Director for the Philadelphia Eagles Drumline
Music Teacher/Band Director
Norristown Area School District
Following a musical muse can take you to some unexpected places.
After her Messiah College graduation in 1978, alumna Vicki (Gilmour) Blum’s passion for music first took her to a Navajo reservation in New Mexico where she taught music to Native American junior-senior high school children. Now, as the director of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles new professional drumline, Blum, a lifelong fan of marching band music, spends her Sunday afternoons on Lincoln Financial Field, where her skilled percussionists entertain 70,000 football fans.
“It is amazing to be on Lincoln Financial field on game day,” said Blum. “When I look out and see the fans, it’s a beautiful feeling and a wonderful sight. While I may see faces painted green now, I also remember some of my Messiah College days when faces were painted blue. If you had told me that a humble middle school music teacher would have this great opportunity, I would never have believed it. This is God’s doing.”
A music studies major, Blum credits the Messiah music department for launching her on a 30-plus year career dedicated to sharing her passion for music inside–and outside– of the classroom. Since 1993, Blum has worked in the East Norriton Middle School in Norristown, Pa. where she teaches music, serves as band director and directs the school’s fifth through eighth grade Marching Band, Jazz Band and Indoor Drum line ensembles.
Blum’s journey to “the Linc” began in 2008 after she directed a series of successful music performances at Philadelphia sports events, including the Philadelphia Soul arena football drum line. With a proven talent for directing large-scale music performance teams, she was hired by the Eagles organization in 2010 to direct a new venture: a professional drum line which would serve as a high-energy pep band, dedicated to heightening the fan experience with continuous drumming and positive crowd interaction. Blum is proud of the musical professionalism and “complete lack of ego” that characterizes her cadre of 21 volunteer drummers who, in their day jobs, are police officers, graphic designers and educators, among others.
One lesson she learned in Grantham, Blum now conveys to students in her suburban Philadelphia classroom. “We all have different gifts in life. Through Messiah and my wonderful music professors–doctors Sider, Higgins and Miller, to name a few–I learned that to love music, it has to come from within. God is the giver of music. You can go through anything in life, if there’s a place in your heart and soul for music.”
-Peggy K. Koach
Posted on September 12th, 2011