Drum Corps International
The Rookies: Learning with Spirit

The Rookies: Learning with Spirit

by Dave Wilson

Last week on DCI.org we heard from multiyear corps veterans, and why they stay at one corps for years on end. This week, we'll turn our attention to new marchers. Are they ready? Is this season's crop of drum corps newcomers up to the task of three months of 13-hour days in 120-degree heat, punctuated with an uncomfortable night of sleep in the relative discomfort of a hard gym floor? We think so, and we think the rookie class of 2006 will pull through and prove that drum corps is a cool, educational thing to do for new people, too. We'll be spotlighting rookies from different corps this week, starting with Spirut from JSU today. When interviewing new members over e-mail about why they chose to march, a familiar refrain rears its head. "When I was in high school my band director, John Erdogan, would play videos from DCI finals," said Taylor Cash, a Spirit tenor player. "This inspired me to march with a drum corps. Just to see the amount of excellence that could be achieved. I knew from then on that I wanted to be a part of something that amazing," Cash said. With a little more professional prodding, Cash was on his way to audition. "Tab Brown, the tenor tech for Spirit and full battery tech for the JSU Marching Southerners, approached me and asked me if I would consider trying out. I had given it some thought, but when he asked me that's what really prompted me to march," Cash said. Will Woods, a "little" 15-year-old from Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Ga., cites a family member with inspiring him to march. "I've been around the program for a long time, and it runs in the family. My stepfather was a soprano player for Spirit during the '77, '78 and '79 seasons. It has always amazed me at how difficult and beautiful the activity is, and I can't wait to experience it from the field," Woods said. Dustin Tanner, a Spirit snare drummer, cites a different reason for wanting to march. "The main thing that promoted me to do drum corps was that I would lose some weight and get a sweet tour tan!" Tanner said. Lessons learned Stephen Reece, a rookie trumpet player from Spirit, has already learned that for someone who catches the bug, drum corps can permeate every facet of student life, even academics. "The skills that I have learned -- breathing, marching and discipline -- have greatly affected the way I do my school work. I am more organized," Reece said. Blake Perry, a Spirit guard member, has learned that sometimes, being a guard member comes from deep within the recesses of a person's soul. "I have learned that color guard is all you. You can teach people to spin a flag, sabre and rifle. But you can't teach people how to do color guard, how to perform with your equipment. That comes from your bones, not your instructor," Perry said. As a musician, Reece, a 10th grader at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga., said his brief tenure at Spirit has dramatically improves his trumpet playing. "My playing has dramatically improved as well as tone quality. And with all of the auditions, I was better prepared for all-state tryouts as well as our band's internal tryouts for chair assignments," Reece said. Thus far, Reece has also learned the benefits of that most basic human function:. "Breathing is everything -- it is all about the air. There was a phrase I read recently that said, "When I hear you breathe, something great is about to happen", and so far that has been proven right over and over again," Reece said.

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