On Thursday October 15, Zildjian HQ in Norwell, MA was pleased to host a visit from Derrick McDowell (and his fiancée Monica Youngblood), grand prize winner of the Blackwell Route 2 Zildjian sweepstakes. The Route 2 Zildjian sweepstakes celebrated the release of two new Zildjian Artist Series drumsticks, the John Blackwell and Ronnie Vannucci models. John Blackwell, along with Craigie and Debbie Zildjian, were on hand to meet Derrick and help award him the prizes. As the grand prize winner, Derrick received a trip to Zildjian Headquarters, picked out a full set of cymbals with John Blackwell's help and advice, took a tour of the Zildjian factory, received a private drum lesson from John Blackwell, and also won 24 pairs of John Blackwell's Zildjian Artist Series drumsticks. Derrick entered the sweepstakes at his local drum shop, Uncle Bob's in West Allis, WI, owned by Jeff Zenoni.
Derrick's exciting day at Zildjian included the opportunity to meet and "hang" with John Blackwell, Craigie and Debbie Zildjian and have lunch with many of Zildjian's key personnel. "We couldn't have been happier that Derrick won the grand prize" said Ron Allman, Manager of Zildjian's Drumstick business. "Derrick is a lifelong Zildjian cymbal and drumstick customer, a professional drummer, and a great guy. It was a pleasure for us to meet him. Having John Blackwell here in person sent an incredible day completely over the top!"
Derrick had an experience that he will remember for a long time. "I must say that I truly had the time of my life. It was a childhood dream that came true at the right time. I want to also thank John Blackwell as well. He is a true down to earth guy. Thanks again for everything, God bless you and the rest of the Zildjian family."
Derrick and Monica finished their visit to Boston by attending a clinic that John Blackwell gave at the Berklee College of Music. "Monica and I did get a chance to meet and see John at Berklee and it was awesome! That really capped off our stay at Zildjian."
Watch some video from the day above.