Matt Hensley and Andy Ebert are the 2003 drum majors for the Glassmen of Toledo, Ohio. Hensley, 19, of Brookville, Ohio, was a drum major last summer, and he played baritone previously. He attends Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio, where he is a public administration major.

Andy Ebert (left) and Matt Hensley
And what instrument did you play before you became drum major?^ How does it feel to be a drum major for the Glassmen? Hensley: Unreal. It is something that you can't exactly put words to. It is such a great feeling to know that people have the confidence and faith in you to do this job, and do it well. Most of the time everything around you is going so fast that you don't realize that you're the drum major -- you're just doing your job. Then, when everything settles down and you have a moment to yourself, it hits you, and you think, "Wow, this is really cool." Ebert: Well, it feels great to be a drum major for the Glassmen. But as strange as this may sound, the feeling isn't that much different than the feeling I had when I played soprano in the Glassmen for three years. The position of drum major is a very special thing and a great honor and I plan on cherishing that feeling just like I have cherished every role I have had with the Glassmen. Did you always strive to become a drum major? If not, when did you decide to become one, and why? Hensley: I was a drum major in high school, and had never really given thought about pursuing such a roll in drum corps. In fact, I didn't know what drum corps was until halfway through my high school career! I was fortunate enough to march one year with the Glassmen on baritone. As the second season rolled around, I decided that I wanted to be involved with the members, staff, the volunteers, and the whole corps in general on a whole different level. That's when I turned my attention to the role of drum major. I couldn't be happier either! Ebert: No, I have not always strove to be a drum major. This will actually be my first year in either marching band or drum corps that I will take on a drum major role. This past fall, the situation arose where I was presented with the possibility of accepting this honor and it was an opportunity that I felt I had to accept. In the winter, how do you prepare for the summer's drum major responsibilities? Hensley: The flow of the summer is absolutely dependant upon the preparation in the winter months! Aside from the logistics of knowing the entire show like the back of your hand, I really believe in building good habits among the Glassmen members with regards to running on time, picking up after yourself, lending a helping hand to the support staff, and of course, looking out for the guy next to you. The list goes on and on, actually. The biggest thing, though, is to plan. Lots of unexpected things will come about in the summer -- this will happen no matter what! Plan for what you can, while you can, in the winter. When those unexpected happenings occur, you'll be able to keep your stride without as much as a stumble if you've planned ahead. Ebert: Wow, I could use a couple hundred pages for this one! Most of my preparation is really just continuing the work that has already been started. The main things that I look to accomplish are to communicate with people, make sure that all the loose ends are tied up, and make sure that I am ready to go with the actual conducting aspect of the job. How would you describe the drum major audition process? Hensley: When I auditioned, we were placed in the drum majors' shoes. We were expected to act out the role of drum major for the camps while the audition process lasted. That means we did various things, such as wake the corps up and put the corps to bed. We had to handle conducting responsibilities, and were expected to learn how to cope with the different stresses of being a drum major. You were in the full view of the drum corps the entire time. This experience was absolutely invaluable. It made me much stronger than I might have been had it been handled otherwise! Ebert: The audition process for me was different than most. I did not have a formal conducting audition. I was presented with the possibility of being a drum major and I accepted. Besides the Glassmen, what are some of your other interests? Hensley: I like to do a lot of stuff outside. It can be anything from walking, riding my bike, running, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or just cruising with the windows down in my car when it finally gets warm out. Some of the most fun times I've had have been getting in the car and going nowhere. I also like politics. As a public administration major, I like to see how things fit together, or how they don't. Believe it or not, I actually like to pick up books that deal with current events! I spend a good deal of time pecking away at the computer playing games. Aside from all of that, I plan to begin skydiving later this spring once the weather improves here in Ohio. One thing, though, that is constant year-round, is I'm always up for a game of cards -- I always have a deck close by. Ebert: Some of my other interests include running, music, school, (Detroit) Pistons basketball, and of course, GameBoy
Advance. How would you describe the leadership and management of the Glassmen? Hensley: You could name off 100 positive adjectives to describe those guys and you still would not be doing them justice. While always working in the absolute best interest of the members, they always strive to keep a personal relationship with everyone in the corps. So many times, in whatever organization, you'll never feel comfortable enough to approach the management. This isn't the case in the Glassmen -- the door is always open. And that has made all the difference. Ebert: I would describe the leadership and management of the Glassmen as caring, understanding, professional and focused. The Glassmen administrative team does an amazing job of balancing the fact that we are young adults along with the fact that we are still big kids. I feel so fortunate that I can go to Brian (Hickman, executive director), Beth (Schindel, marketing director) or Rod (Owens, tour director) at any time and know that they will find time to talk to me. There are excellent people and they work so hard to make the Glassmen an exceptional corps. How would you describe the Glassmen members? Hensley: One of a kind. The members that walk the halls of the Glassmen are some of the strongest, brightest, most intelligent youth in the world. Never once in my life have I been with a group of my peers where everyone is able to persevere and overcome as well as the members of the Glassmen do. They are some of the most energetic people I have ever had the privilege to meet, work with, sweat with and laugh with. While embodying the spirit of the Glassmen, these hardworking guys and girls bring such a strong element of real life to what can sometimes be a bubble in which we live. They are a constant reminder to this nation and the world that for anyone who has doubts, there is hope in the youth of today. Ebert: The Glassmen members and alumni are my family and I love them. There are not many places in the world where you have people that you would do anything for and you know that they would do anything for you. That is what the Glassmen members mean to me. How would you describe your own leadership style? Hensley: Lead by example. You can't expect people work with you unless you're ready to work with them. By separating yourself from the group, you're detaching yourself from their world. Let's face it, being a drum major isn't the most physical job in the corps. You have to show the corps that when you say "come sweat with me," you're genuine in your ethic, your willingness and your effort. Too often leaders will separate themselves to an extent where they stop interacting and learning from their organizations. This will do nothing but complicate things. People have to see that you're willing to do the things you're asking them to do -- simple as that! Ebert: I always try to work my hardest and do my job to the absolute best of my ability. I will always be there to sweat and bleed right alongside my fellow Glassmen. I guess if that translates to leadership you could call it my "leadership style." During the winter, do you guys keep in close contact with each other? Hensley: Andy and I are ALWAYS talking! In 2001, I was a member of the scaffolding crew where Andy was the guy who did the recruiting. Being a brand-new baritone player and it not even being summer yet, I hadn't had much of an opportunity to talk to a lot of people. When I had the privilege of finally getting to know Andy, an awesome friendship began. Through thick and thin, Andy and I have stuck together to help one another, guide one another, and be that unbreakable wall when needed. We were able to find a way to lift each other out of the rut when we fell in it. Andy was one of the drum majors' biggest supporters last year (my first year as drum major), and I cannot even begin to explain how honored I am to serve with him in this position. So, of course we talk! Ebert: I talk to Matt at least once a day. He is one of my very good friends. When I realized that we were going to be doing this job together I couldn't have been more excited. Matt is a great person who is always positive and who genuinely cares about everyone that he meets. So yes, we keep in very close contact. What during the summer are you looking forward to the most? Hensley: This is a loaded question. There are so many things to look forward to! Drum corps is a totally outrageous experience if you think about it. I can't imagine any other experience we'll have in our youth where we can all come together and do something in such a way that it stirs emotion in thousands and thousands of people. I think that's what I'm looking forward the most, to see how our corps comes together. I'm looking forward to seeing how the corps comes together to make our show come alive, and how we learn to live together. That's one thing that's great about drum corps -- every year is different, and you keep learning more and more from the people around you. The way the corps bonds and becomes the family that it must is something that I know I will look forward to year after year. Long after finals in August, we'll still always remember how we came together to persevere, overcome, and succeed. Or better yet, we'll simply remember that this summer, "The Elements" was an experience of a lifetime! Ebert: If I had to narrow it down I would say that I am looking forward to two main things. I am looking forward to all those little things that make drum corps so great. All the goofy things that people remember years later, the stories that everyone tells over and over again but always stay just as funny. The second thing that I am looking forward to is sharing our show and our emotion with crowds all over the country. I am really looking forward to the Glassmen connecting with the people in the stands and the people in the stands connecting with the Glassmen.