Aria: The DCI.org interview: Megan Yankee, Santa Clara Vanguard color guard
Name, age, hometown: K. Megan Yankee, 20 (I loathe my first name), Dallas
What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? I will return to the Santa Clara Vanguard color guard.
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I marched color guard and winter guard from 1998-2002 at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas. I also played flute for seven years under the same band system, to which I am very grateful for my musically inclined ear. In 2003, I was in the flag line at SCV and last year I spun in the sabre line.
How did you decide to be a member of your corps? We always say that Santa Clara chooses us. Two years ago, I decided to attend SCV's audition camp because I happened to send in an audition tape that seemingly impressed their color guard staff. I knew absolutely nothing about the corps. I was one of those stupid 18-year-olds who thought they knew everything going in -- and whose life was changed forever coming out. Now I bleed red, green, and white as though I had been raised in Santa Clara.
What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? I always knew it was for me. But again, I did not know why. It just seemed like something I would enjoy and something I could be truly good at. Because I had excelled in high school guard, the next logical step was drum corps.
What advice would you give to young people who want to march? I have always tried to go into every season without expectations. This way, I am always pleasantly surprised. I rely solely on the fact that the process will provide me with an outcome that can only be described as bittersweet. That is the only guarantee in this activity. That is why we love it.
Do you have any favorite road anecdotes? I will miss Desiree Echaves's games of "Would you rather?" She aged out last year. I was never really good at the game -- so I just listened along and laughed. But, when things were slow on the bus, Desiree would chime in with "Would you rather -- have spaghetti for hair or pee Dr. Pepper?" The point of the game was the fact that you were required to pick one or the other. This could continue on for hours. Also, I always loved seeing Fro-man's pillow pulled over his head which he would do randomly (the pillow was shaped so that it would stick several feet up). And I love bus fights with Megan Haro, the other short, half-Mexican girl named Megan on the drum bus. I've beaten her the past two years despite what she says. I mean -- bus fights? What bus fights?
The last good book I read: "How to Learn the Alexander Technique: A Manual for Students" by Barbara and William Conable
The last great film I saw: "Run Lola Run"
Where I go to school and what I’m studying: I am currently in my second semester as a dance student at Texas Woman's University. I stumbled around musical theatre, religion and philosophy majors as well as community college for two years until I got where I am. I am finally content.
Jobs I have/have had: This off season, I chose to spend as much time up at the dance department and fine-tuning my color guard technique as possible. Therefore, no job.
Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: David Gray's "White Ladder," Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, “Greatest Hits,” and Sumi Jo's "Les Bijoux" -- but don't hold me to it.
My favorite TV show: I try not to watch TV but I love “Courage the Cowardly Dog” whenever I can catch it.
Favorite performers: Bill Irwin, Robin Williams, Rebecca Caine, Dave Matthews, Sumi Jo, Kate Blanchette, Brandy Moser -- but this list would take several days to complete accurately.
How do you "blow off steam?" I rarely get "steamed up" -- frustration would be more like it. When I get frustrated, I prefer to be alone -- or at least take some time for myself. Stretching and moving tend to be very revitalizing for me, as well as listening to an old favourite CD that I had forgotten about.
What has been your formative drum corps moment? Who could ever pick a single favorite? But one of them would have to be comforting my fiancee on finals day 2003, his ageout.
Best drum corps show ever: I have no real basis outside of my own experiences. So, of the two I've been in: SCV 2003.
What are you most looking forward to about the summer? The whole experience. I have missed it this whole off-season, but it's getting down to the crunch and I miss it now more than ever.
Best thing about being in a drum corps: Friendly competition.
Worst thing about being in a drum corps: Potential injury.
During tour, the best part of the day is: Run-through!
During tour, the worst part of the day is: There is no worst part.
Favorite drum corps personality and why: (SCV guard instructor) Denise Bonfiglio. She makes me smile whenever I get to spin for her.
What I want to be when I “grow up”: I will be a wife to my beautiful fiancee, and a Californian (I'm currently one of the few neo-Bohemian liberals in Texas) who holds a bachelor's in dance and certifications in the Alexander Technique, Yoga, Laban Movement Analysis, and massage therapy. I also hope dance and choreograph professionally.
Describe what you think a typical DCI show will look like in 2015. Hopefully not too glamourous. Truthfully, I think drum corps will continue to maintain its essence of discipline, integrity and strength as well as gradually evolve as it always has. Just like everything else: It will change, but basically stay the same.