Drum Corps International
Chris Tanner: The Man behind the plates

Chris Tanner: The Man behind the plates

by Drum Corps International

By Joe Smith
Colts
This week I have decided to do something different. I really want to let you the readers to get someone else's perspective about the drum corps (and the Colts) besides mine. My thought in doing this is for editorial variety, and also so that people who are thinking about auditioning have several perspectives on drum corps and the 2003 season.


Chris Tanner
Chris "Firehose" Tanner is a member of the Colts' cymbal line. He is a 17-year-old senior at the Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Wis., who also referees hockey. Before he marched with the Colts, he was in the Americanos (cymbals in 1999 and 2000, and bass drum four in 2001 and 2002). If you would like to contact him, his e-mail is CanosSqeak@aol.com.

DCI.org: What made you decide to come to the Colts to audition?

Tanner: A big reason I decided to come to Colts was because of the things I had heard from past veterans about the corps and how things were run. It seemed like a good place to check out and see what was going on.

DCI.org: What would you say to someone considering auditioning?

Tanner: Do it, don't hesitate. Don't worry about not knowing anyone there or any of the other things. When you get there, 95 percent of your fear leaves the second you play the first note, or spin the first flag.

A funny thing is, when I tried out for Colts, Greg Orwoll, our director, always gives everyone the infamous, "Your best friend is in this room and you just don' t know it yet," and also, "I guarantee you folks, there will be one couple here that gets married, and they don't even know each other yet." It's true, and that's the cool part. Go to the audition camp, no matter what the outcome, you will still come away with some good friends.

DCI.org: At the end of the first audition camp do you think that Greg was right when he said that your best friends are in this room and you just haven't met them yet?

Tanner: After first camp I felt like I had good friends, but I never knew I would have the friends that I do now. I mean, halfway into the summer, I still didn't know I'd have the friends that I do now. I believed it to some extent, but not thoroughly, and was I wrong!

DCI.org: What were your most memorable experiences this summer?

Tanner: Number one would be performing at the Division I level during the season, and number two would have to be either the cymbal individual and ensemble competition, or just hanging out with the new friends during the relaxing times.

DCI.org: How would you describe the atmosphere of the Colts during this past season?

Tanner: The Colts are very family-oriented. Having just completed my fifth summer of marching in DCI, this was the first year that I actually hung out with color guard and horn line members. Before, there were cliques throughout the corps, and it was hard to interact with the other members. The Colts organization tries to get everyone united, and you also learn to have a lot more fun when you get to know all of the other 134 members, and actually hold a few decent conversations with them during the season.

DCI.org: What was going through your head before you stepped onto the field on semifinals night?

Tanner: This is another show. No worries, it probably was our last show, but I didn't look at it that way. I mean, yes, I had the tears in my eyes and totally did not want the season to end, but I didn't let the last-show jitters get to me. I just focused on the task ahead of me, and tried to give it my all one last time.

DCI.org: How do you feel the semifinals performance went for the corps?

Tanner: I thought our semifinals performance was the best of the season overall, everyone gave it their all. Even though some may not have thought it was their best, overall, emotionally, musically and visually it was the best.

DCI.org: How did you feel after your final performance of the season?

Tanner: I felt absolutely amazing. I felt really good about the performance, but the feeling was just great when Greg told the corps to go and enjoy the moment with your fellow brothers and sisters. Right away the cymbal line turned to each other, tears just running down our face, and we did a huge group hug, but that wasn't even the best feeling. After the several thousand hugs given, you just looked around at everyone crying, with your arms around your two best friends, and you saw the effort everyone put out during the year. It was something never to be forgotten.

DCI.org: What have you learned this summer that you can take with you into the real world?

Tanner: I've learned to trust, and I've learned the meaning of friendship. During the summer you have your rough days, and your friends are there for you, and vice versa. You also have to place tons of trust on the people marching with you. You live with them, you have to be a trustworthy person, or else you won't make it in the activity, or the real world.

DCI.org: In the off-season, what do you miss most about tour?

Tanner: I miss waking up in the morning and looking around. There is no one to yell at you to wake up, you shower by yourself, and your day isn't scheduled for you ahead of time. Many corps friends you can only talk with online. I miss the whole thing.

DCI.org: Where do you see yourself for the 2004 season?

Tanner: I see myself entering my second season with the Colts, remaining on the cymbal line, and hopefully having another summer that I'll never forget.

DCI.org: Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to share with the people?

Tanner: The friends you meet during the summer are extremely hard to keep in touch with after the summer. I only have, I think, six or seven people who live in a seven-hour radius of me, and it's just really cool to see some people for the weekend. One weekend I was fortunate enough to visit two members who live in Wheaton, Ill., and it was awesome. I was back in my drum corps world for the weekend. I attended their marching band practice, hung out with some of the members, and just got to lay back and relive the summer for a few days.

The summer is also extremely rewarding, not only on the field, but also in the way of friends. I was lucky enough to meet one of my best friends during the corps season, and oddly enough, I didn't know she even existed until July 4. Since that date we have found out we have only one difference in our lives. Everything we do is almost the same, and it's almost as if we live in parallel universes. The friends I met mean everything to me, and no matter what situation arises, whether we had our differences or not during the season, I'll back you up, any one of the members, staff, or volunteers. I appreciate the whole corps experience and am glad I can say I met several of the coolest people I know through the activity.

Are you planning on auditioning for the Colts this December? If so, e-mail me at drumcorpsguy04@hotmail.com or instant message me on AOL (my screen name is Trumpetsforever4). I am looking to interview several people that will be auditioning in December for next week's article. What section you are auditioning for does not matter.