Drum Corps International
The DCI.org interview: Zach Schlicher, Cadets' drum section leader

The DCI.org interview: Zach Schlicher, Cadets' drum section leader

by Drum Corps International

Name, hometown, corps: My name is Zach Schlicher, I'm from Yardley, Pa., and I am a member of the Cadets. What is your role in the corps this summer? This year I am the section leader of the Cadets' drum line. Where do you go to school, and what extracurricular activities are you
involved with there?
I go to school at the University of Massachusetts -- Amherst. I am a member of the UMass drum line.

Zach Schlicher
Give us your full drum corps/marching music background, and how each
position prepared you for the leadership role you're in this summer.
I first started marching in my high school marching band. My first year (1997) I played in the snare line. During my sophomore through senior years, I played tenors. I was the section leader my senior year. I was introduced to drum corps my freshman year in high school. The summer before my sophomore year I went to the DCI East regional in Allentown, Pa., with some friends. That is when I fell in love with drum corps. I auditioned for the Cadets during my junior year but I wasn't too serious about making the line. I just wanted to see what it was all about. I worked really hard for a year, went back for another shot as a senior, and earned a spot. Since then, I've been marching in some pretty serious lines. After my first summer (2001) I went off to college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Though I was only there for a semester, IUP was a great experience. The drum line was loaded with guys from the Crossmen and Bluecoats. Chris Hestin (Glassmen percussion caption) taught us there. We always had a great time. After 2002 at the Cadets, I transferred to UMass. UMass is also very drum corps-oriented. The line here is instructed by Thom Hannum, Colin McNutt and Jeff Hope. I completed my third year with the Cadets in 2003 and I am currently preparing for my fourth and final year with the corps. I've learned so many different things in all the places I've been. Having the opportunity to work with Tom Aungst, Thom Hannum, Colin McNutt, Chris Hestin, Jeff Hope, and the rest of the staff at the Cadets, and others in the past like Nick Angelis and Jeff Queen, is really a blessing. The last great film I saw: I don't know if any of the movies I've seen recently can be put into the "great" list. Over the summer of 2003, we had a movie night and a lot of the corps chose "Finding Nemo." Yes, it is a cartoon, but I've always been into computer animation. The people at Disney Pixar are so good at what they do. The scenery is so realistic looking. I find it amazing all the things they can do to exaggerate facial expressions, especially in the eyes of the characters they create. While it is a kids' movie, a lot of the humor is more adult-oriented. Other than "Finding Nemo," I'll go with "Ocean's 11" -- that's a great one.

Three CDs I'd want on a deserted island: This is a tough one. I guess Incubus' "Make Yourself" and "A Crow Left of the Murder." I have to have a drum corps fix, so I'll say DCI's 1997 CD. All the shows from that year were great. I don't know about three CDs though. I think if I only had three CDs I'd jump off the nearest cliff and hope to get eaten by some shark or maybe a jellyfish. I need lots of music in my life. My favorite TV show: It used to be "The Simpsons," but I haven't watched it in so long. The episodes I have caught recently just aren't as good as they used to be. I don't really watch too much TV these days anyway. If I am watching it, 95 percent of the time it's going to be basketball, football, baseball, or "Sports Center." I wish "The Family Guy" was still on the air, that show was funny!

Favorite performers: I like to watch anyone that can do what they do really well with a lot of confidence. How do you "blow off steam?" I'll usually just go off by myself. Getting away from people helps me calm down rather quickly.

Why I march with the corps I am in: I march at the Cadets because I've always liked the style of the corps. I love moving at 200 beats per minute and playing a ton of notes. I also love the people that I've become so close to over the years. Was it always your goal to be in a leadership role? Not at first, but when I was in my second and third year with the corps I knew I wanted to be the section leader. How will you go about balancing the roles of leader and corpsmate? I've been taught that there is always a time for fun and a time for work. While we rehearse, we have to be focused and get everything done that we need to get done. We can rehearse and have a good time, but it can't get out of control. If guys are fooling around while we are working and it's getting in the way of the rehearsal, then it is partially my job and that of the staff to let them know that it's not the time for that. That's a pretty basic idea, but it is probably the one thing that gets away from us most of the time. I have to be someone that the other members can come to with anything. They will learn that I can help them and they can learn from me, while at the same time we can be great friends.

What has been your formative drum corps moment? I've had so many great moments over the last few years, but I'll never forget what happened after our finals performance in 2003. We were lined up under the stadium and everyone that was involved with the corps that wasn't a marching member was applauding us and screaming for a really long time. It was overwhelming. We had such a great show, but it was the last one and so many people that I had marched with for three years were aging out. Just seeing the staff and volunteers go crazy like that was amazing. It made my whole summer. I'll never forget the people that I've marched with and all the good and bad times we've had. Best drum corps show ever: I can't pick one show because I like too many of them. Phantom Regiment was my favorite in 2003 though. I loved the music and the visual was really cool.

What are you most looking forward to about the summer? I'm looking forward to having another great summer with some great old friends and many new ones. It's my last one, so I want it to be the best it can be. I'm also really looking forward to the Tour of Champions in California. It'll be cool to hang out with the other five corps for a week. Best thing about being a drum corps leader: I get to do things how I want to do them and I am the role model. Worst thing about being a drum corps leader: I love being in charge, but I have to be careful about my actions because the younger members of the corps are looking at me for guidance.

During tour, the best part of the day is: Showering, because I hate being all nasty and performing somewhere with a lot of crazy fans. (i.e. Murfreesboro, Tenn., had a great crowd in 2003). During tour, the worst part of the day is: Getting up. Favorite drum corps personality and why: April Gilligan. She cracks me up and I love her. I'm just happy I'm not in the color guard. What do you want to be when your drum corps career is over? I'd like to teach drum corps at some point. I think that it will always be a big part of my life. I've made so many great friends from all over the world. I can't imagine my life without it.

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