Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Justin Wier, Crossmen mellophone

The DCI.org interview: Justin Wier, Crossmen mellophone

by Drum Corps International

Name, age, hometown: Justin Wier, 18, Roanoke Rapids, N.C. What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? I played second mellophone with the Crossmen this summer. Where I go to school and what I'm studying: I go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2005 NCAA Champs!), and I'm currently studying to be a chemistry major, but we all know how often one's major changes ... Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I first started playing in the marching band at my high school when I was in 8th grade. They sometimes allowed students from the middle school (6th-8th grades) to play with the high school marching band. They needed a baritone hole filled, so I stepped up to the challenge.

Justin Wier
I knew almost nobody, but I still had a lot of fun. That year is still probably one of my favorites, because there's just something special about that first year marching. I then played mellophone (or "marching French horn") for the next four years in high school. The summer after I graduated, I played mellophone for the Crossmen. What's your practice schedule like? I currently take private horn lessons through my university. However, I don't practice my mellophone as much as I need to! In my ideal world, I would probably be practicing 90 minutes a day on each of my mellophone, concert horn and piano. What does your ideal free day consist of? The best free days are those that your family can join you on! I had family at my first free day, and it was far better than my second. Sure, I had fun hanging out with my corps family, but seeing your real family on tour is one thing and actually getting a free day to hang out with them is even better! Favorite pig-out food: Ha, well if you know me well, I love food, but I don't eat it very often. I eat a LOT of pasta. So pasta, that's my pig-out food. In the shower you can hear me singing: No -- not usually -- unless it's tour, then it's show music. The last good book I read: "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis. I reread the series to prepare for the movie! The last great film I saw: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." Go see it, right now!! Jobs I have/have had: Actually, I haven't had many official "job" jobs. I have worked in my dad's office (organizing things, etc.), but I have done some peer tutoring in my school system, and even teaching some music lessons. My favorite TV show: I don't watch much television, but my sister, Heather, has a few shows she watches regularly, so I watch them when I'm in the room. My favorite so far is "Grey's Anatomy." What has been your formative drum corps moment? So far, I really, really enjoyed a moment during my first show, in Chesapeake, Va. During "Radar Love," I was really maxing out a lateral slide move, and I pass this judge in a green shirt, and we're looking almost right at each other. Adrenaline does this thing where it makes time seem to go slightly slower, or one is able to think a lot faster, but I remember thinking to myself "Wow, there's a DCI judge, in his green shirt, judging my performance with the Crossmen. WOW!, I'm actually here!" What would you be doing next summer if you were not marching? If I wasn't marching, I (most unfortunately but to my advantage and best interest) would be taking some summer classes, working and practicing extra! How did you decide to be a member of your corps? I live in N.C., and the three closest Division I corps are Carolina Crown, and Crossmen and The Cadets are next. Proximity was one factor, if you call 300-some miles "close." Anyway, my high school's color guard instructor (and a good friend of mine), Tracey Hedrick, marched Crossmen guard '83 and '84, so I decided that in homage of a great teacher, I would march Crossmen! What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? The first show I ever saw was Blue Devils 2001, downloaded through one of those p2p programs. Needless to say, I was most impressed! Of course, like so many others, I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be able to ever do that. However, the sedond show I saw was the Cavaliers' "Niagara Falls." That left me speechless, and all I could think was "I *will* march Cavaliers." It has been a goal of mine ever since. What advice would you give to young people who want to march? Study hard in school, practice hard, exercise hard -- and most importantly: "If you don't succeed -- try, try again." Many, MANY people who currently march had to audition multiple times before they were "accepted." Many, MANY people who currently march had previous experience at other corps. Don't be afraid to give it a shot. EVERYONE says this, but again, "Don't fall into denial and convince yourself that you'll "Never be good enough" to do drum corps." Even if you're younger (i.e. - 14, 15, 16), go for it! What's the worst that could happen? What I want to be when I "grow up": Honestly, and it has recently been a hot subject for me and my family, I haven't the slightest what I want to be when I grow up. I do suppose, however, that I should hurry up and make up my mind! Favorite drum corps personality and why: I feel that I don't have much experience with many people in the drum corps world, so I don't know all that many people. I do know there are SO many to choose from, however, and one of my favorite staff members from 2005 was Cedric Solice, our "visual tech coordinator." He knows everything. No lie. If anyone ever had a problem with any kind of drill move, Cedric will know exactly what to do, what to change, and how to teach the change. He's like Nostradamus! Best drum corps show ever and why: The BEST DRUM CORPS SHOW EVER has to be the Cavaliers' 2000 show, "Niagara Falls." Definitely. While '92 is close, 2000 just had everything I have ever imagined the "perfect" show to be. Although there isn't really a "story" to follow, as many people enjoy, I still feel it was a great design and it was impeccably performed. The year is 2030. What does a DCI show look like? Of all the interviews I've read and thought about, THIS is the one question I always thought I'd dread if I ever had to write an interview. I really have no clue how to answer it. I imagine things will be pretty much the same. Of course, back in the '60s and '70s, people were probably thinking things would be the same now as they were then. Ha, I guess it's just a personal thing, but I have a very difficult time imagining how things will be in the future. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will still be the same wonderful activity that yields the same educational and enjoyable results. Feel free to add anything else you'd like. I'm not sure what else to say! I think those questions have pretty much covered it. I suppose I would like to thank a few people. My parents especially, for allowing me to participate in such a wonderful program. My friends and family for supporting me. And I guess some "shout-outs" to the Roanoke Rapids H.S. band, Brian Myers directing; to Ashley Freuler; to anyone who wants to "do drum corps" (remember, go for it!); and, of course, a big "Hi Mom!"