Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Gail Palechka, Glassmen guard captain

The DCI.org interview: Gail Palechka, Glassmen guard captain

by Drum Corps International

Name, hometown, corps: Gail Palechka, Kalamazoo, Mich., Glassmen. What is your role in the corps this summer? Color guard captain Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are
you involved with there?
I currently attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I'm a behavioral psychology major. I'm a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Sigma Theta national honor societies, and you can usually find me in Wood Hall or Waldo Library doing some kind of research for the psych department.

Gail Palechka
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 went to school at Portage Central High School, where I marched for three years in the color guard and was the captain my senior year (my three years there were from 1998 to 2000). I marched the 2003 season with Interplay winter guard (IO). And this will be my fourth and final year with the Glassmen (2001-2004). I was the flag sergeant in 2002. The last good book I read: "What Narcissism Means to Me," by Tony Hoagland. It's a really great collection of poetry. The last great film I saw: "Big Fish." I was expecting a light, cute movie when I walked in. I wasn't at all prepared for it to be as heavy and deep as it was. I was emotionally wrecked for the rest of the day. Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by The Flaming Lips, "Graceland" by Paul Simon, and "Shaking the Tree" by Peter Gabriel My favorite TV show: "Survivor." I wish I had a more intellectual answer for this one. Favorite performers: Martha Graham, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Margaret Cho, Chrissy Hynde, Amberlee Mucha, and of course Olyvia Jin, Katie Sanders and the rest of the lovely ladies of the Glassmen color guard. How do you "blow off steam?" Katie (Fred) Sanders and I usually find a bathroom or some far off spot at school we're staying and just complain and over-rationalize until we get everything out of our systems. We have a great relationship where we can take things out on each other with no hard feelings and listen to what the other has to say without taking anything personally. Why I march with the corps I am in: When I first came to the activity of drum corps I hardly knew anything about it. The Glassmen were close by and I had an instructor who had been the guard captain there. All I knew of drum corps was that marching would make you really good. And I wanted to be great. Now that I've gotten to know the people, I could never imagine of marching anywhere else. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? I wish I could be completely humble and say "No." When I first started I never seriously considered the possibility of being captain. But over the years, I realized that in fact yes, I did have the skills necessary to fulfill the position. I'm the type of person who doesn't pursue a position out of a desire for the job itself, but instead out of a knowledge and belief that no one else can do it better than I can. I see the leadership role as a natural progression of excelling at what you do. It's a sign of recognition from your peers and instructors that I've not only done my job and done it well but inspired others to do so as well. And that has always been my goal. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? There's no great secret to being a leader. It's simply the maturity to agree to sacrifice some your personal time and put the needs of the group ahead of your own needs. Everyone within a group has some type of role and leadership, whether you are the model rookie, the super vet, the rook-out, the gossip queen or the prankster. They all bring a piece to the puzzle and make the system work. A natural hierarchy will develop in any group. Now my role simply has an official title and duties to go along with it. What has been your formative drum corps moment?The Normal, Ill., show in 2001. There are very few moments in drum corps when you know for a fact that everyone on the field is thinking the exact same thing you are. At retreat when they announced we had won, we were all completely shocked and overjoyed. I could feel how happy everyone was and how hard we were all trying to maintain our composure on the field without even having to turn around. It was a great vibe. Best drum corps show ever: 2001 Glassmen. Ever. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? Aging out. I'm probably one of the few people you will hear that from. But getting to know and love the members of this corps and then get to end this chapter of my life with them is all I could have ever hoped for. And there isn't another group of people in the world that I would rather share the end of my marching career with. Best thing about being a drum corps leader: Getting to watch rookies figure it out and fall in love with the activity just like I did. And then see them to go on to become the future of the corps. Being able to guide them through that process is an awesome privilege. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: The most random things end up in your bus seat. "Why is the stereo here? Who was in charge of putting this away?" During tour, the best part of the day is: Right after you have a really great warmup. You feel invincible. A hurricane could come and you would still have a great show. Bring it. During tour, the worst part of the day is: During ensemble when the drum major yells "Reset!" and you have to reset a piece of equipment that's at the opposite end of the field. Favorite drum corps personality and why: Stanley Knaub. He was one of those people who you wanted nothing more than to please. He carried this aura where a single compliment from him could completely make your day. When he spoke about the activity it made you feel important, like you were doing something magical that could change the world. What do you want to be when your drum corps career is over? Maybe grad school. Maybe I'll march a world guard. Maybe I'll teach. Probably a little of all of the above.

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