Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Justin "Rudy" Heimbecker, Cadets euphonium

The DCI.org interview: Justin "Rudy" Heimbecker, Cadets euphonium

by Drum Corps International

Name, age, hometown:: My name is Justin "Rudy" Heimbecker, and I am 21 years old. I'm from Upper Darby, Pa. What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? I am in the 2005 Cadets euphonium section.

Justin Heimbecker
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I am a 2002 graduate of Upper Darby High School, just outside of Philadelphia. I played trombone for two years there, then one of the directors, Tim Pry, asked me to learn how to play baritone so that I could join the horn line he was involved with at Jersey Surf. ^I ended up playing baritone for my last two years at Upper Darby, for Jersey Surf in 2001, and the Bushwackers in 2002. I also played trombone in 2002 and tuba in 2003 with the IUP Legend. As far as my experience with the Cadets, in 2003 I ended up losing my baritone spot due to a broken ankle (it is NOT a good idea to play softball two weeks before move-in!), but I ended up acquiring a tuba spot at the end of spring training, just when I was having the cast removed. I finished out the year on tuba, and then went to the Bushwackers and filled a soprano hole for them at DCA Finals - that thing was a feather after a few months of playing tuba! In 2004, I played in the lead baritone line with the Cadets (injury free!), and this past winter I joined the euphonium section for the 2005 season. How did you decide to be a member of your corps? And what first attracted you to the drum corps activity? At Upper Darby, Tim Pry had marched with the Crossmen and Reading Buccaneers, while Jason Majerczak marched with the Bushwackers and the
Cadets, so there were always staff members watching the latest videos before and after band rehearsals. The Cadets just seemed to have a superhuman, disciplined aura about them since the first time I saw the
1998 show on video. I just remember wondering, "Who are these people, and how the heck are they this perfect?" At the time, I never even dreamed of being one of them.

What advice would you give to young people who want to march? The people that you see on the videos are NOT "superhuman." They took a little bit of talent, and through a lot of time and instruction and discipline, they worked to perfect their craft so that they can fool people into thinking they are superhuman. They were in your shoes at one time. Oh yeah, and keep the blue Gold Bond to your feet -- it's safer that way. Do you have any favorite road anecdotes? Last year, on Monday of finals week, we rehearsed a LONG day on the border of Iowa and Nebraska with a community pool right next to the stadium. Kids were playing, screaming, splashing all day long, having the time of their life -- and we hated them for it! So, Hop bought us all one hour in the park after rehearsal, and I don't think I have ever seen 135 high school/college students experience such pure, youthful joy! It was the most fun, relaxing, incredible hour, probably because the chlorine cleaned us better than two months of tour showers! The last good book I read: "Five People You Meet In Heaven" by Mitch Albom

The last great film I saw: Definitely "Napoleon Dynamite" -- chicks dig a guy with skills -- marching skills, playing skills, mark-time skills, bus-loading skills! Where I go to school and what I'm studying: I am a junior at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, studying music education with a concentration in euphonium. I plan to graduate in December 2006, then who knows -- grad school, performing, teaching? I am keeping a few options open for a while -- no rush. Jobs I have/have had: My most recent job was a nightmare. I was the guy that called your house at dinnertime and asked you to take a survey (sorry about that), but it paid for tour! Just FYI, if you don't specifically say "Take me off your list," those people are not obligated to, so say it verbatim -- a helpful hint to redeem myself for interrupting your dinner! Before that, I worked at American Eagle Outfitters for a few years, and before that I actually worked in a laser tag arena, which was a pretty fun high school job. Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, some compilation of DCI/Cadets greatest hits, Warren G's "Regulate/G Funk Era" (I've had that whole album memorized since 4th grade). I would want Adam Sandler's "Talking Goat" in there too -- I guess I can smuggle it onto the island. Do I get extra batteries for the CD player?

My favorite TV show: "24." Jack Bauer is the man. This month, though, NCAA March Madness is taking over the television.

Favorite performers: The Philadelphia Eagles -- OK, I didn't answer the question. I don't know who my favorite performers are, but I do know that I love the Eagles. How do you "blow off steam?" My roommates and I are currently addicted to the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." It is incredible how much you can do in that game -- a few rounds of that and we can get anything stressful out of our systems!

What has been your formative drum corps moment? Without a doubt, West Chester University in 2004. About 1,500 band kids got the indoor concert of a lifetime, and with it being so close to my hometown, my family and close friends snuck in and were able to experience the "rock concert" we put on that night. No medals or plaques can match that performance. Best drum corps show ever: Cadets 2000 -- OK, I am biased. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? Being with a lot of my best friends on the road, performing at a level of precision that I may never again experience with a performing ensemble, taking rep after rep with Sully on the microphone, warming up with Gino in the parking lot, being wicked tan, watching Joan cry when we play "Cadillac," wearing that uniform -- that's just the tip of the iceberg, I could go on for days! Best thing about being in a drum corps: Realizing how much potential I have as a person, and the incredible results when I have 134 people around me realizing the same thing. Worst thing about being in a drum corps: Fiesta corn in Florida. During tour, the best part of the day is: Before the show, singing the corps song -- that never gets old. A warm shower is nice, too.

During tour, the worst part of the day is: Horn arc right after lunch -- food coma sets in, and all our bodies want to do is sleep. An inhumanely hot or cold shower isn't great, either. Favorite drum corps personality and why: George Zingali -- I obviously never met him, but from the way people talk about him, he seems to be the most revered, almost mythical figure in the activity. I am sure the teachers I have today were influenced in some way by him, and so I will be, too.

What I want to be when I "grow up": Well-rounded -- as a husband, father, son, teacher, athlete, brother -- everything. Describe what you think a typical DCI show will look in 2015. Hmmm -- I think with rules changes that are to pass in the coming years, that corps will have more unique identities. Some will play rock, some rap, some classical, some modern, some atonal, some original -- so much variety in show design, instrumentation, everything really. It will give even more people something to grab onto within the activity. I can't imagine how high tempos are going to be in 10 years. Feel free to add anything else you'd like. Thank you for the opportunities over the past five years! This activity has definitely played a large part in my growth as a performer, teacher, and young adult. See ya this summer, and vote for Pedro!