Tom Maiello, director of the Division III DCI champion Raiders of Wayne, N.J., answered these interview questions in the wake of his corps' victory in Brockton, Mass., on Saturday. We will run an interview with Tom Chopelas, director of the Division II champion East Coast Jazz, in the next day or two. How did the corps perform all week in Brockton? The corps performance grew with more consistent execution and emotional intensity each time they took the field. Did any performances this summer stand out as being memorable? Yes, the first and last. At the first show in Malden, Mass., the corps started the season with confidence. The last show in Brockton they just laid it all out there. Do you want to say anything to Raider fans? On behalf on the kids, I appreciate all the love and support we received all year. We did "Jesus Christ Superstar" because we knew this would be fan-friendly. I hope all family, friends and fans recognize this as our gift back to them for their support. Was anything tricky and/or difficult this summer? In his first year, drum major Scott Farkas was asked to step down from being a conductor to go play bass 2. He played bass for four years, and when the one bass drummer went down with a slipped disk, Scott did what we best for the corps at the time to fill in and bring the bass line back to four members. We then brought our back field conductor, Adam Wiezbicki, to the front stage. He left tour during our camp because his grandfather was gravely ill. The staff and I decided to go without a conductor, since we could not spare anyone from another section. We also felt it was too late for anyone to gain enough confidence to lead the corps. We then adjusted music and drill and taught the kids key points to listen to keep the ensemble tight. Describe the Division III competition this summer. Everyone thought since many good Division III corpswent inactive this year, the whole division would be weak. That was not the case at all. Anyone who attended a Division II & III show this summer witnessed the exceptional performance level of the active corps. Did anything surprise you? Yes, sitting in the stands and listening to spectators asking people around them where our drum major was and who was going to salute. What will you do differently (if anything) next year? As an organization we will evaluate what went well and did not go well on and off the field. We will attempt to eliminate our weakness and keep our strengths consistent. What can people expect from the Raiders next summer? We will stay with our fan-friendly show concept. The kids especially loved the music. We have a plan to grow the membership from the 56 we marched this year. We feel the organization can handle a corps with 75 to 100 members. If recruiting works as planned and membership grows to a number greater than 75, we have the resources to care and feed our kids in order for them to be at their best on the field. What did you personally learn this summer? Personally, I learned that passion can not be stopped, it can only be channeled to reach a common goal. Our staff and kids set a goal to be the best they can be at the final show. They expected their best performance to make them one of the top corps in Division III. I think their talent and passion pushed the corps to capture its first World Championship. Feel free to add anything else. I would like to thank our kids, management, instructional staff and support staff for an amazing year. To all friends, family, and fans -- your support means the world to all of us. I would like to acknowledge my wife, Shaffia, for her love and support that allows me to follow my passion.
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