan Summerlin April 5, 2012
It would be silly to say Liz Broscoe steps to the beat of a different drum. In reality, she steps to the beat of a lot of different drums.
The lifelong percussionist and South Lake Tahoe resident has been practicing rhythms for more than 30 years. She’s practiced on a variety of types of the instrument, developed her own show, and even created a children’s book about drumming.
“I always say I’m a jack of a lot of drums and a master of none,” Broscoe said. “That’s the beauty of music. You’re never satisfied.”
Broscoe has been teaching various drum classes, including drum set and West African drumming and rhythms, at Lake Tahoe Community College for more than a decade. Her devotion to the music always comes out in her lessons, said music department chairman Mark Williams.
“The students love how devoted she is, how meticulous she is, how she teaches every detail of each technique,” Williams said.
Broscoe started drumming on a drum set as a child in New York. As her skill grew, she discovered other types of drums. She found a whole new interest in Afro-Cuban conga.
“I got a huge sense of community when I played the conga for an Afro-Cuban dance class,” she said. “The connection people had to the rhythm, I had never experienced that before.”
From the conga, Broscoe went on to learn the West African djembe and the dunun drums. After a move to South Lake Tahoe, she spent years in bands and gigging at venues from the Beacon to the casinos. It’s not as easy as a performer as it used to be, she said.
“It’s really shifted,” Broscoe said. “There’s still some stuff, but you really have to hustle.”
With her stockpile of knowledge and skill in drumming, Broscoe created her own production, “Durga,” which rhythmically traces the history of the drum from ancient times to modern day. She’s performed the show throughout the region. Two years ago, she released the children’s book “Adventures of Durga: Messenger of the Drum.”
Broscoe’s latest project, along with professional drummers Eric Hellburg and John Shafer, is to lead a new marching drum band at the Boys & Girls Club. Broscoe has worked with the club for six years, primarily teaching djembe, said Executive Director Karen Houser. She often involves the kids in her costumed shows.
“She gives the kids an opportunity to perform they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Houser said. “She is pretty inspiring.”