Brenna Byrne (L), Drew McCrea, Kaleigh Martino,
Stacey Garcia, Cori Heaps
Five "age-out" members of the Academy share their thoughts on the 2007 season and their plans for the future as they wrapped up their junior drum corps careers on Aug. 10 at the DCI World Championships in Pasadena, Calif. Members include: Brenna Byrne, 21, a fourth-year member of the color guard; Drew McCrea, 22, a fifth-year member of the bass drum line; Kaleigh Martino, 21, a fourth-year member of the color guard; Stacey Garcia, 21, a sixth-year member of the baritone section; and Cori Heaps, 22, a fourth-year member of the color guard. Christina Mavroudis: Tell me the defining moment you had in your performance tonight that you're going to remember forever. Drew McCrea: Tonight it was at the end of the show when I was just looking out at the audience and seeing everybody standing up. I knew that for the last five years I've poured my heart and soul into the drum corps activity and this corps. I did the best I could, and that's all I can ask for. It was an amazing moment. Stacey Garcia: My favorite part of the show tonight was an impact moment during the ballad. The flags go up and it was really an amazing goose bump moment. Cori Heaps: My favorite part was the first two seconds of the show. We have a big rifle toss before the drum major even counts off. I could feel that everyone around me caught it. Looking at the audience and seeing them immediately respond made me feel like we had arrived in Division I which was something we were working toward for a long time. It made me see that we belonged here. CM: Were there any moments for you this season that really defined you, and that made you realize why you had decided to join the Academy? DM: At the Drums Along the Rockies event in Denver, we were in the stadium tunnel before we went on the field. One of our visual staff members told us to perform like this was the last show we would ever get to perform. Knowing that this was my "age-out" year, it really hit me. I've performed that way every time since. SG: I have lived in Arizona my whole life, and I've watched this corps grow up. During our last performance in Arizona this season, our home crowd just loved the show. It was so cool to see all of the support from the community and all of our friends and family there. We had an amazing performance, and it felt great. CH: My defining moment was when we had a performance run-through in Lake Havasu (Ariz.). It was more than 100 degrees outside when we were practicing the entire morning. After that really long morning rehearsal block, the staff told us to setup for a run-through. At the end of that run, which was not the best run I've ever had and which was not the best run anyone ever had, I realized at that moment I would never have the chance again to push my body and to push my soul as hard as I did. And I did it that day; I made it through. I felt such an overwhelming sense of pride in myself. CM: What piece of sage advice can you give incoming members of the Academy? Brenna Byrne: Take everything lightly. You'll make it through no matter what, and don't be afraid to push yourself. DM: No matter what the outcome and no matter what the score, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. It's how you play the game; and play it hard. Kaleigh Martino: You're in for quite a ride. I didn't even know what a drum corps was four years ago, and I'm just amazed at how this organization has grown. I hope they keep on going and push through every rehearsal and performance. SG: Give it everything you have everyday and cherish the relationships that you build and the friends that you have. Help each other along because you can't do it alone. This drum corps activity is something that takes the effort of everybody. CH: I said it last night at our corps' age-out ceremony; that as long as you give yourself 100 percent, you can't be embarrassed. You can't regret what you do as long as you give all of yourself to this activity. Then you'll be happy with yourself. We've loved the experience so much, have cherished it, and we've grown with it. Now we hand it to you. CM: What are your plans for the future? BB: I've been taking a lot of archaeology classes in school. It might be fun to continue down that path or to work in a museum. DM: I just graduated from college in May, and I'm starting my graduate degree in history. KM: I'm going back to school at Northern Arizona University. I am a pre-forensic major, and I plan to try to do an internship at the FBI Academy hoping eventually to work for the FBI. SG: I'm going to be a music teacher in a high school or maybe a middle school. I will be a student teacher this fall. CH: I am actually in school right to become a veterinary technician. I may some day go out of state and become a veterinarian or do exotic large animal training. I've loved animals ever since I was little.