Drum Corps International
Harnessing ability and multiplying it tenfold

Harnessing ability and multiplying it tenfold

by Michael Boo

Adam Kohl is a senior music education major at Brigham Young University-Idaho, a tuba player and an aged-out member of the Crossmen horn line. Here are his thoughts on drum corps. During my time here at school, I have played with some incredible musicians, and some not so incredible. The problem with being in a smaller music program is that there isn't as much talent as one would find in colleges with a larger student body. Being able to play music with extremely talented musicians stretches you in a way, because you are forced to raise your standards so they match the most talented of the group. Over the past few years I have been given opportunities that I wouldn't have received if I were in a big school. So, I cherish the things I am able to do at school and the music I am able to make. I think of people that I have played with that are my age, or younger, people who are amazing musicians. It makes me think of all of the great musicians that have been involved with drum corps. You may not know them by name, or wouldn't know them if you saw them walking down the street, but you know them by what they were able to accomplish on the field. They may not be involved with music at all in their lives right now, but they will never deny what they were able to accomplish at such a young age in drum corps. Good or bad, those crazy, hard-core drum corps fans remember all the shows. Go back in time with me to 1993 and the incredibly fast-paced Star of Indiana closer that took the drum corps community by storm. Other memorable corps in DCI's history that I particularly remember include the 1974 Santa Clara Vanguard, 1996 Phantom Regiment and 1995 Cavaliers. 1974 SCV revolutionized drum corps in that period. They took great chances and got the credit for doing so. 1996 Phantom is memorable for the way they took the field in all-black uniforms with their heartfelt performances of "Defiant Heart." I remember the 1995 Cavaliers for taking "The Planets" to a whole new level -- it made me look at that symphonic work in a totally different way. All those shows have impacted my view of the activity in some way or another. I think about those shows now, and what first comes to mind is the fact that all of those members were 22 or younger, the age I am now. Drum corps has to be one of the most amazing activities on this planet because of that. It harnesses the ability of those young people and multiplies it tenfold. When you take the experience and knowledge of the teaching staff and you impart that into a young, physical being, the bounds are endless. You are able to go as far as the performers are willing to go. The way the members are able to push themselves both physically and mentally for weeks during the summer is breathtaking. Drum corps maximizes the potential that is within everyone who participates. Everyone in the world has potential to do something great with their life. Drum corps helps make you more capable to do these great things -- if not on a football field, then maybe in the military or even a classroom. I will use everything I learned in drum corps to help with my future music education career, not just including what I teach, but how I teach and how I project myself. Corps spend the whole season trying to perfect an 11-minute "symphony." The most important part of perfecting a show is the act of doing so. It trains the performers to never slack and always be on their toes, because you never know when you are going to be picked out. One is encouraged to compete with your buddies in the corps on a daily basis. Who can get the most toe height? Who can play the cleanest line? Who can be just look totally rock solid all day long? So, there are competitions going on all day even before one puts on the uniform and pulls their Aussie, shako, helmet or whatever over their eyes. Drum corps is one of the best musical things young people can do for themselves and it develops a good solid work ethic. I am proud to be part of the amazing organization known as DCI and especially proud to be part of Crossmen. Being a member of a drum corps has helped me find the ability within myself to take on the world. I am proud to possibly have kids in 20 years say, "I wish I was around to have been able to march that amazing show" when they discuss a show that I marched in. Drum corps is a good friend-making activity and allows one to create lifelong friends, people that you can call on for anything and talk to about anything. People interested in making lifelong friends need to just jump on the ride. I am done with my first real marching career; there were definitely things that I could have done better. I could have pushed myself more in those hot summer days in Texas. I probably could have spent more time perfecting the exact 8-to-5 stride. I had played a new instrument in 2005 (the euphonium), so I could have spent more time building up my playing level on the horn. But even with all the things I know I could have done better, there are things I was happy with. I was happy and proud to have aged out with a group that has great tradition and an outstanding work ethic. Most of all, I was proud to march with an amazing group of people. Having my last show in that great stadium in Foxboro (I am a huge Patriots fan) was an unbelievable experience -- making music and performing for thousands of people that come to see my corps perform. It is really cool to look back and see what things being in a corps taught me that I use at school. My goal is perfection in my music playing. I have yet to get there, but day after day I use the discipline and musicianship I learned in drum corps to help me along the way. Thank you, DCI, for giving me the opportunity to expand my horizons and to experience the joy of performing. Fanfare archives Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
   
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.