Hosted by Anne Turner

For the past several years, women have been breaking barriers and showing their incredible skill, talent and passion in every corner of the drumming world.

This is especially true in the area of competitive drumming. In both Winterguard (WGI) and Drum Corps International (DCI), the ever-increasing quantity and quality of female drummers and percussionists continues to raise the level of the art for all players.

Below we are featuring a handful of these trail-blazing, ground-breaking, history-making players from DCI's top corps. Hosted by Anne Turner, this group represents some of today's best cymbal, snare drum, quad, bass and front ensemble specialists. Anne has also included a selection of the growing number of female instructors and judges— an equally important part of the rapidly expanding community.

Please join us in celebrating these women and their many sisters as they take over Hit Like A Girl... and drumming. Prepare to have your mind blown.

For an interesting look at the participation of female drummers in the early days of DCI, read "Breaking The Glass Drumhead". The article features pioneering players from the 1982 season,
including Gisèle Cadieux (Crossmen), Mary Gromko-Murray (Freelancers), Peggy Sue Snyder-Casey (Phantom Regiment), Kelley Houpt (Blue Devils) and Carla Azar (Spirit of Atlanta).





As an artist, educator and advocate, Julie Davila has been both an inspiration and an influence on the international drumming scene. Her resumé includes: DCI judge (2016-present), WGI Percussion Judge (2005-present), WGI Hall Of Fame Award (2014), President of the Percussive Arts Society, MTSU Drumline Coordinator and Arranger (2005-present), Member of the Caixa Percussion Trio and graduate of the University of North Texas.

In addition, she has published more than 35 percussion ensemble and marching percussion compositions, authored 2 mallet method books and 1 tenor method book and co-authored a snare method book.

This year, Julie raised the bar once again— becoming the first woman on the field to judge the percussion caption at the DCI World Championship Finals... ever.

"I want to encourage all girls and women to believe in yourself, work hard and develop the mentality of being a life-long learner," she says. "Percussion is such an exciting choice and the learning curve is never ending. Don’t stop working on fundamentals, practicing, going to clinics, researching and sharing with others."

"And continue reaching! Reach to go after what you love. Reach to go after any goal, any dream. Reach to encourage others. Reach to write your own story. I can’t wait to see the next generations of women rise up.”

Hit Like A Girl salutes Julie along with the many other dedicated judges, instructors, directors and administrators who are committed to nurturing and supporting the female drumming community, including Rebecca Compton-Allen, Kristen Eck, Katie Gilchrist, Laura Glasper, Kathy Marvin, Kimberly Potter Mitchell, Sandi Rennick, Amy Savage, Katherine Steinacker, Staci Stokes Waites and more.





Lauren Teel is the Percussion Caption Head for the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps, Assistant Director of Percussion & Director of Marching Percussion for Texas A&M Commerce. Lauren's judging experience includes events like the Texas UIL State Finals, HEB Drum Line Contest, Lone Star Percussion Contest, and the PAS Keyboard competition. She's is the arranger for the Texas A&M Commerce front ensemble and has composed two published pieces: "…just the light we see" for solo marimba, and "embedded siGnals" for percussion ensemble and video.

Beyond this, Lauren has performed globally, including in Chennai, India, with Oscar-winning composer A. R. Rahman. She was also seen in the 2013 film "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" as a timpanist. Having been a member of Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps and Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps, she's also played bass 1 for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

To hit like a girl means to "dive head first into opportunities that make you unsure as those tend to be the biggest growing/ learning opportunities"



Hello! My name is Genevieve Hilburn, I am a percussionist and percussion educator from Southern California. I concluded my time as a drum corps performer in 2019 with the Bluecoats and have continued to remain engaged with the activity as an educator.

Working predominantly as a bass drum instructor, I spent 2021 and 22 with Pacific Crest and this past summer with the Blue Stars. I am also a recent Master of Music graduate from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Currently I teach collegiate percussion at Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield as well as instructing at several high schools in the Los Angeles area.

To hit like a girl is to go forth, boldly and unapologetically, as yourself. You are not merely the next version of your predecessors, but the first, wholly original version of you.





Hi there! My name is Bailey Heaton and I’m a student studying Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. I’ve played marimba at the Mandarins for the past three years and this past summer I got the opportunity to be the center marimba. I’ve also been a member of Monarch Independent, playing vibraphone in 2022 and marimba in 2023.

To me, to hit like a girl means to have to work harder than most other members in this elite activity. With this dedication and mindset, women in the activity have the power to exceed everyone’s expectations and “hit” harder than anyone could imagine.

Women in our activity are inherently underrepresented so it’s important to acknowledge that and use your position in this activity to redefine what it means to “hit like a girl”. Always keep pushing, turning heads, and know that what you are doing is meaningful and impactful.

Photo: @josephkhalifaphoto
Video: @drumlinearchives



Caroline Byington has been a dedicated member of the marching community for more than seven years.

Throughout her teens, she marched with Infinity 2 Percussion (2016-17), Oregon Crusaders (2017) and Infinity Percussion (2018-20). During her time with Blue Knights in 2019, she was named "Rookie Of The Year".

In 2022, Caroline performed with Broken City Percussion (indoor) and, for the 2023 DCI season, joined Carolina Crown— where she became the group's first-ever female timpanist.



My name is Scarlett and I am 21 years old. I aged out on vibraphone at the Cadets this past summer and marched vibraphone at the Academy in 2022. Currently, I attend the University of Alabama and am majoring in Music Education, with minors in Deaf Education and Educational Policy and Reform. At Bama, I am a member of the Percussion Studio and Wind Ensemble.

Never in a million years did I dream that I would end up marching drum corps, especially not a top 5 group. Hard work, dedication, and perseverance go a long way–if you keep your head down, put in the effort, and trust your mentors, you can reach even your wildest dreams.

And if anyone tries to put you down while you’re on that journey, you show them what girls are made of 😉





Hey! My name is Katie Gabell, I am 21 years old, and I am from the Philadelphia area. I’m a bass drummer from the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and I’ve also marched with Raiders, United Percussion 2, Bushwackers, and GMU!

Being a performer has been one of the best parts of life and I love every second I get to do it. The energy of being on the field surrounded by people that share the same drive and passion as you is unlike anything else. Reaching that final release of all of your hard work and soaking it all in is such an unforgettable feeling that I want so many to be able to experience. Being a woman in this activity isn’t easy. There’s a lot of unique challenges to overcome that others in the activity will not experience.

It’s so incredible to see more women surpass those challenges and get involved in marching percussion. To be one of them has been so amazing and I'm incredibly honored to be making history and change alongside so many other talented women.

To hit like a girl means to overcome any doubt placed on you and grow to be the best version of yourself. Seeing so many incredible women in percussion reminds me that I am not alone in this activity and that I am not only achieving my dreams, but helping those after me achieve theirs.



Hi y’all! I’m Bethany Betancourt, also known to most as Nini! I’m 21 years old and I’m from Chino Hills, CA. During my marching career, I’ve performed at Dark Sky ‘21, Mandarins ‘20-‘22, Monarch ‘22-‘23, and Bluecoats ‘23.

I started drumming in 2014 and have been performing in these amazing ensembles for going on 10 years now. With my experience, I have learned a lot of lessons but what I’ve held close to my heart is to stay kind, stay humble, stay confident, and remain hungry and positive.

These reminders throughout my career have allowed me to achieve success thanks to the many instructors and friends who have guided me and been by my side through the highs and lows.



My name is Anne Turner and I am a bass drum player and educator from North Carolina who has spent time teaching and performing in Virginia and California.

I have been involved in DCI and WGI since 2017, most recently with the Blue Devils, RCC, and Boston Crusaders, as a performer, and the Blue Knights, as an educator. My time with the Blue Devils led to a World Championship title in 2022 and RCC received a silver medal in 2023.

Additionally, I was contracted as a percussion performer for a soon to be released film where I got to work alongside other talented drummers and dancers, performing choreography from Rich and Tone

To “Hit Like a Girl” means not letting someone’s opinion or bias stand in the way of what you are capable of. Use people’s doubts as motivation to be excellent and always be your own biggest advocate. Reach out to others who can help you achieve your goals. And don’t be afraid to prove people wrong. 





Hi everyone! I’m Haydin! I aged out of the marching arts in 2023 after an amazing 7 years of marching quads. I started my journey back in 2018 with the Oregon crusaders, marched around many places both dci and wgi, and finally ended my career with the Blue Devils and RCC (Riverside Community College).

Taking part in the marching arts, and marching quads specifically, was the hardest thing I have ever done, and will ever do in my life. But it will also most likely be the most rewarding experience I will ever have in my life. Working hard and pushing past any boundaries that you thought existed, it’s a feeling unlike any other.

My time as a performer has come to an end, but now I get to watch and support the next female quad players who are out there doing amazing things. My advice to you would be to work hard and believe in yourself. The impossible is achievable and the only person who has to believe it is you. And I’m your biggest fan. Here’s to all the women in the activity, especially to my tenor family.. we kick ass. 💪🏼



Hello my name is Gracie Rayess.

I was contracted in 2020 to play quads at Spartans dbc but the season was canceled due to covid. I then marched Spartans indoor in 2022 and, that summer, tried something new, playing bass 1 with Spartans dbc. After that I returned to quads and marched Crossmen 2023 where I believe I was only the third female quad player to ever march there. I’m also currently a tenor section leader in the UMass minuteman marching band and have taught a few seasons of high school band at Shepherd hill in Dudley, MA. 

Some advice I have for other women in marching percussion is to never think of being female as a limiting factor. There are so many things that can make this activity easier or harder for someone. Your height and prior fitness experience and many other factors can greatly affect how easy certain things are for you, but those affect everyone regardless of gender and can be overcome.

Just keep in mind that everyone around you is going through the same struggles as you and this activity is hard no matter who you are. The things that will help you push through are being well prepared, being really good at applying feedback from staff, and having the mental fortitude to focus even if your body is tired. Once you put enough energy into those things, your mind and body will suddenly catch up and you’ll find yourself achieving things with ease that used to feel impossible.



Hey, my name's Chloe Tovar. I'm a senior in high school. I am currently the Plano Senior high school quad captain and marched with the Guardians drum and bugle corps this past summer.

Some advice for other women wanting to march is to just go for it. It may seem very daunting (especially in a world dominated by men), but if you never put yourself out there, you'll never know what you can accomplish! A very important director of mine once said "Be the inspiration that inspired you to be here today."





I'm a Performer. I've played with Blue Devils C (2016-2018), Golden Empire (2021), Bakersfield College Indoor (2022), Colts 2022 and Spirit of Atlanta (2023)

My advice for other female drummers is to keep a positive and humble attitude throughout your journey. You're going to experience lots of ups and downs.

As a female drummer, "Hit Like A Girl" is a reminder of how much the female drumming community has fought to make sure we are all getting the acknowledgment, representation and respect we deserve.



Hey! Im Bekah, I'm from socal, and I'm 21.

I’ve grown up performing but I didn't know about the marching arts until high school. I fell in love with it and I didn't want the people who thought I was too small to be in drumline to be right. So, I made friends with people who supported me and taught me how to do the gig. My first season in drumline was when i was 14 on bass drum during my sophomore year.

With the help of friends, family and the educators that supported me, I'm here now having marched my dreams. It’s been such a hard, but rewarding and humbling experience, that the lessons I've learned will be with me for the rest of my life. 

To me, “hitting like a girl” means that I don’t have to be anyone but myself and, as long as I work hard, I can still earn a spot. I don’t have to hide my interests, hobbies, or personality to be good enough. I love being a woman and playing drums, and I'm thankful that I have people in my circle who will never ask me to be anything different. 



Hi! I’m Jovanna Mullin and I have been a performer at the Boston Crusaders since 2020. I served as the section leader this past summer!

My best advice to women who would like to march is to trust yourself. Be confident in your abilities. You never know what can happen when you audition.



Eliana is an active member of the marching arts community, most notably known for her accomplishments with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drumline in 2018, 2019, and 2021. During her time in the SCV snare line, she contributed to two back-to-back Fred Sanford High Percussion Awards, as well as the 2018 DCI Championship title.

Eliana is currently on the instructional staff at Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, Coppell High School (her alma mater), and Girls March. Outside of the marching arts, Eliana has kickstarted a career in corporate marketing and enjoys posting drumming videos to her socials. 

"To any women wanting to succeed in the marching arts, just know that you’re not alone! Find others who share your passion and don’t be afraid to reach out to experienced musicians who can pass along knowledge and insight to help you achieve your goals."

Eliana was also the Champion in the 18+ age group of the 2020 Hit Like A Girl marching contest.




Belknap Headshot

My name is Carley Belknap, I’m a cymbal player and educator from the Northern Virginia area. I was involved with many different groups as a percussionist throughout my time in DCI and WGI including the George Mason University Indoor Drumline, the Madison Scouts, and Rhythm X. At the Madison Scouts, I had the opportunity to be one of the first female cymbal players ever in the organization’s 100-year history. I now get to give back and teach as a cymbal educator at both the GMU Indoor Drumline and the Madison Scouts.

One of the biggest things that has led to my success throughout my marching career was having a strong network of female peers, teachers, and role models to support and inspire me throughout my journey. To me, “hitting like a girl” is the ultimate act of honoring the women who came before you and striving to inspire the women who will come after you.



Hi, I'm Polly Dimmock. In addition to marching cymbals with Vanguard I am also an educator for Girls March and Zildjian.

My best advice for women entering cymbal playing is to remember you belong, and you are stronger and more capable than you think. Women have so many talents in addition to physical strength that make well-rounded and reliable cymbal players.

To “hit like a girl” is to make it your own. Entering the historically male-dominated realm of cymbal playing, percussion, or any other field, it is important to not make yourself smaller or try to be anyone but yourself. Diversity only improves things. 



My name is Bethany DeLaurentis and I've been a cymbal player since 2014. I spent my first four years at Aftermath Percussion from 2014 to 2017, two years at Fusion Core during 2017 and 2018. 2019 was my first world class tour with Jersey Surf, and I was contracted for their 2020 season. Before COVID, I marched with Imperial Dynasty in 2020. I took some time off and returned with Cap City 2 in 2022.

I spent the past two summers with the Colts for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, and spent 2023 with George Mason University Indoor Drumline. I am excited to return for the 2024 indoor season and spend my 10th anniversary marching cymbals with GMU. This past summer, I was the only female identifying person in the battery and the Colts Cymbal Line was the only cymbal line in DCI Finals.

For those looking to break into WGI and DCI, it can be daunting at times. But for every audition you get cut from, every person that doubts your worth or ability there is someone else in your corner pulling for you to succeed. It can be difficult to remember at times, but you always have someone to lean on even if it's not who you expect