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Indians show off rhythm at music fest

10/29/2013

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

He became enamored with playing drums from the time his grandfather gave him a drum set when he was in fourth grade.

Austin Petz now has mastered the art of drumming so well he can play five at a time.

Led by Petz, playing a quintet for the Hays High School marching band, the Indians received a superior I rating in percussion at Monday's High Plains Marching Band Festival at Fort Hays State University's Lewis Field Stadium.

"We just love this," the HHS senior said of Indian band members getting to display their skills on the Tigers' field.

And it shows.

Hays High also received I's in the other five categories -- music I, music II, marching and maneuvers, general effect and auxiliary -- for a clean sweep and a unanimous I overall rating.

After performing at the highest level in his final High Plains Festival, Petz is looking forward to the rest of his senior year.

The Indians' final regular-season home game is Friday, and Petz and his band members will play at home Indian basketball games this winter.

"Basketball is the best," said Petz, who grew up in Schoenchen and has attended school in Hays his entire career. "You're so close; the crowd really gets into it."

Petz's ultimate goals stretch beyond this year, however.

If he has his way, he will be dressed in purple and white a year from now and pounding tapping drumsticks for the Kansas State University band in Manhattan, where he plans to major in journalism and mass communication.

Petz hopes a strong foundation built while playing for Hays schools -- first at Kennedy Middle School, then at Hays High -- will help him live out that dream.

"I've been playing band since I was in sixth grade," he said. "(At Hays High), we've consistently received superior ratings."

That's because of students such as Petz, HHS band director Craig Manteuffel said.

"He's one of the best leaders I've had at that position for a lot of years," said Manteuffel, who chose Petz for drum line captain this year. "We've got good leadership all the way through this year. It's the hardest working bunch I've had in four or five years."