Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: David M. Kaijala, Cavaliers guard

The DCI.org interview: David M. Kaijala, Cavaliers guard

by Drum Corps International

Name, age, hometown: David M. Kaijala, 21, Muskegon, Mich. What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? The Cavaliers, as a second year color guard member. I'll spend the summer trying to serve the corps as best I can on and off the field.

David Kaijala
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I was "fitted" for flute in middle school, as kids were going into the band program, and soon after that, I tried bassoon, and that became my major instrument. When I got to high school, I wanted to be in the Mighty Sailor Marching Band (Mona Shores, Mich.), so I had to pick up my flute again. After playing for two years and never quite being satisfied not being able to play fast riffs and high notes, my director, Mr. Adams, suggested that I try out for the color guard, noticing that I also had an interest in musical theatre: "I heard that you want to try out for the music theatre troupe here. Why don't you go out for the guard so as to get a little movement experience for that?" I wouldn't have thought of doing color guard on my own, but I tried it, and fell in love with it. My story continues in the next question. How did you decide to be a member of your corps? After seeing DCI on public television in 2001, while I was still a little color guard guy, I had to go see the show live. I drove to Madison in
2002 with band friends, and saw the Division I corps in all their color and sound and fury, including the Cavaliers' "perfect show," "Frameworks." No corps compared to their sheer precision, wild innovation, absolute integration, and full show package. It was like all the other corps were trying to imitate that, and the Cavaliers were the grand achievers, the ideal. Seeing the men of the Cavalier color guard standing there as I left early from retreat (we didn't know about the incredible patriotic medley the corps were about to play), I was struck with their stance, and how much more awesome they were than any sports team I'd seen, and I knew I had to be one of those guys. I tried out that November, and kept coming back until April, but then got cut and went to the Madison Scouts, never giving up the dream. I have never attended a rehearsal camp with any other corps than my own, and I haven't missed one since 2002 finals. After a summer of training with Jenifo and watching the corps from closer up, I came back hard in 2004, and have never regretted the decision, even though for a while I thought I might. I bleed kelly green, and my love for this corps grows every day. What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? Drum and bugle corps was everything I saw that marching band could be, but never delivered. I was frustrated with kids who didn't know how to look past themselves and see a body (the French "corps") in motion, creating total entrainment with each other, and putting something on the field which is for greater than the individual, especially the selfish individual. I love weapons spinning calmly but wildly in the air, horn moves that catch you off guard, beats I can't possibly drum on my thighs, but speak a language no other thing can; I love drum corps ballads, the stylized running that is extended step marching, practicing difficult choreography that cannot possibly be perfected in one day or even one month of practices; I love how the Cavaliers feed us, sleep us, care for us; I love high school kids (like I was) screaming for us at big shows. Pageantry is magical, and fetches emotions that no other activity can, but only if it is done well -- up to the standard of drum corps. What advice would you give to young people who want to march? Learn to think continuously, never give up applying your mind to every count of every show you ever learn; then learn to stop thinking, and let your technique carry you into a realm of performance you never thought possible. It will blow your mind what you will do, if you decide that you will do it. I'm not talented, I just worked really hard. The last good book I read: Philippians, the apostle Paul's letter the church in Philippi in around 70 A.D. Learning to live right is one of my favorite things to do. The last great film I saw: "The Incredibles" packs so much sly humor and cartoon action into each second, I'm enraptured the whole time. Where I go to school and what I'm studying: I attend Western Michigan University, where I'm accepted to two colleges: The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as a mechanical engineering major, and The College of Fine Arts, as a dance major. I'm carefully weighing the decision of whether to start the dance major right now. I've been taking math, science and engineering courses for the last three years. Jobs I have/have had: I've been a painting contractor and a security guard, besides doing the odd major job for my mom, who is selling her home. Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: Selah, "Press On", for its passionately performed hymns of the faith; Arturo Sandoval's "Hot House", for its hot brass; The Cavaliers, "The Championship Years", for few do it better. My favorite TV show: I don't watch television. Favorite performers: Pilobolus, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Graham, Nick Pupillo, Tommy Allen, Mark Laydon, and more that I haven't ever heard of. How do you "blow off steam?" I fall to my knees and pray; I tell God exactly what I think. What has been your formative drum corps moment? Attending my first audition camp in November of 2002, and seeing the incredible performers that are the Cavaliers for the first time up close. It is still my dream to live up to that first impression I got of what a great performer should be. I still can't toss as well as those guys. Best drum corps show ever: The Cavaliers in 2002. If a show ever beats that one in abstract design, I'd like to see it. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? My greatest hope is to perform on the incredible Cavalier saber line with my some of the most amazing people I've ever met; to max out every moment of tour, from rehearsal to the time I get to spend with my friends; and wearing my corps jacket around drum corps people again. No one here recognizes it. Best thing about being in a drum corps: Performing. For those of you that have done it, you know that no explanation is needed. Worst thing about being in a drum corps: The worst thing is not being able to work over the summer. It would be nice to make a buck instead of spending it. During tour, the best part of the day is: The part I'm in. I love rehearsals, meals, shows, hanging out after shows, and sleeping almost always right when they come. Except perhaps when my whole body is wicked sore during pretour. Then, it feels like no part of the day is fun! During tour, the worst part of the day is: When I start thinking, "This is the worst part of the day." Favorite drum corps personality and why: Michael Cesario, for his incredible creativity and charisma. One can't help but love that guy. What I want to be when I "grow up": A dangerous, gentle man with a purpose. Describe what you think a typical DCI show will look in 2015. The same as now, but we'll be louder, more in tune, more together, and more interesting to watch, with drill writers learning how to do it more creatively and better. I was going to add that we'd march in three dimensions using chic, rocket-propelled MTXs designed by Cesario himself, but everyone is going to say something ridiculous about the future like that. You can be sure The Cavaliers would still have the best flying technique, thanks to Matt Heard.