Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Chris Michelotti, Cavaliers tuba

The DCI.org interview: Chris Michelotti, Cavaliers tuba

by Drum Corps International

Name, age, hometown: Chris Michelotti, 19, Mount Prospect, Ill. What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? This will be my third year marching contra in the Cavaliers. Where I go to school and what I'm studying: This will be my second year at Harper Community College where I have switched majors from music education to architecture.

Chris Michelotti
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. The first time I saw a marching band was at a rehearsal for my alma mater, Prospect High School. They were working on their 1999 program in the stadium. I begged my mom to let me go because I was in the band program at my junior high and wanted to see what I was getting myself into. Needless to say the band had me mesmerized and I couldn't wait to march amongst them. The next year at Prospect, the band placed second and third at various BOA regionals and were just cut short of making finals at the Grand Nationals. The next two years were a blur, winning some, losing some, making a ton of great friends along the way. My senior year was when I had finally realized what drum corps was. Jeff Fiedler was a visual instructor for the band and, while talking to him one day, I decided to audition for the Cavaliers. As the winter camps rolled around, I practiced every day, got nervous just like everyone else does, went to the November camp and made the tuba line. From then (2004) on I have been with the Cavaliers, meeting new people from all over the world. I am currently on my second trip to Japan where I am working with/marching in a top-tier marching band called Aimachi. We are on our way to the finals competition in Tokyo where we will compete to be the best in Japan! What's your practice schedule like? I try and practice every day, it is a lot different here in Japan than it would be at home. Free time here allows us time to practice, work out, do whatever. So I practice about an hour or so a day before rehearsal. What does your ideal free day consist of? If we are in the Chicagoland area, I like to go home and just chill in our pool, have a bbq with some friends and family, and meet up with the corps later that night. Anywhere else I usually hang out with other tuba players, see a movie, get some (OK, too much) food. Favorite pig-out food: Ribs! Or pizza, ice cream, tortilla chips, burritos, chicken, ham, popcorn, spaghetti ... In the shower you can hear me singing: Well, if I sang in the shower, I imagine I would sing something with a good poppy beat, something lighthearted. Something like, "Nose over Tail" by Alkaline Trio. The last good book I read: "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess The last great film I saw: The first 45 minutes of "Phantom of the Opera" in Japanese. Fascinating. Jobs I have/have had: I worked at UPS as a truck loader, worked with Fort Atkinson high school's marching band cleaning their drill and such. My favorite TV show: "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" What has been your formative drum corps moment? Marching "Cuba" in the 2004 production, "007." The most intricate, intense, challenging drill I have ever found myself entangled in. Hardest drill ever? What would you be doing next summer if you were not marching? WORKING! Making money to pay for the summer after next's dues, going to summer school to get my associates faster and moving on to a state school. How did you decide to be a member of your corps? Well, I didn't really know much of anything about drum corps when I joined. The only videos I had ever seen were of The Cavaliers, 1992, 1995 and 2000. And like I said before, Jeff was teaching at my high school. What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? Watching the Cavaliers' 2000 production "Niagara Falls." I remember thinking how incredible the drill, and the music, and how throughout the entire show everyone looked so cool, I knew that I had to try out. What advice would you give to young people who want to march? Do it! If you want to march, no matter where, go to the audition. Too many people don't audition because they think they aren't good enough of a player to make the corps. How could you ever possibly know if you are good enough or not if you don't audition? And as far as dues go, there are literally dozens of opportunities to make the money through fundraisers, or it may be as simple as getting a job for a few months. What I want to be when I "grow up": I would love to be the director of a drum corps -- either that or be a great architect, designing housing for the future generations -- or maybe do both of those? Favorite drum corps personality and why: David Bertman, Cavaliers brass caption head. He always knows exactly what we need to do to get better, when to really push us to the edge of our abilities, when to take it a little easier on us. He is one of (if not the) best instructors I have ever had. And aside from that, he can be hilarious, more than a few great stories have come from him. Best drum corps show ever and why: The Cavaliers 2001 show, "Four Corners." The constant movement, it is a relentless show moving from one movement and idea right to the next, moving faster for longer than anyone ever has. The drill was written perfectly, fitting every beat of the music. The music was perfect, keeping the audience engaged like no other show ever has. The year is 2030. What does a DCI show look like? Before each corps performs, they will be required to run windsprints from end zone to end zone. If the drill doesn't have at least three full-corps jazz running sets, that corps will not place, and if the show concept is comprehendible that corps will be considered immature and "stuck in the past." Feel free to add anything else you'd like. I would just to make a shout out to my parents, I couldn't have done any of this without you. My sisters, Nicole and Robyn, you are the greatest. My girlfriend, Gretchen, I will see you finals night. And to my tuba guys in the Aimachi Marching Band, Marty doesn't know what he is saying, tubas aren't supposed to sound like that.