Outside the office: Victor Brownlees, finance director for the City of Cape Girardeau

I have been drumming since about the same time I started to walk. Music is a long tradition in my family, and I am a fifth generation traditional Ulster Scots (Scotch Irish) drummer, playing a large, heavy drum called a Lambeg. I played also in several marching flute bands growing up and at school played in the orchestra, concert band and jazz band. My best friend and I started our own rock band when we were 14, thanks to a supportive head of music at our school. We went on to win the Northern Ireland Rock School Championship and came in fourth place two years running in the national UK championship. I appeared on the front page of one of the popular national newspapers and was on national TV when I was 15. Since then, I have played in several bands; my last one in the UK where I was a city manager, or chief executive as we call it, was made up of city managers from a number of city councils from across the country. We played charity gigs and had a lot of fun. My best friend from my first rock band went on to play with Van Morrison and was the director of the world tour of Riverdance.

While playing drums, I get to relax and enjoy the moment. Being a drummer, it's essential to connect with the other musicians, and I get a real kick out of making that connection and taking the experience for all of us to a higher level. It's also rewarding when you make others happy and they dance and sing along, although I'm not one who needs the audience or the applause.

I still have my drum kit and am open to offers! Seriously, though, when anyone asks me what I am, my first response is always, "I am a drummer." Everyone deserves to have the one passion that defines them. For me, it's drumming.

Victor Brownlees, finance director for the City of Cape Girardeau, playing the Lambeg drum with the Caddy Fife and Drum Club at a cultural celebration in 2007 in Ulster (what is called Northern Ireland).