Drum Corps International
"Mom always said..." parents and kids share their experiences

"Mom always said..." parents and kids share their experiences

by Drum Corps International

From the March issue of DCI Today Every parent wants only the best for their children. So what would Rick and Debbie Odello, alumni of the Blue Devils from Concord, Ca., want? All four of their boys to follow in their footsteps, of course. DCI Today had the fortunate experience of interviewing current members of drum corps whose parents have participated in the activity. Below, the Odello family shares with you their past and future in the drum corps activity.
Name: Rick Odello, father
Corps: The Blue Devils
Section: Snare Drummer / Section leader
Years Marched: 1957 to 1974 – Blue Devils "A" Corps Staff Member; Percussion Caption Head; Arranger; Consultant 1973 to 1981; Sabbatical 1979.
Current Affiliation: Current Director of Blue Devils "C" Corps; "C" Corps Staff Member 1982 to Present DCI Today:How does it make you feel knowing your sons are carrying on your legacy in the same organization you marched and have spent so much time with? Rick Odello: First of all I would like to thank my parents Tony and Ann Odello for starting the Blue Devil organization in back in 1957 and getting myself, my sister Annette, brother Tony Jr. and myself involved. I could not be more pleased that all four of my sons have decided to continue in our proud family tradition of being Blue Devil members. I feel extremely fortunate that three of our sons will be marching with the A Corps percussion section this year, and one with the B Corps. Living the greatest experience of my life over again through my son's eyes is an incredibly rewarding and emotional experience. DCI Today: What are some similarities and differences you notice between your drum corps experience any your son's experience? Rick Odello: The life long relationships and friendships you develop while being a drum corps has never changed. The great opportunity to travel and gain life experiences that will never be forgotten is still there. The difference really is in the tremendous quality of today's programs and performances. The way the performances and the activity have continued to evolve and improve is truly remarkable. Name: Debbie (Milina) Odello, mother
Corps: Concord Blue Devils
Section: Color Guard/Captain
Years Marched: 1969 to 1975; instructed the Blue Devils "B" Corps 1970 to 1977
Current Affiliation: "C" Corps Operations Manager, uniforms, chaperone. "B" Corps uniforms, chaperone, cook, etc. DCI Today:How does it make you feel knowing your sons are carrying on your legacy in the same corps you marched with? Debbie Odello: It makes me feel very proud and sometimes emotional to have 3 of our 4 sons march with the "A" Corps this year. My husband's parents are the founders of the Blue Devils Organization. My siblings, sister Nancy and brothers Steve and Dan were all members of the Blue Devils "A". My parents, Frank & Marylou Milina were also very involved with the activity when we were members. My Dad is a past President of the Blue Devils Parent's Association, "B" Corps Manager, bus driver, chaperone, cook, you name it. I met my wonderful husband, of 25 years, when I was in the corps. All of our boys started marching with the youngest group, Blue Devils "C", at around age 4. This year our 3 oldest sons are marching with the Blue Devils "A" Corps. This is our oldest son's age out year. Our youngest son has moved up this year to bass drum in the "B" Corps. This season will be full of many firsts for our entire family. DCI Today: What are some similarities and differences you notice between your drum corps experience any your son/daughter's experience? Debbie Odello: The life long friendships made, the dedication, hard work, hard-long practices, team work, uniqueness, being the best you can be, the overall competition - these are all areas I believe are still similar as "back in the day" when I marched. The difference that I find is that the style of the activity has changed. When I was a member there were requirements each corps incorporated into their shows, (opener, color presentation - it was mandatory to carry the American flag - concert, exit, re-entry). The timing and penalty judge shot a gun to signal the end of the timed part of the performance. We were judged with the "tick system", which created much more precision in our style. Today, the activity has moved towards the artistic and theatrical side, performing at a much faster tempo, dancing has become a huge part of today's drum corps. The music itself has become more challenging and difficult. I find today's drum corps just as entertaining as when I was a member, but I do miss the cleanliness of the performance. In today's drum corps there is a certain gray area in the judging of the performance, and a liking to a certain style. In my day, the music, marching, color guard, overall performance was either clean or dirty - nothing in between, and each corps was awarded accordingly. I do have to say, once this activity gets into your blood, it's there for life.
Name: Ricky Odello, son
Corps: Blue Devils
Section: Bass drum
Years Marched: 1989 to present ( "A" Corps 2003) DCI Today:How do you feel marching, knowing your mother and father had this same experience before you? Ricky Odello:It's definitely a cool thing for me to know that my mother and father both marched in the Blue Devils. It's important for families to have traditions, this is ours and it's an amazing one. My brothers and I are the third generation of Odello's in drum corps and I'm sure there will be a fourth. DCI Today:What are some similarities and differences you notice between your drum corps experience and your parent's experience? Ricky Odello:I've noticed that the entire activity has slowly evolved over time. It's funny, because my dad and I argue over the tuning of the bass drums. He says things like, "you guys crank those way too high, it sounds like your beating on tin cans", but I, of course think they sound best that way. That's because when he marched and taught the Blue Devils "A" Corps the bass drums were tuned low, and now we crank them. Everything about the activity has become harder since my parent's marched. Current Marching Member:
Name: Adam Odello, son
Corps: Concord Blue Devils "A"
Section: Bass Line
Years Marched: Blue Devils "C" - 1988 to 1996; Blue Devils "B" - 1997 to 2002; Blue Devils "A" - 2003 to ? DCI Today:How do you feel marching, knowing your parents had this same experience before you? Adam Odello:I think it's great to share such a unique experience with my parents and family. I hope to one day pass on this tradition of excellence to my kids. DCI Today:What are some similarities and differences you notice between your drum corps experience and your parent's experience? Adam Odello:It is obvious that the activity has evolved a great deal since my parents were involved. Show designs and ideas are drastically different; however, I feel that the life lessons that can be learned from this activity have stood the test of time. One of the major similarities I see is the desire to be the best.
Current Marching Member:
Name: Andrew Odello, son
Corps: Blue Devils
Section: Bass Line
Years Marched: BDC - 1993 to 2002; BDB - 2003 to ? DCI Today:How do you feel marching, knowing your mother and father had this same experience before you? Andrew Odello:I think it is wonderful how my family can be in the activity for so long. Even all of my Aunt's and Uncle's were in the corps as well. DCI Today:What are some similarities and differences you notice between your drum corps experience and your parent's experience? I think the activity has become a lot harder, but back in the day you still had to work hard. Moving from the "C" Corps to the "B" Corps bass line is a huge step, so I need to really work hard this year. I'm looking forward to it.
Current Marching Member:
Name: Ryan Odello
Corps: Blue Devils "A"
Section: Bass (section leader)
Years Marched: 1986 - 2000, 2002, 2003 DCI Today:How does it make you feel, knowing your mother and father had this same experience before you? Ryan Odello:The thought that my parents were working towards the same goals, with the same corps, nearly thirty years ago is a proud thought indeed. Each time I put on my uniform I am reminded of all those who have marched before me. By marching with the Blue Devils I am not only upholding the traditions of my parents, but the traditions of two aunts and four uncles who also confidently wore the "super suits" in the generation past. What makes me prouder yet is the fact that I will be marching side by side with two of my three younger brothers, Adam(19) and Ricky(17), in the Blue Devil Bass Line this year. My youngest brother Andrew(13) will be marching with the Blue Devil "B" Bass Line this year as well. This is an amazing accomplishment for his young age, for which I am extremely proud. I look forward to watching all three of them become the excellent members that the Blue Devils are known to produce. Drum corps is truly a family experience for me, and without the strong connection that I have between Blue Devils and family I'm not so sure that I could have lasted 17 seasons as a marching member. My age out year should be a unique and memorable experience that I will never forget. DCI Today:What are some similarities and differences you notice between your drum corps experience and your parent's experience? Ryan Odello: For the most part the experience of drum corps has remained the same from when my parents marched, 60's and 70's, until now. There have been many evolutions in the activity such as asymmetric drill, advent of the pit, color guard becoming more dance oriented, the change to Bb horns, the list continues but the experience stays virtually the same. Today I am part of on of the best, possibly the best, drum corps in the world, just as my parents were. There are still 100 plus people who devote their time, effort, and money to reach the goal of excellence. We sleep on gym floors, take cold showers, practice in 110 degree heat, and tour the country in cramped buses just as my parents did. Although I think our buses are slightly nicer then what they had, with the televisions and air conditioning. The experience of marching in a drum corps at any location, at any level is a memorable and unique one. This is what keeps members coming back and putting fans in the seats year after year. It excites me to know that there are thousands of other people out there, including those in my family, who's drum corps experience was more similar then it was different from my own. So no matter how many more rules changes are implemented into the activity, the Experience of marching in a drum corps will be primarily unaffected.