Drum Corps International
Dean Westman: DCI has given me everything

Dean Westman: DCI has given me everything

by Michael Boo

Dean Westman marched with the Cavaliers in 1991 and 1992, taught the corps in '93, '94 and '95, was the Santa Clara Vanguard brass caption head from 1996-1999 and that corps' arranger 2000-2002. He served as brass caption head for the Cadets in 2003 and 2004. He is now "retired" -- after being a successful band director in Texas, he is now educational director for Bands of America. At the BOA-DCI show in June, I sat and watched the show for the first time as an audience member in 14 years. The first couple of corps, it was weird for me to sit there and be a part of it. By the end, I was having a blast. Just to sit and appreciate every group -- there are some younger corps I hadn't seen live, such as Colts, Capital Regiment and Glassmen. I watched more drum corps in one night that I had in 14 years.

Dean Westman
I tell this my friends, "No matter how objective you try to be, when you have a horse in the race, it's tough to be objective." I don't know if I would have appreciated the Madison Scouts when I was teaching the Cavaliers the way I appreciate them now. I'm a fan of the activity now and I appreciate all the corps more. I feel like a dad and a husband now. There was nothing in drum corps pushing me out, but there was a desire to be in the lives more of my wife and daughter. My daughter took her first steps on her first birthday right on the Santa Clara practice field in 1999 during an ensemble rehearsal while we were working on "Blue Shades." She wasn't in step. I had her out there, doing the daddy thing, and I let go and she just kept on booking down the 20-yard line. I have no regrets. I've had so many wonderful students. Think about it -- I've taught the Cavaliers, Santa Clara Vanguard and the Cadets. You can die a happy man doing that. Would I like to come back? Yes. Do I see myself coming back? No. I choose to define my life by the three letters -- DAD, not DCI. But I still love DCI very much. I still get emotional watching my corps. There are still many of "my kids" marching. I cried when I saw SCV in Indianapolis. DCI has given me everything. That's why I want to be their biggest fan. I cannot wait to sit and root for everybody. Regardless of where a corps places competitively, each and every kid is showing a passion for music and I want to support that.