The first guy I remember him from when he signed up at our recruiting booth at HBHS. He was surprised I remembered his name when I saw him at the Open House. Every year we have a handful of kids who are there from day 1 and make it through the whole season. For a very long time I kept wishing he wouldn’t be one of them. Not really, just kidding; but I am, not. It was many months later when seeing him on the field did not hurt my eyes. In the history of mankind, if you keep practicing something you will get better at it. He did and he did. He most definitely became a much stronger musician and performer, and became a solid contributor to the ensemble visually and musically.
I originally thought of this next guy as being rather quiet, although I found out from someone else in his section that on the field his intensity is very INTENSE! Around the time we started learning the show drill he got into the habit of high-fiving with me at the end of blocks; and when the comps started, a high five with me also became part of his pre-show ritual. I felt privileged that he made me a part of his individual pre-show hype. He was another person that was there from the beginning and all the way through the season.
This kid was actually a baritone player before drum corps. I think 6 of our 8 baritones played other instruments before joining Impulse. This kid caught on relatively quickly to what he needed to do and how he needed to do it. I seem to recall I would only have to correct one time any error he would commit and he would correct it right away. Most of our members were good that way. He had a good attitude and usually did the best he could.
This guy came late in the season, started the day in a trumpet spot and ended up in a baritone spot after lunch, and made the switch without even blinking an eye. Perfect guy and perfect frame of mind to do what was needed at the time. He also picked up, understood, and applied the expectations and standards quickly. Too bad he didn’t join sooner, because even though the essence of the gig is learning your show and maxing it out in your performance, another big part of this activity is the social aspect. Making friends, and because everything is so intense, these friendships tend to last a lifetime.
This next person is one of my all time favorites. Even though she only joined just after Memorial weekend, I’ve known her now for three years. This anecdote is all you know about her competitiveness and desire to excel. After her first rehearsal she was talking to her friend, who has been in the corps the past two years. He asked her if she made any friends that day. Her response, I’m not here to make friends; I’m here to do a job! The funny thing about her saying that is that she has all the qualities that make her an excellent friend. She was frustrated early on because whatever it is that she decides to do, she does it very well. Her lower body has always been visually excellent, but her upper body was having a hard time mastering good posture while also playing a baritone. Outside of drum corps she’s mastered most woodwind instruments and keyboards (marimba and vibes).
I’m honored that I was able to be part of this next guy’s one and only season of drum corps. He’s a solid, consistent, all around good guy. Always made a positive contribution to the ensemble at rehearsals, shows, whatever. He was most definately pushing himself physically and mentally, working all night and then going straight into an all day rehearsal. His spirit quietly and subtly lifts spirits of those around him. He is another person I would look for in the course of the day when I needed to mellow out a ittle when I would find myself getting a little too agro. His calm, pleasant smile always helped me center my soul.
This next guy has a lot of knowledge and experience and as he’s gotten older he’s still learning and improving the ways he communicates that knowledge and experience with others. I hope he continues to work on his communication skills; and I think he will. He is still growing into his body and does the best he can getting it to do what it needs to do. The leadrship he demonstrates comes through in all the tangible and intangible things he does, and a lot of that is off the field away from others. His skills as an illustrator are remarkable.
Finally, this kid. I remember the first time I spoke with her. Some of the reasons I engaged her in a conversation was because it was early in the season, I had no idea who she was, the hornline was playing and she wasn’t (I think someone was working on her horn), I wanted to check where her head was at (I would have been very annoyed if everyone was playing except me. Her spirit was up). Well, she’s stuck around. Her energy and effort has been consistent and has positively and significantly contributed to the achievement of the ensemble the past two seasons. It didnt start out that way. Those first few months, actually up until the first shows in 2013, she hurt my eyes. She kept plugging away, week after week; practicing at home. Running, building stamina; doing push ups, getting stronger. I know I had words with her a few times, which I think helped motivate her. That smile and positive attitude she possesses always lifts my spirits.