DCI finals are approaching and I am catching up with videos on Youtube and Facebook. Of course, this starts me down the rabbit hole of reminiscing. I start to think about all the years of drum and bugle corps I marched.
In 1990 I started marching in a drum and bugle corps in the Bronx. Those years were transformative for me. I learned a lot about dealing with people and becoming a participant in a large ensemble.
I went to the Jersey Surf Drum Corps camp with a buddy after we participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with an Allstar Drum Corps in 1992.
My buddy showed me what it was like to belong. He showed up and settled in and asked to be taught. Later he became one of the leading members of the organization and eventually became an instructor with the drum corps.
I marched the 1993 & 1994 seasons with the Jersey Surf. However, if I’m being honest, I was really marching with my friend.
The summer of 1995, I went to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Music Festival. That HS orchestra music festival, the summer after my senior year taught me a lot about being a musician and responsibility of making music and being a chamber musician. A humbling experience for me. I felt most of these music students were much better at this music thing than I was. But somehow I felt I still belonged. I’m curious to see where my kid spends summers.
I spent time texting back and forth with a friend about some of my summers in drum and bugle corps. This got me to thinking about my time with the last corp I marched. It was a transformative summer in many ways for me.
Summer of 1996 I marched The Cadets of Bergen County and injured my chops. By the middle of the summer I was really unable to play at the level I was accustom. My confidence was shattered. When I went back to school, I couldn’t play. I tried to hide my performance problems but I was exposed (at least I thought I was).
I had a conversation with my grandfather which kept me a music student. Because I was definitely going to leave school and figure something else out, cause this conservatory thing was not working out. So I took his advice and I learned to listen the rest of that year. I learned to listen to music, listen to myself, and listen to others. Most likely the point in my life where I started to think about the ways in which I could keep music in my life.
I marched one more season with the Cadets, but that marked the end of my drum-corp career as a marching member. I didn’t do my age out season. Instead, I spent the summer of 1998 playing chamber music at the Aspen Music Festival. Where I met up with a trumpeter I marched with in 1996. We were placed into a brass quintet together and I had a great time learning music along side of old and new friends.