Rock on! A local drummer delivers the hits

Photo: Jackson Smith Photo: Jackson Smith

Penny Shuster started playing the drums in fifth grade, with the snare in her school band. But she made the switch to a drum set last year, when she started at St. Anne’s-Belfield School, because it afforded her more opportunities to play different kinds of music. “Plus,” Shuster says, “it’s cooler.”

She takes lessons at Stacy’s Music and practices in her basement at home. But the 15-year-old has actual gigs, too, thanks to Stacy’s Music’s Highway to Rock program, which brings together local kids who play instruments (drums, guitar, bass, vocals) to form a temporary band. The groups practice every Sunday for a few months until they’re ready to rock out at a performance, like the last one Shuster had with her band, Vertigo, at the Ante Room, opening for Superunknown and Pale Blue Dot.

Photo: Jackson Smith
Photo: Jackson Smith

She plays a lot of rock music, but says she’s mostly into hip-hop and hopes to practice more in that style. As for her favorite drummer? She gets inspiration from many.

“I’m always looking at different drummers and drum covers on YouTube, and thinking, ‘I want to be able to play like that.’”