ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Every time their sticks hit the snare or their cymbals come together, a life-long dream is being fulfilled.
"We knew we'd get here eventually," Dan English said. "We knew if we had faith and a dream and a drive for that, that things would work out."
Dan English is the co-founder of DownBeat Percussion. It's a group of drummers from all over Western and Central New York who love to perform, love to entertain, and love to share their talent with others.
They were formed in 2013 by Dan and his brother Mike, along with a few friends. The group is now made up of nearly 50 men and women who perform year-round at events all over the area and country. But in 2013, after doing a few side gigs to get things going, they got the job of a lifetime: the official drumline of the Buffalo Bills.
"It's been a lifestyle of ours," Mike English said about Bills country. "To be not just a fan of it now, but a part of it now, it's a dream come true."
Every home game, DownBeat Percussion sends around 20 men and women to perform in Orchard Park. For some it's a part-time job while for others it's a full-time gig. But all can agree it's not everyday you represent a professional football team and play on a stage like Highmark Stadium.
"There's not many places in the world where you can actually experience something like the Bills Mafia," Dan said. "I'm talking about 70,000 people all cheering at once at you."
It's a feeling unlike any other as they perform before kickoff and play among the fans during the game. But it's the pre-game ritual that these musicians may enjoy even more.
"It's a feeling unlike any other," Chris Ganey said.
Around 2-3 hours before kickoff, you can hear this group play in the parking lots surrounding Highmark Stadium. They make their way up and down the rows of tailgaters getting them hyped, getting them ready, and getting them into the game-day spirit.
"They chant along, they try to drum along - some better than others - and it's great," Mike said. "We love going around the parking lots and drumming for them."
"It's crazy to think that we get to do something we love," added Ganey. "All while entertaining 70,000-plus people while doing it."