Name, age, hometown: Kristen "K.K." Richard, 17, Big Spring, Texas. What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? Crossmen mellophone line. Where I go to school and what I'm studying: Big Spring High School and Howard College. Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. At my high school, I marched French horn my freshman and sophomore years. I was assistant drum major my junior year and continued this year as drum major. I have also helped out as a music/marching consultant and tech when needed. In drum corps, I marched mellophone in Revolution in 2003. I marched in the Crossmen mellophone line in 2004 and 2005. I look to continue with the Crossmen until I ageout in 2009.
What's your practice schedule like? I have a crazy schedule this year! So I practice whenever I get the chance. It's normally from noon to 1 p.m. and as long as I can from 4 to 6 p.m. Plus, I have a weekly practice with my woodwind quintet that usually lasts about and 1.5 hours. What does your ideal free day consist of? Well, most importantly, really good restaurants -- they are the best places for hungry drum corps kids to hang out. It's cool when there's a movie showing that night too, for the whole corps to watch together. And it's great to do laundry, and have extra time to give the horn a hardcore cleaning (like the three-hour jobs -- don't laugh, I've done it before). Overall, relax and enjoy time to hang with the corps family. Favorite pig-out food: Don't tell the corps staff, but I love to eat chocolate mints, brownies, ice cream. But some of my favorite real food is burritos, steak and grilled catfish. In the shower you can hear me singing: Drum corps music? Casting Crowns, Jars of Clay, Kutless, Switchfoot, Nichole Nordeman, Joy Williams, Jeremy Camp, Building 429. The last good book I read: "Calculus, 8th edition"? Just kidding. No time for reading books lately, but "The Divine Dance" by Shannon Kubiak is pretty good. The last great film I saw: "Noel" -- it's a tearjerker. Jobs I have/have had: Church nursery when needed. I've been employed by the local hospital for almost a year now, and I give private horn lessons. I also play gigs here and there. My favorite TV show: "Boys Meets World" is a classic, "Everybody Love Raymond," "Becker," "MASH," and most anything on the History Channel. What has been your formative drum corps moment? Wow. It's hard to pick just one! I started typing something about an event. But in all seriousness, it was the moment just this past year where the light turned on and I truly realized how much I didn't know. I always knew I didn't know everything. But I also realized there were things that I thought I knew, but in reality I had no clue. This realization made me more flexible with what I do on and off the field. I think it's now that I can really begin to learn. Things aren't always as clear cut as they may seem. What would you be doing next summer if you were not marching? I would be camping, hiking, hanging with friends, more symphony gigs, preparing for college, going to Cambridge University in the summer, and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. I guess working, too. How did you decide to be a member of your corps? Well, it's a long story how I came to be with the corps, but I can tell why I decided to return to the Crossmen. I love the Crossmen image and attitude. That atmosphere is so intense and cool, there's no other place I could see myself. I love the music we play; jazz isn't something I get to do often outside of corps. But most importantly, the people here are amazing. I love my corpsmates, staff, volunteers and fans. One time a 10-year-old boy came up to me while I was in uniform at Allentown and he told me he wanted to be Bones. It was the cutest thing ever, and I know I'll always remember him and wonder if we influenced him enough to follow that aspiration. The volunteers and I watch out for each other (more like they watch out for me!) and we have become really great friends. I can go almost anywhere and know that there is a Crossmen nearby that I can count on. What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? Drum corps looked like something cool, fun, new and exciting. What advice would you give to young people who want to march? Be careful about when you start. I started when I was 14 and my body is starting to kick me for it. Carefully look at corps, pros and cons -- there's a lot that you will sacrifice to march, especially at a really young age. Here's a good quote I heard: "Decide what you want, what you're willing to sacrifice for it, and get to work." If you decide that this is something you definitely want to do, go for it! Don't let others doubt you just because of your age (in fact, you will most likely have to work twice as hard as everyone else if you are so young). There are young kids that are perfectly capable (and sometimes more capable than the older guys and gals) of marching drum corps. Enjoy every moment of it and don't take anything for granted. March every year like it's your last. What I want to be when I "grow up": Well, my dream is to be a professional horn player. Ideally, I'd like to conduct as well. Favorite drum corps personality and why: Oh, wow. I'd have to name about 100 people! Seriously, though -- it's about the fans. You guys are so appreciative, going crazy in the stands -- there's nothing like it. As far as specific people, it's people like Crossmen Pat McGee, Mike Gus, Becky Terry, Aaron Goldberg and Cedric Solice that have kind of encouraged and watched over me and taught me so much, sometimes without knowing it. Best drum corps show ever and why: 1992 Velvet Knights. The year is 2030. What does a DCI show look like? I don't know, but I'll be 42 years old, sitting in the stands enjoying it. I still say there will be hovercrafts, though. Feel free to add anything else you'd like. Thank you to everyone who's been a part of my drum corps experience, whether directly or indirectly. It's been awesome so far and I'm looking forward to the next four years as a member and many more as a fan.
From left to right: Shane (baritone), Julie (trumpet), me (mello), Little John (trumpet), Rebecca (trumpet) at a laundry day in Chesapeake, Va., in late June.