Gabby Lopez, 20 De Anza Community College Vanguard Cadets, 2004-2008, Santa Clara Vanguard Snare Drum, 2009-2010 How did you choose your corps? I went to my local drum shop when I was in middle school to buy new sticks for parade band. There was a flier in the shop promoting the November audition camp for the Santa Clara Vanguard. The man working at the store said he would give me a free pair of sticks if I went and auditioned. Being 14, I thought this was the sweetest deal ever. Needless to say I was almost immediately cut from the Vanguard A Corps, but made it into the Vanguard Cadets' front ensemble. As cheesy as it sounds, in a way, I think Vanguard chose me. What was the experience like the first time you auditioned for a corps? When I first auditioned for the Santa Clara Vanguard I was EXTREMELY nervous. There were so many people there from all around the country that seemed to have so much more experience than me, that it was hard to keep my confidence up. I ended up getting cut, but it was a valuable learning experience. Getting out there and just going for it was the first step I needed to take to jump-start my future in drum corps. What's the best way to prepare for an audition? I think that the best way to prepare is to memorize all of the audition materials before you get there. The most uncomfortable feeling to have at an audition camp is knowing that you don't have the required materials prepared. What would you say to someone who is unsure whether or not to audition for a drum corps? Drum corps is really an all or nothing type of gig. It's very time consuming and takes a lot more than just the ability to march and play an instrument around a football field. You need to be willing to give up your entire summer to work your butt off. Drum corps is not a vacation. Any other advice? Try your best. Don't go into an audition thinking you're going to get cut. Just go in with an open mind. Even if you're just trying out for the experience, confidence is key. No matter how you approach the audition, you're going to come out of it with so much information that can help you in future auditions for that corps or even other corps. Learn more about corps audition dates, locations and additional info.