Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: James Foulis, East Coast Jazz drum major

The DCI.org interview: James Foulis, East Coast Jazz drum major

by Drum Corps International

Name, hometown, corps, role this summer: My name is James Foulis. I am originally from Wrentham, Mass. I am the drum major for the 2004 East Coast Jazz Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are you involved with there? I am finishing up my second year at Northeastern University. I am majoring in electrical and computer engineering.

James Foulis
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 began marching in the King Philip Regional High School marching band when I was in 8th grade (fall 1997). I was in the pit for my first two years where I tried to learn as much as I could about all of the instruments in the pit. The following winter I joined the indoor marching percussion ensemble. During my time with King Philip, I was a part was a number of award-winning ensembles, including the 2000 WGI Scholastic World Champions, among others. I was also in the symphonic band and jazz ensembles, which gave me the opportunity to play at famous locations such as Boston's Symphony Hall and the Edward Hatch Memorial Shell. As for drum corps, I began watching in 1994 when my older brother Jack joined the East Coast Jazz. At about the same time, I began taking elementary percussion lessons with Dana Atwood (who is still writing for East Coast Jazz). I very quickly fell in love with everything percussion, especially drum corps. In 1999 I joined the East Coast Jazz as a member of the pit. I returned in 2000, stepping up into a bigger role in the pit. After taking a year off, I returned to the Jazz in 2002 as a snare drummer. Last year I intended on continuing as a snare, but hoping to step into more of a leadership role. During the winter, however, I was offered the opportunity to take on the role as drum major. I learned a lot about music and leading a drum corps last year, and I believe that I will be able to do an even better job this summer. The last good book I read: They aren't the last ones that I read, but some of my favorites are "Of Mice and Men" and "The Adventures of Huck Finn" The last great film I saw: "Bowling for Columbine" Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue"; Pink Floyd, "Dark Side of the Moon"; The Beatles, "Abbey Road" My favorite TV show: "The Simpsons" Favorite performers: That I have seen: Chad Sexton, Wynton Marsalis, Steven Tyler How do you "blow off steam?" Walk or run alone Why I march with the corps I am in: I march with the East Coast Jazz because of the members and staff who consistently make it their goal to strive for excellence, while still providing an entertaining show. Over the past six years, they have been like a second family to me. I've always known that if I ever needed anything, I could go to anyone in the corps for help. It has provided me with the opportunity to make a number of friends locally, nationally and internationally. East Coast Jazz has taught me a lot about music, but more importantly, it has taught me a lot about growing up, working towards a goal, and becoming a better person. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? I always work my hardest to get the most out of everything that I do. In drum corps and band, I've always looked up to my leaders and staff in hopes of one day being able to be a leader myself. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? I won't be selfish or ask any of the members to do anything that I wouldn't do myself. I try to lead by example and show the fellow members that I am not any better than them. I will try to communicate with the staff and the fellow members to make the season run as smooth as possible. What has been your formative drum corps moment? My most formative drum corps moment came on finals night in 2003 and I had to say goodbye to the 2003 East Coast Jazz forever. This is when I realized that it really doesn't matter where you march or what place you come in, because in a few years from now no one will really care about that. It is the experiences and memories that will change your life forever. Most importantly, it is the friendships you make that will last a lifetime. Best drum corps show ever: 1993 Star of Indiana What are you most looking forward to about the summer? I'm looking forward to going into the season more prepared than we've ever been before and really shocking some people. Best thing about being a drum corps leader: Earning the respect of everyone in the corps and everyone who sees us perform. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: Having to be the bad guy if one of my friends does something wrong. During tour, the best part of the day is: The performance. Knowing that the entire corps did their best and really having the crowd appreciate it. During tour, the worst part of the day is: Waking up Favorite drum corps personality and why: Paul Cain, he has been the emcee at many of the shows that I have been at throughout high school and drum corps. Whenever I see him he wishes me luck in the show What do you want to be when your drum corps career is over? Most of all, I'd like to feel a sense of closure, that I performed for as many years as I did and I have no regrets with it being over, even though I'm sure I will never stop missing it. I'd like to stay involved in the activity in some way. I also want to graduate from college and be successful. Lastly, I'd like to thank all of my family, friends, and teachers (especially Neil Larrivee, Peter Tileston, Dana Atwood, Andy Carpenter and all of the rest) who have supported me and helped me get to where I am today.