Luis Salda?±a is a 20-year-old music education major at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. "When I receive my degree I hope to be a music educator at the middle school or high school level in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I am an only child and I was born and raised in the city of Laredo, Texas. I am a fourth-year member as well as one of two drum majors for the Vanguard," Salda?±a said. DCI.org: How does it feel to be a drum major for the Santa Clara Vanguard? Salda?±a: I am having the greatest time of my life being a drum major for SCV. It is an incredibly hard role to fill and comes with indescribable responsibility, but I'm ready to attack this position head-on and to do a wonderful job. My fellow drum major, Stuart Shulman, and I are extremely excited to be with the corps for this season and are anxious to begin tour. DCI.org: Did you always strive to become a drum major? If not, when did you decide to
become one, and why?
Salda?±a: Throughout high school I admired my drum majors, because they were very organized, talented and had a serious amount of respect for their organization and its members. I never thought I was able to perform such a duty until my senior year of high school when I was asked by my directors to audition for the position of drum major. After that year, I learned what it was like to be a leader and to experience the rewards of helping people. Now, my fourth year as a member of the Vanguard, I decided to audition for drum major and was accepted. It's been a great learning experience ever since then. DCI.org: In the winter, how do you prepare for the summer's drum major responsibilities?
Salda?±a: Stuart and I set as much time as possible to prepare for the summer. First, we must make sure that we know the music scores by heart and that our conducting technique and tempo accuracy are flawless. Then, we have our administrative duties, making sure that we keep track of the past camp's attendance and such. DCI.org: How would you describe the drum major audition process?
Salda?±a: This year, the drum major process lasted the entire span of our January camp weekend. On that weekend about seven candidates, all of whom were veteran members of the corps, were interviewed and conducted both recorded and live excerpts of the past year's show and our 2003 show. It was a hard decision to make, as all the candidates were very capable of fulfilling the drum major's role. It was not until late Saturday night, as the corps was rehearsing in ensemble, that it was announced that I had been appointed as the new drum major. DCI.org: Besides the Santa Clara Vanguard, what are some of your other interests?
Salda?±a: Because I am a very dedicated music education major at the University of North Texas, I am enthusiastically interested in all types of music, such as jazz, classical, contemporary wind ensemble, rock, and rhythm and blues. I have also taken quite an interest in exercise and maintaining good health. Time permitting, I also am very involved with my fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, which is the largest fraternity for men of music in America. DCI.org: How would you describe the leadership and management of the Santa Clara
Salda?±a: The people that manage this organization are some of the smartest, most efficient, and good-hearted people with whom I have ever worked. They truly care about the corps and provide us with the finest equipment and accommodations whenever possible. Santa Clara's management is strictly professional but also treats us like family. That's one special part of this organization--everyone is treated like family. DCI.org: How would you describe the Santa Clara Vanguard members?
Salda?±a: Hard-working. The corps never stops working, as their attitude is diligent to creating and executing excellence. That is one of the attributes that has kept me coming back to this corps. The members have such good attitudes at rehearsals, shows, and simply when they are just hanging out. All of the members get along very well and mix between the sections. Like aforementioned, everyone is treated like family. DCI.org: How would you describe your own leadership style?
Salda?±a: I feel that I should lead by example and that my actions speak louder than words. I make sure that I conduct myself in a manner that all members of the Santa Clara Vanguard would approve of, because Stuart and myself are the corps' ambassadors. I also treat people the way I'd like to be treated -- with pure professionalism and respect. I do not talk down to other members of the corps, as I believe that we are equal. From the fifth-year veteran to the new rookie, we all march on the same field, play the same music, dance to the same rhythms and are all working to accomplish the same goal -- perfection. DCI.org: During the winter, do you guys keep in close contact with each other?
Salda?±a: Stuart and I are the best of friends, and we either communicate with each other by cell phone or via the internet. Whether it's adressing items about SCV or simply catching up on what's going on in our lives, we make sure to keep in close contact with each other. We feel it is important, because the greatest bond that exists in the corps has to be the bond between its leadership. DCI.org: What during the summer are you looking forward to the most?
Salda?±a: The aspects of the summer that I look forward to the most are the things in drum corps that most of the non-marching public considers mundane. The long rehearsal days, the cold showers, hot bus rides, and 110-degree heat -- those things make make it DRUM CORPS and make the performances and the ability to entertain our audience all the more worthwhile. I am also looking forward to getting to know all the members of the 2003 corps and becoming the friends with all of them. We are all ready to make our 2003 show, "Pathways," a truly memorable experience, not only for ourselves, but also for everyone in the stands.