Wantage woman a finalist in drumming contest

Rikki Woods started playing at 48 years old

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Wantage resident Rikki Woods has been selected as a finalist in the International "Hit Like a Girl" contest for female drummers.

Woods, who started playing drums only 17 months ago at the age of 48, was among about 250 contestants in the 18-and-older category, representing more than 38 countries. The finalists were selected by a panel judges, sponsors and by popular vote.

"My drum story began when my 8 year old son decided he was going to play guitar (play, not practice)," Woods said. "After explaining the importance of practice, I figured it best to lead by example and at the tender age of 48, I decided to take up the drums, something so completely alien to me, just like guitar was to him, and show him first hand, what happens when you practice. Well, he has since moved on to the trombone, and I am now a complete drum addict"

One of the reasons she chose drums is because it is so physical and for a time in her life she never would have been able to do it, for a number of years ago she had some medical issues that caused her biological systems to malfunction. A surgeon fixed the underlying issue with major surgery. Couple this experience with her husband's emergency quintuplet heart bypass surgery at the age of 44 and you have someone who truly understands how life can turn on a dime, and tomorrow may be too late.

When playing for 6 months, she was asked to play two songs during an all-female jam. She had never played drums with other musicians, never played drums in public, it would be unrehearsed with the other musicians and she was asked to sing and play at the same time. After weeks of :freaking out about it," she ended up playing all night and instantly became the house drummer for the all-female pro-jams that followed.

Now playing for 17 months, Woods is drummer and a founding member of the group, Hot Flashes, a band made up of local business-professional women who perform upbeat originals and an eclectic mix of classic rock covers, often with a humorous and spicy twist.

Last year, Woods placed 19 out of 126 women in the 18+ category - and at that time she had only been playing for 120 days. This year she was the fourth most popular contestant out of more than 250 in the category. She says, “

"I do not enter the contest with any delusions of winning," she said. "There are incredible women musicians in the contest who have unbelievable chops. But I do believe I have a message for women, and if being in the contest inspires other women to stop dreaming and start acting, then I have successfully conveyed my message."

Contest winners will be judged on performance, style and story.

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