Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Nicholas Mennecke, Cavaliers color guard

The DCI.org interview: Nicholas Mennecke, Cavaliers color guard

by Drum Corps International

Name, age, hometown: Nicholas Mennecke. I am 20 years old. My hometown is Erie, Pa. What corps are you in and what is your role this summer? I am in the Cavaliers and my role this summer will be as an age-out member of the color guard. Give us your full drum corps/marching music background. I started drum corps in 1998 with the Lake Erie Regiment, a Division III drum corps in the area. In 1998 I marched color guard, 1999 I played baritone, and in 2000 I wanted to be in the pit, but decided to take a year off instead. In 2001 I played soprano, and during my last year at Lake Erie Regiment in 2002 I returned to the color guard. After marching my last year at the Lake Erie Regiment, I then (in 2003) went the Patriots (Division II) where I was a member of the color guard. After finals in 2003 I went to fill a hole at a DCA corps called The Empire Statesmen! Finally, last year (2004) was my first year with the Cavaliers and what an amazing experience that was! This year I will continue with what I know will be another exhilarating experience at the Cavaliers!

Nicholas Mennecke
How did you decide to be a member of your corps? Well actually, it was a choice not a decision. The decision was made for me after I made it through the audition process. The reason I chose the Cavaliers is because I believe they have one of the highest-quality programs out there. They know how to treat the members with respect and dignity, and care for each and every one of us. At the Cavaliers you aren't just a number. Jeff Fiedler knows each and every member's name by the time you move in! You are taken care of very well there, and I'm glad that it is my last and final choice for drum corps as I age out this summer. What first attracted you to the drum corps activity? What first attracted me to the activity was the fact that I knew everyone would be willing to work to get the show done. Everyone wanted to be there, unlike my high school program. Plus I had nothing better to do with my summer, right? But now I wonder why I still do it. I mean, who pays over $1,000 a year to be worked to the bone from sunrise to sunset, sleeping on hard gym floors, showering communally, having people tell you what to do ALL DAY, having maybe three days all to yourself? Well I do, and I hate it. But I love it too! What advice would you give to young people who want to march? It is the best thing you can join. It builds so much character, responsibility, a sense of team, friendships that will last a lifetime, and pride in yourself as well as your organization. If you have the
opportunity to march anywhere take it! Do you have any favorite road anecdotes? I enjoy writing in a journal while I am on tour. It helps relieve the stress of the day, as well as an outlet to put my thoughts and feelings on certain things. I'm actually going to add a section to my journal this summer called "Teaching tips" and it will be certain techniques or strategies that I observe my instructors doing. That way when I become an educator of guard I can refer back to my journal for ideas. The last good book I read: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." The only time I read actual non-textbook books is on tour. The last great film I saw: The last great film I saw was "Saw." I thought it was very well put-together, and it had a very unpredictable plot! I can't stand when you can predict the whole movie. Where I go to school and what I'm studying: I go to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. I currently am a dual major in elementary education and early childhood education. Jobs I have/have had: I actually have two. The first job I work at is a school for developmentally and mentally disabled students. I am a teacher's aide and I love every minute of it. The second job is at Payless Shoe Source! Hey, it pays the bills! Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: Any one of my Pat Metheny CDs, Josh Groban, "Josh Groban," and Janet Jackson, "Damita Jo" My favorite TV show: I don't get to watch much TV, but I'd have to say "The Real World" on MTV. I want to be on it someday. Favorite performers: Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah and Cedric the Entertainer How do you "blow off steam?" I blow off steam by working out, listening to music, writing in my journal, or just punching a wall (just kidding!). What has been your formative drum corps moment? My favorite drum corps moment had to be last year, marching in my first-ever DCI Division I finals, and then crowning it with a win. Best drum corps show ever: Well, I don't think there can be just one "best drum corps show ever." You have to think about all of the work us kids do behind the scenes. If you think about the dedication, and time it takes to put a show together, they all are the best! If I have to pick the best I would say the Cavaliers from 2004. Wink Wink. What are you most looking forward to about the summer? Marching with 134 of my brothers, performing in front of thousands, and putting out what seems to be another spectacular program! Best thing about being in a drum corps: This is pretty much the same as the question before: Marching with my brothers, performing, learning, working as a team, and building lifetime, lasting friendships. Worst thing about being in a drum corps: Sleeping on the floor, working. Practicing all day. During tour, the best part of the day is: Any free time we get. I do enjoy our 10-minute water breaks! During tour, the worst part of the day is: Waking up to Jeff Fiedler's voice. It signifies another looooong, tiring day of rehearsal. Favorite drum corps personality and why: Steve Rondinaro because his reliable "Rondo Prognostications" aren't always accurate. He's kind of like a weatherman! But he's close! He just makes me laugh. What I want to be when I "grow up": Mr. Mennecke, I want to be a doctor! I want to be a dentist! I want to be a lawyer! I usually come up with many different answers as I proceed through life. My final answer to that is an elementary or early childhood teacher. Just think, I am going to Educate YOUR children! Muhahaha! Describe what you think a typical DCI show will look in 2015. I'm not going to be unrealistic like many I have seen. I think the shows will be just like today. The only difference is I'll be teaching one of them. Feel free to add anything else you'd like. A good quote: "Push me! See how far I can go! Work me till I drop. Then pick me up. Open a door; and then make me run to it before it closes. Teach me so that I might learn. Then let me enter the tunnel of experience alone; and when, near the end, I turn to see you beginning another journey. I shall smile." Not sure who said it.

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