Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Joshua Purvis, Pioneer drum major

The DCI.org interview: Joshua Purvis, Pioneer drum major

by Drum Corps International

Name, hometown, corps:Joshua Purvis, Knoxville, Tenn., Pioneer What is your role in the corps this summer? Drum major Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are you involved with there? University of Tennessee. I enjoy playing intramural sports, mostly just floor hockey.

Joshua Purvis
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background, and how each position prepared you for the leadership role you're in this summer. Because of my family being in the military I was able to march at two high schools. My first two years was in Pace, Fla., where I was bass section leader. Then I moved to Sevierville, Tenn., and was assistant drum major my junior year and head drum major my senior year. In college I marched two years in the tenor line with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. I was drum major for Pioneer last year and I am returning for my age out this year. Last year really taught me what it would take to be an exceptional leader. It was a hard job for me simply because I was a rookie drum major and had no clue what to expect out of the season. This year has been so much smoother for me simply because I know what to expect and I have become a greater influence over the members. The last good book I read: "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown The last great film I saw: "The Butterfly Effect" Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: Garth Brooks, "Live in Central Park," Linkin Park, "Hybrid Theory," Matchbox 20, "Yourself or Someone Like You" My favorite TV show: "Las Vegas" Favorite performers: I'm not a big country fan, but Garth Brooks would have to be my favorite performer. He knows how to put on a show and when he sings he just seems to have fun with it. He doesn't tour anymore, but if he did, I would travel a great distance just to see him. How do you "blow off steam?" Singing helps me out from time to time. There were some times during tour last year where I would need to just blow off steam and I would do so by sitting in a field, listening to my music, and singing along with it. Why I march with the corps I am in: My roommate Austin was in Glassmen and his girlfriend at the time, Emily, was drum major for Pioneer in 2002. I only had two years left and I wanted to conduct somewhere and she told me about Pioneer. I went to December camp and was offered the spot as one of the two drum majors. It was such a warm environment and they were very accepting, which is why I returned to Pioneer. Another reason I returned is because of the impact I can have on the corps. Pioneer did its best last year as it will do again. We are rebuilding our numbers and who knows, you may even see us in semifinals. If Pioneer jumps six spots this year, then I can say, I was apart of the organization when it went from 23 to 17. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? Yes. I told everyone that I was going to be a drum major in a drum corps. Many didn't think it was possible simply because the closet corps is six hours away and I didn't have much time left to march. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? One thing that I always learned about leadership is that you can't put yourself above everyone else. You can't be leader if you have no one to follow you. The members respect me because they want to not because they have to. That really helps me balance out my leadership. What has been your formative drum corps moment? Pioneer goes to church on Sundays and the moment from corps that has influenced me the most was our last church service. We went to a Baptist church right around the corner from our housing site in Orlando. At one point during the service they asked for people to come down and pray. So, one by one, some of the members along with myself went to the front of the church. I felt a hand on my shoulder as I knelt down and I looked back to see almost all of the corps had come down to the front. It was silent for a moment when someone began our corps prayer. "Thank you Lord for the togetherness ... " No one was expecting it and we all began to say it together. In between parts of it you could hear the sniffs from people crying. People were probably praying to have a good show or there were people like me praying for it not to end. We had come together many times over the summer, but not like that. We were truly a family. Best drum corps show ever: From Pioneer, probably 1997 when they did "Riverdance." From another corps, probably Madison Scouts 1988. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? The first show! Best thing about being a drum corps leader: The impact you have on the lives of the other members. Whether it be helping someone out with a personal problem or pushing them to be the best they can be, you have the power to influence them. They always tell you that they couldn't have done it with out you, but honestly, I think sometimes it is the other way around: You couldn't have done it without them. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: That first look of disappointment you get. You are not going to always do everything right and as leader you strive to be the best, but that doesn't always happen. No matter if you are drum major, horn sergeant, or a section leader, you have 101 things you have to worry about. Sometimes things get overlooked. During tour, the best part of the day is: The down time you get in between rehearsal blocks. You get to relax and hang out with the other members. During tour, the worst part of the day is: Waking up and getting started in the morning, especially for field lining crew. We have to get up earlier than everyone else, miss stretch, and get a 10-minute breakfast. Not so much fun. Favorite drum corps personality and why: Al Ratcliffe He is probably one of the nicest people I met last year on tour. He told me if I ever needed anything that I could talk to him about it and I took him up on his offer from time to time. What do you want to be when your drum corps career is over? The plan is to graduate in a year with a double major in criminal justice and psychology. More than likely I'll either continue on to graduate school or law school.

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