Marching Across The Nation Marching Across The Nation
    BY SYDNEY ALTMAN Months of intense training, active workouts and endless practices were insignificant before this one, final performance.  The touring Drum... Marching Across The Nation





Months of intense training, active workouts and endless practices were insignificant before this one, final performance.  The touring Drum Corps, from all around the country, were ready to compete against one another at Colts stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.  With butterflies in her stomach and adrenaline pumping through her veins, senior Micole Kaye prepared to take the field.  The conductor led the band to their starting positions, and once in place, the band members were ready to prove that all their hard work over the summer was worthwhile.

Every summer, select students from across the country are chosen to participate in various competitive marching band programs. Student’s ages 14 to 21 must apply and audition to be accepted into these prestigious programs.  Students that are chosen not only have luck on their side, but also obvious musical talent.  Kaye and junior Giancarlo Pizzino were two of the lucky students picked this past summer.  The programs are well known throughout the marching band community and being able to participate is an honor many musicians strive to achieve.

“My cousin asked me to audition in 2008 but my parents wouldn’t let me until this year,” Kaye said.  “It’s a band thing; everyone knows about this program.”

Immediately following the 2009-2010 school year, Pizzino and Kaye embarked on their respective summer tours.  Kaye, playing the mellophone, performed in the Teal Sound Corps whereas Pizzino, practicing the French horn, joined the Boston Crusaders Corps.  Though they were in two separate programs, their days were fairly similar.  Each of their days began early in the morning where the students would practice, practice, practice and this continued all day long.  They would arrange the musical numbers, learn formations, and master cohesion as a group.

“If you aren’t rehearsing, you’re either sleeping, eating, or performing,” Pizzino said.  “Lots of rehearsal was the key to making our band sound good.”

Once preparations for their summer concert tours were over, Pizzino and Kaye lived on charter buses and in gyms, moving from place to place and performing for massive crowds.  Their days were long and grueling.  They got little sleep, but had to always be alert and focused so they could put on an amazing show.  While many of their shows were purely for fun and entertainment, there was a serious side to the whole program – competition. Each of the drum corps from around the country faced off to compete against one another.

At competitions, each corps would perform on a stadium field.  The judges would critique the marching band’s sound, formations, and artistic appeal.  For most, the competitions were the best part.

“Competitions were a lot of fun,” Kaye said.  “There were so many people there and the energy was great to perform in.”

The bands were constantly moving from place to place, so students had little to no time to recuperate.  But perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to overcome was creating an amazing sound and providing great visual appeal.  Since there was relatively little time on the road to practice as a group, the teams had to work diligently whenever they could to make their lines and formations look perfect.  Differing degrees of talent made it difficult for many to work together, but to create the ultimate marching band, they had to overcome this hindrance and work as a team.

While the program was very demanding, the students were still able to have fun.  In their precious downtime, they would play games or simply hang out with one another.  Throughout the summer, the students met people from all over the country and formed bonds quickly.  Participating in the physically and mentally exhausting program brought unity among the team members; Kaye and Pizzino both made friendships that would last them a lifetime.

In the end, both found that concert touring helped prepare them, not only for future band endeavors, but also for life.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Pizzino said.  “But it taught me that no matter what I’m feeling I can push myself to do pretty much anything.”