Junior George Tantchev follows father, brother in drumming

Vanessa Laboy, staff reporter

Growing up in a family full of musicians led junior George Tantchev to where he is today. Playing drums in his father’s band, playing in the jazz band and being on drumline has him devoting a majority of his time to playing drums, according to Tantchev.

Tantchev’s father, George Tantchev, Sr., is a doctor of percussion, meaning he has a doctoral academic degree in percussion. He writes, conducts and teaches music, along with playing music in an orchestra. George Jr.’s mother plays the violin and viola, while his brother, Boyan Tantchev, is a GBS alum and currently studies at Roosevelt University in pursuit of a degree in drumming.

“George [Jr.] started studying with me when he was probably 5 or 6 years old,” George Sr. said. “He plays piano, drums, and all the other percussion instruments. We have an orchestra and . . . George [Jr.] is our main drummer along with his older brother, Boyan.”

Band Director Greg Wojcik says he is very close with the Tantchev family, because Wojcik was taught Boyan’s also.

“George [Jr.] has probably been playing with professional musicians since he was seven, [because] that’s just the way you do it when your dad’s a professional musician,” Wojcik said. “You’re just kinda dragged into it; there’s no other way of life.”

Being so devoted to drumming, George Jr. didn’t try out for the GBS basketball team that he was on during his freshman and sophomore year. Instead of being on the basketball team this year, George Jr. is in drumline and jazzband but still continues to play basketball in his free time.

Drumline Captain Jonathan Thomas has worked closely with George Jr. with him in drumline and has gotten to know him very well, according to Thomas.

“George [Jr.] really focused on drumming, but . . . he played freshman and sophomore basketball, and I’m really disappointed in him for quitting it this year, because he’s a good player, and I wanted him to continue, but he wants to focus on drumming,” Thomas said.

He stopped playing for the GBS basketball team because he likes music more, according to Thomas. George Jr. explained one of the reasons why he likes drumming so much.

“It’s definitely an energetic feeling when you’re playing a drum set, because you kinda have the control over the tempo and just over everybody else and just kinda steer the music wherever you want,” George Jr. said.

Not being on the basketball team this year gives him more time to fully commit to drumming.

“[George Jr.] is really talented, he learns things really quickly and he’s really humble about it; he’s not really cocky about drumming,” Thomas said. “One day it was raining really hard, and we had to dry our drums off, and I went in to go talk to the band director and the drum instructor, and he just started cleaning my drum and he dried it off for me. He really shows respect for other people.”

His dedication to drumming has made him grow more as a drummer, according to Wojcik.

“George [Jr.] is pretty intense about what he does, he’s meticulous about what he does and he wants it perfect,” Wojcik said.

George Jr. has shown a great amount of leadership and respect to his band mates, which show qualities to become captain next year, according to Wojcik.

GBS juniors Alex Sirakides and Stephen Sholty are current drumline players and close friends of George, Jr.

“There’s going to be two captains [next year], and everyone’s agreed that [George Jr.] is going to be one of them,” Sirakides said. “George [Jr.] . . . is probably our best percussionist, but he will never admit to that, he will never take credit to that, and he is always pointing out the successes of others before himself.”

George Jr. is able to stand out from the rest of his band friends and bring a unique quality, according to Sholty.

“George [Jr.] is more a technical drummer,” Sholty said. “He takes more advanced ideas and puts them in the groove.”

He has grown up in a family full of musicians and is becoming one throughout his high school years, according to George Sr.

“Music is, it just kinda embodies everything [George, Jr.] does,” Sirakides said.