Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Courtney Lawrence, Phantom Regiment euphonium

The DCI.org interview: Courtney Lawrence, Phantom Regiment euphonium

by Drum Corps International

Name, age, hometown: Courtney Lawrence, 19, Houston, Texas

What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? This will be my third summer in the Phantom Regiment Buick line (euphonium).

Where I go to school and what I'm studying: I am a music education major at the University of Houston.

Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I played saxophone during concert season in high school. I played trombone in the marching band for two years and served as drum major for two years. I am now in the saxophone studio at the University of Houston, though I still play trombone in the marching band. I refuse to march with anything other than a brass instrument. I filled a soprano hole in the Colts in 2003 and played euphonium in the Phantom Regiment in 2004 and 2005.

Courtney Lawrence (center) with friends Matt Atkinson (left) and Robert McPhail (right)
What's your practice schedule like? I practice in between classes, in the middle of the night or whenever I can find time.

What does your ideal free day consist of? Having plenty of time to just relax and spend time with my friends in a stress-free environment. Spend lots of money on a great steak or get a free meal at the Beef-a-Roo.

Favorite pig-out food: Goldfish

In the shower you can hear me singing: "Ave Maria"

The last good book I read: "The Lost Boy" by Dave Pelzer

The last great film I saw: "Walk the Line"

Jobs I have/have had: Music and visual tech for Clear Brook High School, private lesson teacher.

My favorite TV show: "24", "Lost," "Alias"

What has been your formative drum corps moment? Before the Allentown show this past summer. We stayed a few blocks from the stadium (J. Birney Crum!), and walked there and rehearsed on a field next to it. There were a lot of people watching, which was a big hype. We had an amazing pre-show warmup, with great motivational speeches by Dwight and JD. Marching to the stadium was incredible. Everything was just perfect. We had a great show, and we were definitely pushing together toward finals.

What would you be doing next summer if you were not marching? Summer school and teaching my high school's marching band. What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? Before 2003, I didn't know anything about drum corps. We got a new band director who has worked with a few corps in the past. He had the Colts stay at my high school after the San Antonio show, and they had a soprano hole. My director said he wanted me to take the spot, so I watched the group rehearse and got on the bus that night. I had three weeks to get used to the life, learn the show and see other corps.

How did you decide to be a member of your corps? In Hornell, N.Y., 2003, a bunch of us were late to retreat block because we were watching Phantom Regiment perform "Harmonic Journey." I fell in love. The low brass blew me away. The powerful white uniforms—I knew, right then and there, that someday, I would march in that corps.


What advice would you give to young people who want to march? Don't let yourself be intimidated by anyone. Be confident that you are prepared and that you deserve to be in the corps, and as a very wise man once told me, "Keep showing up until they tell you to leave."

What I want to be when I "grow up": I'd like to be a high school band director while still staying involved in the drum corps scene. I'd maybe join a military band before then. We'll see.

Favorite drum corps personality and why: JD Shaw. His brass arrangements are brilliant. He continues to outdo himself year after year. He's an amazing performer with Boston Brass. Incredible things happen when he stands in front of the horn line.

Best drum corps show ever and why: This week? 1996 Phantom Regiment. Though there will always be a special place in my heart for "Fire of Eternal Glory" from the 1993 Regiment.

Feel free to add anything else you'd like. The summer is fast approaching. Do it up. SUTA.

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