Name, hometown, corps: Ben Collins, Batavia, Ill., the Cavaliers What is your role in the corps this summer? Drum sergeant Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are you involved with there? University of Illinois, symphonic and athletic bands Give us your full drum corps/marching music background, and how each position prepared you for the leadership role you're in this summer. In 1996 and 1997 I was introduced to marching percussion by marching with the Marlyn Majorettes baton and drum corps. Three years later, I marched in the quad line with the Blue Stars. This was an eye-opening experience for me. I was humbled nearly everyday. That summer also toughened me up quite a bit. The next year I was fortunate enough to make the Cavaliers' tenor line. I've spent the last three summers there and am returning for my fourth and final. I learned a lot from the section leaders that came before me. I also teach at five high schools. This experience has helped me sharpen my professional abilities in an educational sense.
The last good book I read: "Mere Christianity," by C.S. Lewis The last great film I saw: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: "Tranceport" by Paul Oakenfold, "Discovery" by Daft Punk, "Nutcracker Suite" as recorded by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra My favorite TV show: "The Family Guy" Favorite performers: Outkast, and the Urbana Sound Machine How do you "blow off steam?" Listen to music, lift weights Why I march with the corps I am in: My teacher during high school (Bret Kuhn) works with the corps and I really look up to him and what he stands for. He influenced me to give it a shot. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? Not really. It was always my goal to do my best and be a good example. The leadership position was a privilege that came as a product of a lot of hard work. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? Everyone in one way or another leads. The only difference with my position is how I can direct others abilities to benefit the group. It's a great opportunity. What has been your formative drum corps moment? In 2001 after finals, when the horn line played "Rainbow." Best drum corps show ever: I love the 2000 Cavaliers show, and the 1997 Blue Devils show. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? Crazy bus rides and getting to know everyone better. Best thing about being a drum corps leader: I get to change some things that could be better. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: You're always thinking about ways to improve things. That can cause a lot of stress. During tour, the best part of the day is: Getting ready for the show just as the sun is setting. During tour, the worst part of the day is: "Good morning ... (buzz from the lights) ... time to get up ... breakfast is ready" (Jeff Fielder's voice every morning). Favorite drum corps personality and why: Michael Cesario. He's a great guy. What do you want to be when your drum corps career is over? I would like to teach music at the high school level.