In The News: Making The Band
Each year, Drum Corps International holds a series of competitive performances for groups of young people, ages 13-22, who combine music, marching and dancing into a singular performance to showcase their talent. It’s like the NFL of Marching Bands. In Texas, one such band called the Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps has been competing for more ten years and has attracted student performers from across the nation and as far away as Japan. The Corps now includes one Akins High School student, Anthony Gaddy, a member of the Akins Eagles Marching Band and a resident of Manchaca. Anthony auditioned for the Revolution last year and plays the mellophone, a bugle-like horn, as part of the band’s brass section.
Last month, the Revolution practiced in South Austin at Akins High School, spending the night there and taking their meals in between practice sessions. “The practices are really hard . . . ten times harder that what we have to do at Akins,” said Gaddy who was still perspiring from a practice session that fell short of pleasing a very demanding section leader.
The group has little time left before they start a summer tour of nearly 30 cities starting June 20 in Austin. The ultimate challenge will be a competition in early August at the Drum Corp International World Class championships in Indianapolis.
“The practice sessions are intense,” said Revolution’s director Johnny Rodriguez. “We practice alone on the pieces and get together once a month during the spring to put it together,” Rodriguez added. “So when we do get together we have a lot of work to do. This is far more than most of these students are used to in terms of what we demand.” But every performer I spoke with said it is the experience of their young life-time.
“It’s helped me mature and has given me a lot of confidence,” said Shae Waller who is part of the color guard. Nathan Rhoden of Sheppard, Texas agreed saying that joining the Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps was the best decision of his life. “It was the hardest training I have ever had, but I made it and now I can handle anything,” he said.
Rodriguez said the Corps has four student members from Japan. Those students fly in every other month to attend group practices.
Although the Corps is based in San Antonio, they recruit members from all over Texas and the U.S. and practice in different cities once a month.
The Corps is composed of three elements: Brass, Percussion and Dance.
Each of the groups practice a carefully choreographed part and bring it together for a total performance.
The Revolution has consistently been recognized a as top-class band by judges at the annual Drum Corps International competition in Indianapolis.
Joe Gomez, a second-year member from Laredo said his first year was a “whirlwind of education . . . drum corps
taught me how to strive for perfection and set my priorities to achieve that.” Gomez added that the friendships built in drum corps are life changing. “We become like brothers and sisters who would do anything for each other . . . at the end of the summer we will be able to say we’ve been to ‘hell and back’ and we can do anything life throws at us.”
The students will pack a bus in early June and begin an arduous journey, both personally and physically. Following them will be a dedicated group of band moms and dads who will cook for them on the road, comfort their aches and cheer for them from the stands. To learn more about the Revolution Band & Drum Corp visit: www.revolutionypa.org