Local percussionist to represent Charleston in "Drum Off"

By Tessa

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- From the files of "little known observances:" Did you know that, among other things, October is "International Drum Month?"

Despite not being aware of the observance that recognizes his passion, Lowcountry percussionist David Patterson is celebrating in a way that most aspiring musicians like him would not imagine.

Patterson is set to represent Charleston in the district finals of "Guitar Center's 2012 Drum Off" in Florida at the end of the month.

The honor is well deserved.

Walking to the beat of his own drum since he was four, Patterson has been fortunate to both play and record with many of Charleston's notables - Charlton Singleton, The Charleston Jazz Orchestra and Ann Caldwell - to name a few.

It has been a journey of bass drum-thumping, high-hat-hitting, cymbal-crashing and crafty techniques associated with over two decades of experience that have gotten him to this point in his career. When it comes to entering any musical competition Patterson admits that he still gets a case of the jitters.

"I love it, though, because that means my creative cap is on and my performance won't be dull to me or my audience," he said.

The 28-year-old beat out four other very capable opponents Oct. 3 in the semi-finals at Guitar Center in North Charleston.

"There were supposed to be eight (of us) that night, but I guess three people got lost," joked Patterson.

The evening of the competition, close to 50 or more people crammed into a small room in the rear of the store to watch. Whispers of "He's going to win" to "I can't wait to hear this" could be heard among the crowd.

One thing was very palpable as Patterson meticulously set up the drums to his liking: His faith.

At one point, family members and other supporters began to sing gospel songs fueling the air of anticipation.

"My belief definitely keeps me grounded. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13 - 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'"

Patterson also recognizes that with each new level reached, there's a need to think outside of the box.

"At the end of the day, it's a competition and the key to a competition like this is to be unique. As the competition advances, identity becomes more and more paramount," he said.

Should Patterson drum his way to victory in the district finals October 30th and the regional finals Nov. 20 in Florida, the next stop will be the finals in Los Angeles in January.

To see and hear this rising star in action for yourself, stop in to any of the following venues in downtown Charleston:

Mondays- Charleston Grill, David Patterson Trio

Tuesdays-Mercato, Frank Duvall Trio

Wednesdays- High Cotton, Ann Caldwell

Thursdays- Mercato, Jordan Gravel Trio