Name, hometown, corps: Ben Weed, Huntsville, Ala., Spirit Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are you involved with there? I am a sophomore at Mississippi State University where I study biological engineering. My main extracurricular activity is Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). We are currently designing our Formula race car for competition in May '05 in Detroit.

Ben Weed
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background, and how each position prepared you for the leadership role you're in this summer. I marched for four years in the Grissom High School marching band and the '04 summer will be my third with Spirit. In '02 I played mellophone, in '03 I was an assistant drum major, and this summer I am the head drum major. It's difficult to break down my preparation by position/season because every season is part of the learning process. There are so many things that are learned gradually or implicitly and I still have a lot to learn. The last good book I read: Hmmm ... my dynamics book? I read a lot more magazines than books (mostly car magazines) and my studies keep me pretty busy. I like to spend my free time hanging out with my friends or working on getting the design for the car for SAE. The last great film I saw: "Kill Bill: Vol. 1." "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" comes out today (last Friday) and I've already got my ticket. Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: "Pieces in a Modern Style," Paul Van Dyk
"Throwing the Game," Lucky Boy's Confusion
"Songs About Jane," Maroon 5 My favorite TV show: Either "Chapelle's Show" or "Family Guy." I really like edgy humor. I also watch "The Sopranos" religiously. Favorite performers: Conan O'Brien, James Gandolfini, Good Charlotte, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Edward Norton, Jon Faddis ... probably a bunch more I'm missing but I'll stop there. How do you "blow off steam?" Hang out with my friends, spend time with my girlfriend and march drum corps (it's my vacation from math and physics). Why I march with the corps I am in: It's home. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? Not at all. I always admired the people that I thought were great leaders but never really thought I was "leadership material." I just do my best to make the corps better and hope I can live up to those who I admired. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? I try be a corpsmate/friend all the time but I never try to balance or compromise. When being a friend would interfere with my responsibility as a leader, the drum corps comes first. If it were any other way I would be letting down the entire corps for one member. What has been your formative drum corps moment? My first drum corps show, June 20, 2004 at Jacksonville State University. It's hard to explain how your first show changes you but people who have marched before know exactly what I'm talking about. Best drum corps show ever: My favorite show is Cavaliers 2002. This was the first show that I ever saw live, since I had never been to a DCI show before my rookie year. It has been my favorite ever since. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? Shows. Performing is absolutely the best part of marching. Best thing about being a drum corps leader: Knowing that I'm doing the best job that I can to make the corps better. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: Having to be a leader before a friend. It doesn't happen very often but it's never something I like doing. During tour, the best part of the day is: Shows. During tour, the worst part of the day is: Field lining. I still have paint on my shoes from last summer. Favorite drum corps personality and why: If I had to pick one, and that's really tough, it'd be Nick Angelis (percussion caption head for Spirit). I absolutely love his teaching style. He has done so much to help me understand timing and tempo as a conductor. He's also a really great guy to talk to outside of rehearsal. What do you want to do when your drum corps career is over? Finish school. I have a few ideas for careers but since undergrad will be a few more years and I'll likely go to grad school nothing is set in stone. I'd like to stay involved with drum corps but I could not tell you in what context.