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November/December 2012

Volume 6, Issue 6 $4.95

Auditioning for Drum Corps Unique Instrumentation The Role of Grad Assistants

Q&A With William Mason HS

$4.95 U.S.

$5.95 Canada

ISSN 1939-6171

Confidence. Character. three Camaraderie. These are the ng Arts mi for Per tenets of the Disney form per to e enc program. The confid e Th . ges on the grandest of sta fect your character required to per araderie cam chosen craft. And the ether tog e that’s essential to com up gro r as a team. And when you nce ma for t’s in a per Arts program– whether tha ng mi for Per ney ne, Dis refi a in and takes part l learn, sharpen these are the skills they wil s shared once-in-aor a workshop or festival– ed up of artists bond by thi gro ive lus exc an of t par s while building becoming then your ensemble’s talent eng str to nt Wa e. enc eri l 1-866-814-6610 to lifetime exp your travel planner or cal ct nta Co r? eve for t las t memories tha ies. Performing Arts opportunit learn more about Disney




Volume 6, Issue 6 November/December 2012 ISSN 1939-6171 ®

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Christine Ngeo Katzman (310) 594-0050

Art Director Jana Rade, impact studios

Assistant Editor Elizabeth Geli

Editorial Interns Samantha Berley, Jeremy Chen, Katie Finlon, Lydia Ness, Carolyn Shaffer

COVER PHOTO Ken Martinson/

Contributing Writers Lane Armey, Chris Casteel, Haley GreenwaldGonella, Matt Jones, Chase Sanborn, Zachary Smith, Jim Snyder

Contributing Photographers Leya Andrews, Connie Chiodo, Michael Duebner, Steve Johnson, Erin Lytle, Ken Martinson/, Akarin Mittongtare, Eric Quach, Cassandra Rutan, Dana Young

Web Developers Mike McCullen and Jeff Grant Integrated Communications

Advisory Board Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band Tony Fox, University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band Anthony L. White, Los Angeles Unified School District Charles F. Whitaker, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism Peter G. Riherd, Entertainment Weekly Steve Goldberg, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

Chief Technology Officer Joshua Katzman

Logo Designer Timothy Watters, Teruo Artistry

Subscriptions: Halftime Magazine is published six times per year. In the United States, individual subscription price is $14.95 per year, and group subscription price is now only $1 per person per year with a minimum of 25 copies sent to the same address. Cover price is $4.95. Send subscription orders to: Halftime Magazine P.O. Box 15247 North Hollywood, CA 91615 Halftime Magazine is published by Muse Media, LLC P.O. Box 428738, Cincinnati, OH 45242 Phone: 310-594-0050 Fax: 310-390-5351 Website: Printed by Royle Printing Company in Sun Prairie, Wis. 2


hey lurk in the shadows or hover on top of tall towers. They have quick feet, frantic arms and growl loudly, especially when they’re overexcited or if you ever step out of line. But what does this creature have to do with marching band? Got ya stumped? They’re graduate assistants, of course. Truthfully, I was rather intimidated by them and never got to know them very well when I was an undergrad. But I definitely know how much they did for our band. They made our lines straighter and our sound more cohesive because, frankly, the band director can’t be in more than one place at a time. The feature article “Graduate Assistants: Unsung Heroes,” page 16, sings the

praises of those irreplaceable instructors who don’t step into the limelight very often. And so I dedicate this publisher’s letter to all of my prior Northwestern University (NU) graduate assistants, particularly those I’ve become reacquainted with because of Halftime Magazine. Since being at NU, they’ve definitely made prominent names for themselves in the band world. • Christopher J. Woodruff joined the faculty at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo as associate director of bands in 2006. We met up at Drum Corps International World Championships in 2007 when he became one of our first subscribers. • Carolyn A. Barber is director of bands at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and joins the ranks of the very few top female directors. • Elizabeth Driskell is the band director at McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she teaches 6th and 7th grade band and jazz band.  She is also the current president of the NUMBALUMS, band alumni from Northwestern University. I’m proud to serve on the board with her and have learned a lot from her this past year. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. To the rest of you, I say, go and hug your graduate assistant. Musically Yours, Christine Ngeo Katzman Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Halftime Magazine is proud to partner with the following organizations:




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Music that inspires the country Service that protects it

Music Enlistment Option Program..There are few truly great career options; serving as a Marine Corps Musician is one of them. If you have what it takes to become both a Marine and a Marine musician, you will play at some of the world’s most honored events. Precision, discipline, and honor will be represented in every note you play. And as a Marine, you will distinguish yourself from the rest. To schedule an audition, call 1 800 MARINES or visit MARINES.COM.

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Features Grad Assistants: Unsung Heroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Glocks, Oboes and Violins? Oh, My! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Marchers with unique instruments add a special flare on the field while also posing various challenges. By Jeremy Chen

Auditioning for Drum Corps. . . . 24 Interested in being a drum corps member? For newbies, the process starts with the audition, often held during a weekend camp. Find out from corps members and instructors what the process is like and how you can do your best. By Carolyn Shaffer


© 2012. Ken Martinson/ All rights reserved.

Practically every college or university marching band has graduate assistants. But what exactly do they do? Anything and everything! By Katie Finlon


Web Exclusives

Publisher’s Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Need more marching Arts Noteworthy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 material? Read more articles online at “Music for Your Schools” Giveaway; PAS Names New Executive Director; Guards on “Glee”; Hazing in the News: One Year Later

Sectionals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Hold It for Clarinets; Self-Eval for Brass; The Little Stuff for Percussion; Aftermath for Guard

Gear Up. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Fusion Bags; Ever-Jazz Shoe by DSI

Regionals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Calendar of events organized by region

Direct From. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 William Mason High School

Behind the Baton. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 The College Corps Connection

Fitness to the Max. . . . . . . . . . . 34 Audition Ritual

For Fun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Crossword: “Edible Arrangements”

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Next Issue • 6th Annual Tournament of Roses Photo Spread • Honor Bands • Going Pop, Going Viral • And More ...……

By Elizabeth Geli

“Music for Your Schools” Giveaway

In recognition of decreasing school music budgets, music publisher Carl Fischer has continued its “Music for Your Schools” Giveaway and announced its slate of 2012 winners. “To some extent, we’ve seen a freeze in our school budget for four years, and it’s been handled very carefully because our administrators are very supportive of the music program,” says Steve Edwards, band director at Falmouth (Mass.) High School. “We’ve been recycling music. I like to keep things new and relevant, but it’s been difficult to purchase or have a piece commissioned when you don’t have the money to do so.” As one of the winners, Falmouth received a free year’s worth (eight band sets, levels 4 to 5) of music. Band students were encouraged to send photos, videos and essays to show why their band deserved to win. “I received an email in regards to the sweepstakes, and I immediately posted it on our message board and asked kids to participate,” Edwards says. “There was a lot of enthusiasm; they were very pleased to win. They’ve participate in other competitions with me.” Falmouth’s instrumental music programs serve 118 students in symphonic band, wind ensemble, jazz combos, chamber strings ensemble, marching band and color guard. They compete in the New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA). Other winners were the Chopticon High School Orchestra in Morganza, Md.; the Palm Springs (Calif.) High School Orchestral Strings Program; Susan   E. Wiley Elementary School Band in Copiague,  N.Y.; and the American School of Antananarivo Band in Madagascar. Visit for more information about the 2013 giveaway.


PAS Names New Executive Director The United States isn’t the only one campaigning for commander-inchief this November— Percussive Arts Society, one of the world’s largest percussion organizations, welcomes its new executive director, Larry Jacobson. “I’m looking forward to getting together with the board and the staff,” Jacobson says. “My goal is continue to work on what they’ve been doing, educating the membership and inspiring them.” Jacobson comes to PAS from Universal Music Group, where he worked for 22 years, most recently as the North American vice president of financial services. Throughout his career in the music industry, he has worked with artists such as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, Elton John, Sublime and Meat Loaf as well as on films such as “Pulp Fiction,” “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Leap of Faith.” “I had been speaking and lecturing at universities and had considered retiring from the music industry,” Jacobson says. “I wanted to get more involved in the creative side of things. I think this is going to be an exciting, challenging and fun opportunity.” Inspired by his high school drum instructor, Jacobson decided to continue with music through college at the University of Maryland, where he joined the marching band and became president of his Kappa Kappa Psi chapter. Jacobson holds a bachelor of music degree in percussion performance, master of music degrees in both Jazz Studies and Percussion Performance from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University. He is currently a doctoral candidate pursuing an EdD in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, examining the effects of public school music education programs on leadership in the workplace. PAS is a not-for-profit music service organization that promotes percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world. Jacobson will also oversee the Rhythm! Discovery Center. “There’s a great opportunity to inspire,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be around so many creative people, and I’m going to have a great time learning.” For more information, visit

Guards on “Glee” After featuring marching bands several times, the hit television series “Glee” has given color guard the spotlight, with two featured numbers in the first half of its fourth season. Robert Morales and 13 other guard veterans from groups such as The Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Fantasia and Diamante were selected by The Blue Devils guard program coordinator/choreographer and WGI Hall of Fame member Scott Chandler and Glee’s casting professionals. They spent two days rehearsing with Air Blades and filming the number “Hold it Against Me,” made famous by Britney Spears and performed on “Glee” by Heather Morris for the season’s second episode, entitled “Britney 2.0.” “For color guard you’re practicing every day for one show, and you only get one shot in front of the judges,” says Morales, a veteran of The Blue Devils, Fantasia and Diamante with 10 years of guard experience. “A lot us of had those same nerves going into filming, but then we realized that we’d be doing many takes—so not every mistake would be shown, like in a final performance.” The guard members worked with choreographer and associate producer Zach Woodlee, who is known as one of the judges on “The Glee Project” and has received rave reviews every time those in the marching arts have worked with him on

“Glee.” This time was no exception. Woodlee had led a day-after-finals guard clinic at WGI Sport of the Arts in April 2012, paving the way for this television opportunity. “It was great working with Scott Chandler and Zach Woodlee,” Morales says. “He was phenomenal; as soon as he walks in, you feel his energy and his vibe. He was so encouraging and was experimenting with whatever strengths we had.” A week and a half after filming, Morales and nine others were selected to appear on the show again. This time they rehearsed for four hours the first day and filmed overnight the following day for Hole’s “Celebrity Skin,” performed again by Morris with Chord Overstreet. The school election-themed production number had the guard members spinning red, white and blue flags. Morales, who works as a guard instructor at Ayala and Sierra Vista High Schools in California, enjoyed the experience working on a professional television set and interacting with some of the show’s stars, including Morris, Darren Criss and Jane Lynch. “It was the highlight of my career for someone like Jane Lynch to be noticing how well we did and appreciating it,” Morales says.

TOP SE WGI’s new educational HD download series introduces:

Module 1: Selecting a Program

Indoor Percussion


Before you choose your show, let several of the top designers in the activity walk you through the process of seeking inspiration, honing in on a great concept, and making a programming choice while keeping the skills and abilities of the performers in mind.

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Module 2: Storyboarding a Show Module 3: Orchestrating for Indoor Percussion November/December 2012 7

Hazing In the News: One Year Later Almost one year after the death of drum major Photo Robert D. Champion, courtesy of Jr., in an alleged hazing Florida A&M incident, Florida A&M University. University (FAMU) and all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) are still dealing with the aftermath. Eleven former band members await trial on felony hazing charges, and one other on misdemeanor hazing charges. Brian Jones, the first to be sentenced, pleaded no contest to the charges. The judge determined that he was minimally involved in Champion’s death, and he received probation and community service. Champion’s parents continue to pursue a lawsuit against the charter bus company and the university, which has argued that Champion’s decision to undergo the hazing ritual known as “Crossing Bus C” as a 26-year-old adult makes him responsible for his own death. FAMU’s famed “Marching 100” remains suspended through spring 2013. Investigations revealed that at the time of Champion’s death, more than 100 of the 350 band members were not enrolled students and more than 50 members had GPAs lower than the minimum of 2.0. When the band returns, it will be under the guidance of a dedicated compliance officer, who will ensure that all band members are full-time students with GPAs above a 2.0 and limited to four years of band participation. Despite an anti-hazing website, town hall meetings and a new zero-tolerance hazing policy, various FAMU student organizations continue to struggle with allegations. An allfemale dance team, a business fraternity and a professional healthcare sorority have all been temporarily suspended. This fall, three other HBCU bands have been under investigation for alleged hazing. Texas Southern University’s “Ocean of Soul” underwent a month-long suspension for a hazing investigation that found 10 upperclassmen trumpet players had paddled (but not seriously injured) nine freshmen. Those responsible lost their band scholarships, were suspended from the university through 2012 and required to leave campus. The band was reinstated for home games, but not away games, and was barred from participating in the Honda Battle of the Bands. The North Carolina Central University “Marching Sound Machine” drum line served a two-week suspension as school officials investigated hazing allegations. The university chose not to disclose whether or not hazing had occurred, but did say that its code of conduct had been violated. The entire drum line was ordered to attend an anti-hazing workshop and complete 10 hours of community service. Hazing allegations at Clark Atlanta University’s “Mighty Marching Panthers” Band led to a month-long self-imposed suspension. The investigation ultimately determined that no hazing or illegal activity had occurred, and the band was reinstated. 8

Hold It!!! By Jim Snyder

Let’s talk about holding your clarinet properly. This topic seems so obvious that you’re probably tempted to stop reading right now. You’d be surprised, though, how many of us get it wrong at least some of the time—including me! With a few simple adjustments to the way you hold the instrument, your control and sound (and grades!) will improve. The Do’s. First, make sure you hold it with only two body parts: your right thumb and your two front teeth—the upper ones. That’s it. Your right thumb holds the weight of the instrument, and your teeth on top of the mouthpiece keep the clarinet from cart wheeling over onto the floor. Now the rest of your body parts can relax and get into position to do their assigned tasks. The Don’ts. Don’t let your right index finger rest on that side Bb/Eb key; it will open when you don’t want it to, and you will squeak! And don’t dare rest the bell on your knee! If you get used to resting the clarinet on your knee, standing up to play a solo or marching in a parade will really be a challenge! The Tone Holes. Notice how the tone holes increase in size as they get farther from the mouthpiece? Using the proper part of your finger to cover these holes is mandatory, or you’ll slide off that large D/G hole when you try to use the four right-hand pinky keys. Try putting your hands in position on the horn, covering all the holes, and pressing down hard. Now look at the little circles on your fingertips and make sure they’re on the fatty part. The little swirls in your fingerprints should be almost centered inside the rings. Note, too, that the side keys for the right hand and the throat tone A and Ab keys are shaped to play with the sides of your fingers. The clarinet is a marvel of ergonomic design and requires only a minimal amount of movement to use all the keys. By relaxing your hands and putting them in the proper position, your technique will become more fluid and accurate.

About the Author Jim Snyder has been the busiest jazz clarinetist of the last 30 years, performing in clubs, concert halls and jazz festivals in the United States and abroad. Jim played for many years in New Orleans, where he was also a member of trumpet virtuoso Al Hirt’s band. He is regularly featured as a guest artist in concerts and recordings and is a staff musician for the Walt Disney Company. His solo CD, “Coliseum Square,” was released on the Apple Jazz label. Visit




Leading instructors provide practical tips for each section of the band.

Self-Eval By Chase Sanborn

As I write this article, we are several weeks into a new school year, and I am working with a new flock of private trumpet students at the University of Toronto. My first job is to evaluate each student’s overall abilities. Observation. At the first lesson, I simply listen and take notes while the student practices. I encourage her to pretend I am not in the room—not an easy task as my fingers clack the computer keys relentlessly. This observation period gives me a realistic picture of each student’s abilities and the effectiveness, or not, of their approach to practicing. Group Discussion. Next is a group lesson where we turn the tables—I practice for one solid hour while they observe and take notes. This session is intense for all of us, underscoring the difficulty and effectiveness of sustained concentration, particularly in front of an audience. A group discussion follows based on their observations. This discussion is animated, with lots of observations thrown onto the table. Checklist. Prior to the next lesson, I ask them to self-evaluate by assigning themselves a mark in the following categories. • Intonation                                    • Range • Sight Reading                                                           • Tone                                           • Flexibility                                     • Lead Playing                                         • Fingers                                        • Improvisation                                                         • Articulation (single, (scales, vocabulary, double, triple, mixed style, feel, repertoire)                                                     tongue/slur) • Mental Focus                                                          • Time • Work Ethic They do not show their marks to me until I put them through a battery of playing tests. We then compare my evaluation to theirs. Generally, we are in agreement, though they are usually harder on themselves. At the end of the year, a similar test functions as the “final exam.” This exhaustive process provides me with a good picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each student. We can then determine goals and procedures for the year. Self-evaluation will help you determine what you should focus on in the practice room. Don’t practice what you can do—practice what you can’t do.

About the Author Chase Sanborn is a jazz trumpet player based in Toronto. He is on the faculty at the University of Toronto and is the author of “Brass Tactics,” “Jazz Tactics,” “Tuning Tactics” and “Music Business Tactics.” Chase is a Yamaha Artist. Visit his website at Questions about all things brassrelated can be sent to

By Lane Armey

Drummers are great at working the big stuff: playing rolls faster, learning new ridiculously named flam rudiments, etc. But they often struggle when it comes to the little stuff. Here are a few things you should try and pay more attention to the next time you’re working by yourself or with your drum line. Attacks and Releases. The beginning and ending of a phrase are critical to any musical passage but tend to be much weaker than the “guts” in the middle. Really hyper-focus on your attacks and make them aggressive—not necessarily loud, but aggressive. For your drum line to play clean attacks at the beginning of phrases, everyone needs to approach the drum in the same way. And it is infinitely easier to clean an attack when everyone is “going for it” as opposed to just throwing a stick at the head. Similarly do not give away a great passage by rushing to the release. So often I hear drum lines play a clean roll and then tick the last diddle going into the release. Staying focused and driving through to the release will make an immediate impact on your drum line’s sound. Buzz Rolls and Rim Shots. These are both easy, right? Nope, guess again. “Easy stuff” like buzz rolls require everyone to apply a uniform pressure on the stick, so that individual players do not pop out of the sound. Likewise make sure to define whether every buzz roll is sixteenth note or triplet based. Without that definition, the likelihood of releasing the end of the buzz roll together is very small. As for rim shots, there are always many interpretations as to where to play the stick on the head/rim as well as the amount of energy to put into the shot. Rim shots are something we all love, but your instructors and judges will love them more if there’s a uniform sound and approach to them. Uniformity in Appearance. Finally always take care of the small aspects of your drum line’s appearance. The little things like clean drums, even intervals, well-taped sticks and level drum heights all add up to make a big difference in how your ensemble is perceived.

About the Author Lane Armey is the battery percussion coordinator for Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. During the past 10 years, he has worked with various groups including Northwestern University and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.



The Little Stuff

Aftermath By Chris Casteel

I am going to change it up a bit in this issue. It seems as if these articles are generally focused toward the processes of training or competitive performance. However, there is value to be found in what happens after the performance and how performers utilize these moments/thoughts. I am quite sure that we have all marched off a football field or basketball court and had the following thoughts: “If only I had …”; “I should have done better”; or, my very favorite, “What just happened out there?” Good or bad, the past is the past, and there is nothing that we can do to change what has just occurred. However, we can utilize the past to make ourselves better performers for the next time. As an artist, we are in a constant state of evolution. That being said, evolution or change does not always come from the positive. In fact, the desire to become better most often results from negative experiences. How does the aftermath process look? Correcting Mistakes. First, it’s important to realize that mistakes happen; accept it. If your performance was not all that you wanted it to be, then you have some work to do. The bigger the mistake, the harder you should strive to ensure it doesn’t occur again. Write down the challenges of your performance as soon as possible. That way, you will not forget the details of your mistakes and will be able to correct them with time spent in practice. Most mistakes are individual in nature, so do not expect ensemble/guard rehearsal to be the time to correct them. On the contrary, your errors are best taken care of during your at-home practice time. Maintaining Consistency. On the flip side, if you have a great performance—that’s awesome! However, the aftermath process is just as important. Your goal should be to make it happen two times in a row, then three times and so on. That is easier said than done. It takes a good amount of time to simply maintain a level of performance, but going beyond requires far more effort. Every effort makes us better, so let’s not ignore the important opportunities that can be found in the aftermath of a performance.

About the Author Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity since 1981 as a performer and an instructor. She has a master’s degree in education. She has instructed several medaling guards for the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). Currently, Chris is an adjudicator for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the WGASC as well as a guest adjudicator for many other circuits. She also holds the position of education coordinator for the WGASC.

November/December 2012 11

By Elizabeth Geli

Ever- Jazz Shoe by DSI

Fusion Bags



hat if one bag could carry everything you need—instrument, music, laptop and accessories? British company Fusion Bags offers that and more with its line of soft instrument case backpacks. “Myself and three other ladies wanted to make our own range of high-quality gig bags/soft cases, incorporating function and style into the designs,” says Nicole Szekeres, marketing and sales director of Fusion Bags. “It was a huge risk and personal sacrifice as we spent all our combined savings in order to fund the project. We lived and breathed Fusion, but it has been worth it as we have rapidly established ourselves as one of the leading manufacturers in the gig bag market, now selling in over 30 countries worldwide.” Available for alto, tenor and soprano saxophone; trumpet; cornet; flugelhorn; tenor and bass trombone; and French horn, Fusion Bags protect your instrument and come in four stylish colors. “Fusion manufactures the perfect bag for a gigging musician who needs to carry their instrument without compromising its safety,” Szekeres says. “The bags offer extreme resistance to


Check out the following cool products before your next practice, show or competition.

scuffs and abrasions, a robust molded base and hard-wearing finish, and a soft non-scratch, non-fibrous velvet lining that cradles your instrument providing excellent protection.” Fusion’s “Fuse-on” system features a line of laptop, accessory and backpack attachments that clip on to the instrument cases for additional storage space. “The ‘Fuse-on’ concept is a great example of our company approach to problem solving,” Szekeres says. “How exactly do you carry a laptop computer, sheet music, change of clothing, personal belongings and an instrument to a gig? ‘Fuse-on’ will allow you to attach accessory bags to the main instrument case, so that all this additional gear can be carried.” And to prevent back pain from carrying all those necessary items, the rear of the case features a “Fusion Flow System” with lumbar supports and a waist belt for extra comfort and support. “There are many advantages of using a Fusion case: peace of mind, function, comfort and style,” Szekeres says. “High school and marching band students can all benefit by using Fusion cases. These products will enable students to carry all the gear they need for a gig or practice, hands-free.”

dd an extra kick to your guard performance with the new Ever-Jazz shoe by Director’s Showcase International (DSI). The split-sole dance shoe forms to your foot and works for both outdoor and indoor performances. “The people who have tried it out have absolutely loved it,” says Jeff Dyson, vice president of marketing at DSI. “The first thing we hear is that it’s the most comfortable shoe they’ve ever put on their foot because it’s so lightweight and flexible.” The Ever-Jazz is made of the same stretchy, moisturewicking material as the Ever-Dri glove—meaning that it is also anti-odor, quick-drying and machine washable.

This month, Fusion’s Facebook page is running a giveaway in conjunction with John Packer Instruments. For every 1,000 entries, the company will donate 50 gig bags to Music Fund, which supports young musicians and music schools in developing countries and conflict areas. To enter the contest, go to For more information or to order, visit or

“We heard that a lot of the shoes out there were too stiff or weren’t forgiving enough as far as flexibility, so we saw the need to create a shoe that would form to your foot like a glove,” Dyson says. “Since it does stretch, it fits like a glorified sock on your foot.” The split sole is sewn onto the shoe for durability. Unlike shoes where the sole is glued on, it won’t peel off or fall apart. “It’s thick enough to withstand outdoors and thin enough to be used indoors as well and not be clunky and chunky like a sneaker,” Dyson says. “It is more durable than any other jazz shoe on the market. We sew the soles right onto the shoe, something that no other company does.” Available in tan and black, the Ever-Jazz comes in women’s size 4 to 14 (men’s 2 to 12) in whole sizes and medium widths only. Due to the flexibility of the material, half or wide sizes are unnecessary. The Ever-Jazz retails for $34.95 in the 2013 to 2014 season. For more information, visit

Major Events by Region West Tradeshows Jan 9-12—Albuquerque, NM—New Mexico MEA Jan 23-26—Colorado Springs, CO— Colorado MEA Jan 24-27—Anaheim, CA—NAMM, the International Music Products Association Feb 14-17—Portland, OR—All-Northwest Conference Feb 1-2—St. George, UT—Utah MEA Feb 16-17—Honolulu, HI—Hawaii MEA Feb 21-24—Fresno, CA—California Association for Music Education

Miscellaneous Nov 17—Fresno and Clovis, CA—WBA Championships Nov 17—Menifee, CA—California State Band Championships Nov 23—Honolulu, HI—Waikiki Holiday Parade Dec 1—Oakland, CA—2013 America’s Children’s Holiday Parade Dec 1—Location TBA—Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Championship Dec 8—Los Angeles, CA—Los Angeles Unified School District Championship

Midwest Bands of America Nov 7-10—Indianapolis, IN—Grand National Championships—Lucas Oil Stadium

Tradeshows Dec 19-22—Chicago, IL—Midwest Clinic Jan 17-19—Fort Wayne, IN—Indiana MEA Jan 23-26—Peoria, IL—Illinois MEA Feb 7-9—Columbus, OH—Ohio MEA Feb 14-16—Minneapolis, MN—Minnesota MEA

Northeast Cavalcade of Bands Nov 10-11—Hershey and Millersville, PA— Championships 14

USBands Nov 10—Allentown, PA—National Festival (Non-Competitive) Nov 10-11—East Rutherford, NJ—Open Class National Championship

Tradeshows Nov 29-Dec 2—Rochester, NY—New York State School Music Association Feb 21-23—East Brunswick, NJ—New Jersey MEA

Miscellaneous Nov 10—Bridgeport, CT—Musical Arts Conference Championships Nov 22—New York, NY—Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

South USBands Nov 10-11—Annapolis, MD—A Class National Championship

Tradeshows Nov 10-13—Winston-Salem, NC—North Carolina MEA Nov 15-19—Baton Rouge, LA—Louisiana MEA Jan 9-12—Tampa, FL—Florida MEA Jan 10-12—Montgomery, AL—Alabama MEA Jan 24-26—Savannah, GA—Georgia MEA Feb 7-9—Charleston, SC—South Carolina MEA Feb 6-9—Louisville, KY—Kentucky MEA Feb 13-16—San Antonio, TX—Texas MEA Feb 21-23—Wichita, KS—Kansas MEA

Miscellaneous Nov 17—St. Petersburg, FL—Florida Marching Band Coalition State Finals Jan 26—Atlanta, GA—Honda Battle of the Bands

Bowl Games & Events Dec 15—Albuquerque, NM—Gildan New Mexico Bowl Dec 15—Boise, ID—Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Dec 20—San Diego, CA—San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Dec 21—St. Petersburg, FL—Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl Dec 22—New Orleans, LA—R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Dec 22—Las Vegas, NV—MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Dec 24—Honolulu, HI—Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Dec 26—Detroit, MI—Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Dec 27—Washington, DC—Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman Dec 27—Charlotte, NC—Belk Bowl Dec 27—San Diego, CA—Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Dec 28—Shreveport, LA—AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Dec 28—Orlando, FL—Russell Athletic Bowl Dec 28—Houston, TX—Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl Dec 29—Dallas, TX—Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Dec 29—Bronx, NY—New Era Pinstripe Bowl Dec 29—San Francisco, CA—Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Dec 29—San Antonio, TX—Valero Alamo Bowl Dec 29—Tempe, AZ—Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Dec 29-30—Pasadena, CA—Tournament of Roses Bandfest Dec 30—Glendale, AZ—Fiesta Bowl Band Championship Dec 31—Nashville, TN—Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Dec 31—El Paso, TX—Hyundai Sun Bowl Dec 31—Memphis, TN—AutoZone Liberty Bowl Dec 31—Atlanta, GA—Chick-fil-A Bowl Jan 1—Jacksonville, FL— Gator Bowl Jan 1—Dallas, TX—Heart of Dallas Bowl Jan 1—Tampa, FL—Outback Bowl Jan 1—Orlando, FL—Capital One Bowl Jan 1—Pasadena, CA—Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO Jan 1—Miami, FL—Discover Orange Bowl Jan 2—New Orleans, LA—Allstate Sugar Bowl Jan 3—Glendale, AZ—Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan 4—Arlington, TX—AT&T Cotton Bowl Jan 5—Birmingham, AL—BBVA Compass Bowl Jan 5—San Antonio, TX—U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan 6—Mobile, AL— Bowl Jan 7—Miami, FL—Discover BCS National Championship

Grad Assistants Unsung Heroes


n a college marching band of 100-plus members and staff, you have to think to yourself: How was the drill completed? Who arranged the music for this particular show? Who deals with the logistical end of things and transports an entire band from point A to point B? How do all of the odds and ends come together? Who’s the brains behind this—if there’s only one, even? They’re like sasquatch—you can’t see them, but you know they’re there. Mike Phillips, a University of Florida graduate assistant for the Gator Marching Band in Gainesville Fla., says with a chuckle that he isn’t often caught on camera because he’s constantly running around and making sure everything is put in its right place. “Pictures of us tend to be rare, unfortunately,” Phillips says. Graduate assistants—students at a college or university earning a master’s or doctorate degree—are important assets to almost every college or university marching band in the country. However, 16

they typically stay behind the scenes to make everything run as smoothly as possible. And they’re very good at making it look easy.

Making the Impossible Possible Graduate assistants have several things going on at once at any given point in time; they have their own lives and educations to worry about, and they are certainly kept busy in their positions within the marching band. One of the their duties is to help with special projects such as run-out gigs, says Dr. Brad McDavid, director of athletic bands at the University of Washington in Seattle. “They are my right-hand people,” McDavid says. They also often handle last-minute needs. “[They] are the unsung heroes of college and university band programs everywhere,” says Justin Mertz,

By Katie Finlon

marching band director and assistant director of bands at Syracuse (N.Y.) University. “I am just as guilty of this as anyone, but often, professors say to a grad assistant, ‘Hey, I forgot to tell you that I need something impossibly difficult, and I need it in 20 minutes, and it has to be perfect.’” Mertz takes pride in his graduate assistants for being so good and so qualified that they adequately complete the task every time. Not only that, but they smile when they do it—and, as if that wasn’t enough, they always come back for more, Mertz says. “I try very hard to give them experiences that will translate to their future careers because it is the very least I can do for those who do so much for me.” Mertz says. At Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, graduate assistants Ken Will and Josh Boyer had the task of organizing the pep band’s trip to Cleveland after their men’s basketball team had qualified for the NCAA Tournament; director Dr. Richard

Hylkema, Bands—John se University cu eserved ra -d Sy ell r w fo a tants take a Baldwin— Graduate assis th an m Sa d nherr an nds. Allison Thur University Ba sy of Syracuse break. Courte

Practically every college or university marching band has graduate assistants. But what exactly do they do? Anything and everything! University of Washing ton’s band director, Dr. Brad McDav id (center), is thankful fo r his gradua te assistant directors, D an McDonald (left) and Cory Meals. Courtesy of Eric Quach.

University of Florida graduate assistant Mike Phillips (standing on the ground) helps the band with its recent performances during the London Olympics. ©2012. Steve Johnson. All rights reserved.

November/December 2012 17

Suk was overseas. They had to select a band of 29 members, collect their information to build a flight manifest, coordinate travel schedules and pep rallies with athletics, and plan a daily itinerary. Those might be considered usual duties for any graduate assistant, but they are often completed under unusual circumstances. “We had to do it all in the span of about 12 hours from selection to departure,” Will says. “I feel like that could have been a pretty solid reality TV show.” No matter how crazy his experience, Will regrets absolutely nothing. “I learned more that March than I bargained for when I came back for my master’s, but it was so rewarding to be a part of that experience for my school,” Will says.

General Duties Up until 2001, McDavid had a full-time assistant on staff to take care of the miscellaneous work in the University of Washington marching band office. Since the position would never be on the university tenure track within UW’s school of music, no one wanted to fill that position. Instead of trying to find someone every year, he decided to take the responsibilities of that job and spilt it between two graduate assistants. “Some universities use [graduate assistants] as a glorified gopher and not intimately involved within the program,” McDavid says. “I made sure to design the [positions], so they have a hand in what makes our program so comprehensive and enjoyable.” McDavid’s graduate assistants, Dan McDonald and Cory Meals, do many things that a faculty member would do at any other university. They help in planning band trips, fundraising and the overall marketing of the athletic department and band. Along with that, the assistants have the opportunity to completely write a show—drill, music and everything else. “If they’ve written the show, they will run the show as head director and teach the show from start to finish,” McDavid says. McDavid had been a graduate assistant at Purdue University and Ohio State University, and he developed the graduate assistant positions at University of Washington based on his own experiences. The ultimate goal is the same: to make the assistants very marketable after they finish their degrees. 18

One common duty across the board for graduate assistants is administration, not only with finances and secretarial work but also with helping to oversee student and undergraduate staff and assist in rehearsal setup and breakdown. Graduate assistants also have the responsibility to take attendance, rent out instrument lockers, coordinate instrument repairs and organize events like alumni weekend, Phillips says. While at first glance, it seems like a lot of grunt work, it’s all part of getting the absolute most out of a learning opportunity. Many of the graduate students are pursuing conducting or music education degrees, so their experiences with the band prove invaluable for their future careers. And with that mindset comes a special understanding between graduate assistant and director. “Dr. Suk always holds the best interests of the student as priority number one,” Will says. “He allows [the graduate assistants] to act as a true teaching assistant and allows space to be creative, take chances and to grow as educators.” Syracuse University recently did a non-competitive exhibition at a local high school that they had never performed at before. Mertz trusted his graduate assistants to supervise loading seven busses with personnel and equipment while he met with the hosts of the show. Nothing and no one was left behind, and the graduate assistants helped the bus drivers get all seven busses to the exhibition on time. “It was quite a sight to see my own band showing up!” Mertz says.

Personal Balance As Mertz might agree, it’s a relief to trust and rely on graduate assistants that get the job done and done right every time. Perhaps the reason why graduate assistants make sure to prove themselves trustworthy is because some were in the directors’ shoes before.

Will was the assistant director of bands at Lakewood (Ohio) High School prior to going back to school. “There was definitely an adjustment period, but the experience that I gained from teaching at Lakewood prepared me well to make that transition,” Will says. The common theme for balancing your personal and professional life as a graduate assistant? Compartmentalize, compartmentalize, compartmentalize. “First and foremost, we are students working on degrees, and nobody is here getting a degree in marching band,” Phillips says. “We make the choice to invest our energy with the program in the short time we are here.” Joshua Gall, a graduate assistant for the University of Florida, is a firm believer in planning ahead with a schedule that is full almost every day. “If I plan properly, I can sometimes get a little free or personal time on Sunday, maybe,” he says. Will agrees that you mustn’t forget about yourself. “The ability to switch gears from teacher to student is tough enough, but you can’t forget about your own identity, either,” Will says. “I’ve had to keep reminding myself, ‘When you can afford to escape, do it. Don’t just work hard; work smart.’” While pulling at least 20 hours a week with a stipend to show for it, having the role of graduate assistant has proved to be nothing short of rewarding. “You definitely have to love what you do and the people you’re doing it with,” Will says. Directors certainly appreciate the hard work put in by graduate assistants, knowing that they are also full-time students. “There is no way we could operate smoothly or efficiently without them, and we wouldn’t look or sound as good without their work in rehearsals,” Mertz says. McDavid concurs. “I think creating the assistantships has been one of the smartest decisions of my career,” McDavid says. “Not only does it make us better as a band, but I have certainly learned a lot from them.”

About the Author Katie Finlon is a journalism major at Northern Illinois University (NIU). She has participated in color guard within NIU’s Huskie Marching Band and has also marched snare in its drum line. During her time at NIU, she has been awarded “Rookie of the Year” for guard and “Most Improved Member” for drum line. Katie is also a freelance entertainment writer for NIU’s newspaper, the “Northern Star.”

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By Jeremy Chen

Glocks, Oboes And Violins?

Oh, My! W

hen imagining a marching band, the high trills of the flute, the croon of the trumpets, the low bass of the tubas and the rolling of the snare drum may come to mind. While the style and dynamics of marching music has changed, the typical instrumentation of most marching bands has changed very little. Now imagine seeing a marching band with oboes, bassoons, glockenspiels or even violins on the field. They aren’t exactly seen very often in marching bands, but some groups encompass those types of instruments anyway. Reasons vary, from added musicality to years of tradition.

Glockenspiels The Pride of California at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of a handful of bands in the country that still have a marching glockenspiel section. With the introduction of the pit into marching bands in the 1980s, the marching glockenspiel became nearly obsolete along with other marching melodic mallet instruments due to their weight and bulkiness. However, the Cal Band prides itself on the fact that tradition still prevails in terms of having the “glocks.” “The glockenspiels have been around in the Cal Band for a very long time, way 20

Strings and electronics at Rice University perform in the Marching Owl Band. © 2012. Erin Lytle. All rights reserved.

The University of California, Berkeley, marching band prides itself on its glockenspiel section. Š 2012. Leya Andrews and the Daily Cal. All rights reserved.

Arcadia (Calif.) High School incorporates double reed instruments, normally reserved for concert band or orchestra, in its marching band. Š 2012. Akarin Mittongtare. All rights reserved.

Marchers with unique instruments add a special flare on the field while also posing various challenges.

November/December 2012 21

before I came here in the 1970s,” says Robert Calonico, director of the Cal Marching Band. “They were around since at least the 1940s according to the pictures that we have. They could have been around even before that in the 30s. If we were to let our glocks go, our band alumni would throw a fit. They are integral to the band.” The challenges of having to march glockenspiel are marked by the fact that the performer is only able to use one hand to play the instrument instead of two like on normal mallet instruments. The glockenspiel is held in one hand, supported by a sling, rather than parallel to the ground. Similar to the pain issues faced by wearers of snare drums and bass drums, the harness for the glocks has its own stress points; it is worn similar to the harness for a flagpole. “It’s an instrument that is typically played with two hands, but they are forced to play quite a few notes with one hand instead,” Calonico says. “So far, our players have been able to deal with it.” Divina Magracia, a sophomore who plays the glockenspiel at Cal, made the transition from playing mallets in a front ensemble in high school and has adjusted to the fact that she needs to march as well as rethink the way she plays music. “The keys on the glockenspiel are aligned vertically where you play accidental notes on the left and the natural white keys are on the right,” says Magracia. “This is as opposed to playing them from top to bottom. I kind of had to reorient the way that I thought of the notes and how I read the music in order to play well.” The glocks are considered a part of the drum line and do not have their own section leader; however, as the most senior player, Magracia guides the two freshmen players. New members have routinely been those with high school front ensemble or piano experience. “I got the perspective of a teacher as I got to witness two different types of music styles,” Magracia says. “I was a little worried at first, but they have surprised me, and they are doing really well right now playing with me.”

it. Director Seth Murphy wants them in the band due to the large size of the music program—the 360-member group includes seven oboes and seven bassoons. “We want to give our students the opportunity to practice the instruments they are already playing all year long,” Murphy says. “This is so that they can carry over all of the technical discipline that we teach in the spring to the fall of the next year, so that everything remains in continuity.” Murphy also wants oboes and bassoons to provide a unique supporting sound for the ensemble. “The instruments allow us to add a different color to the ensemble,” Murphy says. “The oboe has an upper range that the clarinets aren’t able to reach as the pitch of the oboe is between the clarinets and the flutes. The bassoon adds another tenor instrument instead of having just a tenor sax or a baritone sax.” Arcadia band member Renee Gao took up the challenge of learning to play oboe two years before high school to become a better musician but still felt the difficulties of playing a double reed instrument when she began marching. “It is hard to maintain the embouchure when you are marching, but you get through it,” Gao says. “I think it is pretty cool to be playing an instrument that is not too often played by most people.” Annabell Liao, a bassoon player, faced similar obstacles but enjoyed the chance to stand out in parades as spectators routinely noticed the marching bassoons. “There would always be people pointing us out,” Liao says. “They would be like: ‘They are marching bassoons!,’ which created a unique visual effect.”

Strings and Electronics

eclectic instrumentation, making up the identity of the band. This includes the strings and electronics section. “We try to include everyone into the band at Rice,” says Chuck Throckmorton, the band director of the MOB. “We have marched violins, cello, ukuleles and electronic keyboards—you name it. They add a certain dimension to our musicality that not many bands can say they have.” Accordion player Victor Acuna leads an electronics section that includes electric guitar, keyboard, bass guitar and keytar. Acuna doesn’t find the accordion too much of a challenge to adjust to in a field setting but knows of the challenges other members of his section face. “It’s really not that bad moving around with the accordion as it’s strapped to my body,” says Acuna. “What is perhaps different is the way I have to learn music as I can’t carry around a stand on my instrument. The keyboards, though, probably have it the toughest as we had to build special mobile carts for them to move around.” The strings section, led by Kathryn Powell, includes violins, cellos and violas. The fact that the MOB marches these instruments gives the band a special type of visual representation on television whenever the band is at a football game. “The cameras will always have close-ups of us as people are fascinated by the fact the band has violins and cellos,” Powell says. “It makes for good television as there will be many people tuning in, and it raises the profile of the band as we have something for them to remember us by.” At all the schools, succeeding with a unique instrument allows performers to feel an even stronger connection to the band as well as their instrument. “I definitely feel as if I’m closer to the rest of the band than I was in high school, especially during band camp,” Magracia says. “I used to be in the shade with my stationary instrument while the rest of the band had to be out in the sun. Now I get to suffer the heat with them by going through the same things they are. I definitely would not trade playing glocks for anything else.”

Double Reed

Some bands march nearly anything, making up unique groups called scatter bands where there isn’t much traditional marching. One such ensemble is the Marching Owl Band or MOB at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The members pride themselves on their

Oboes and bassoons are more often seen in orchestras or in a concert setting, but the Apache Marching Band at Arcadia (Calif.) High School incorporates them into the field shows. Recently, the band has become rather well-known for having double reed instruments, but there is a logistical and educational reason behind

Jeremy Chen is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). He marched cymbals for two years at Rancho Cucamonga High School before playing bass drum and snare at Upland High School. He is currently a snare drummer and office staff member for the USC Trojan Marching Band. He aspires to one day become a correspondent for the BBC.


About the Author

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January 31, 2013

By Carolyn Shaffer

Auditioning for Drum Corps A

fter the departure of summer and all of its rehearsal days, bus rides and competitions, fall brings with it a new year of drum corps. Every season of drum corps starts with thousands of students spending hours in practice rooms, running around town and practicing their roll-step down hallways in preparation for one of the activity’s most daunting aspects—auditions.

The Decision The first, and arguably most important, step in auditioning for drum corps is the decision to take the leap. “I really made the decision to audition for drum corps after watching DCI finals in 2008,” says Lia Huang Morris, a Phantom Regiment color guard member. “I never knew what the activity was until I sat in the stands and was blown away by 150 members’ energy shooting up at me all at once. I had nosebleed seats, but it still managed to take my breath away, and all I wanted to do was be a part of that.”

Camp Atmosphere Many drum corps set up audition camps as a weekend-long activity. For the majority of the camp, the attendees will be in a large group setting, working on the corps’ fundamental techniques, such as musical attacks and marching step-outs. These large group auditions allow instructors to see how each individual fits in with the overall sound and look of the group. For the visual audition, there is no specific routine to memorize in advance— 24

Interested in being a drum corps member? For newbies, the process starts with the audition, often held during a weekend camp. Find out from corps members and instructors what the process is like and how you can do your best. rather, it’s a chance to see how prospective members take direction and work on the field. ”We’ll spend time together as an ensemble breaking down a few simple exercises, allowing everyone to use whatever movement technique they are familiar with,” says Christopher Alexander, visual caption head for Santa Clara Vanguard. “We use this time to identify the audition criteria and take notes on how each auditionee performs in a large group setting.” Huang Morris’ color guard auditioning experiences have taught her to adapt to what each choreographer is looking for. “I’ve learned that in every audition, you must find the best light to represent and sell yourself,” Haung Morris says. “And you must fight to be seen; they are looking for fighters. However, I’ve also noticed that sometimes your skill level doesn’t necessarily matter. The one thing all the choreographers have in common is that

they are often looking for people who are willing to work hard and people who have shown growth over the three-day audition weekend.”

Individual Auditions At some point during the camp weekend, individuals will be called out for their individual auditions. These auditions allow instructors to evaluate and educate the prospective corps members in a one-on-one setting. “Individual auditions are used to see how candidates perform when they receive focused attention,” says Landon Ewers, Legends percussion supervisor. “The individual audition is not designed to intimidate, but rather to give people an opportunity to show they are confident in themselves and give the staff a great read on what the candidate considers to be their best stuff.”

Learning Moments: Lia Huang Morris, a Phantom Regiment color guard member, encourages camp attendees to adapt to the choreographers’ desires and show growth over the audition weekend. © 2012. Connie Chiodo. All rights reserved.

Conquer Your Nerves Even with heavy preparation, prospective corps members still need to overcome nervousness and avoid making simple mistakes. Here are some tips to help conquer your audition nerves. • “When you’re on a break, be it 15 minutes or an hour, resist the temptation to play or practice movement constantly; just hydrate and stay relaxed,” says Christopher Alexander, visual caption head for Santa Clara Vanguard. • “I found that by setting daily goals for myself … the nerves subsided a little more every day,” says Meg Highley, brass member of The Academy. • “The best way to handle nerves is to take deep breaths during the audition and to stay calm and focused on the choreography and not overperform,” says Lia Huang Morris, a Phantom Regiment color guard member. “Also I feel like auditioning is also like a job interview. The more practice you have, the more comfortable you feel.” • “Drum corps is supposed to be fun, and the same stands for the audition,” says Kristofer Borden, a brass member of The Cavaliers. “Also, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be, so practice.” • “Being nervous is one of those things that lets us know how deeply we care about our work, but it is also something that can sometimes get in the way of performing at our highest potential,” says Ryan Mohney, 2012 Blue Stars brass caption head. “The only way to learn how to perform while being nervous, as almost all performers are to some degree, is to do it more often. Prior to your audition camp, perform for friends, family, pets, your band director, band class, private lesson teacher or anyone that you can find and will listen. The more you do it, the easier it will get.” • “Everyone makes mistakes; it’s the people that handle the situation tactfully that one considers professional,” says Landon Ewers, Legends percussion supervisor.

November/December 2012 25

During the brass audition process, the first part will most likely consist of casual questions about your background, schooling history and interest in the activity. Next, the candidate will be asked to play a variety of ascending, descending, slurred or tongued scales to show their mastery of their instrument. Then, the moment you’ve been anticipating: Performing the audition pieces allows prospective members to show off their knowledge of the music and ability to prepare music. Ryan Mohney, 2012 Blue Stars brass caption head, advises candidates not to be discouraged if you are asked to only play part of your piece or are stopped before you finish. “Do not fret; this does not mean anything one way or another,” Mohney says. “All that means is that the judge has heard enough to get an understanding of your playing ability.” Depending on the instrument and part for which you are auditioning, the end of the audition might include you showing your upper register ability, according to Mohney. “Remember, though, the performing group has the final say on the part that you will play,” he says. For percussion, prospective members are expected to demonstrate a variety of skills. “Candidates prepare a packet of exercises: rudiments and rhythm concepts for the battery, two and four mallet techniques for the keyboards, pedaling 26

and tuning for the timpani, groove styles for the drum set, and various percussion techniques on snare drum, congas, bass drum, etc., for the auxiliary percussion,” Ewers says. “The only section not expected to prepare a particular set of exercises is the cymbal line. All those techniques are taught by the staff at camps.” The percussion staff looks at not only the skills the candidates have when they come to camp, but also how they apply the information given to them throughout the course of the weekend. “The staff is looking for a certain level of ability, experience and adaptability,” Ewers says. “While having a base level of ability is certainly important, the staff understands that candidates are going to grow over time.” The staff does not expect auditionees to know and perfect everything they are taught during the camp. The entire season is a learning process, and while camp weekends are tiring, instructors are looking for students who show the ability to keep improving throughout the season. “The biggest question the staff has to ask about a candidate is: ‘Are they far enough along and moving at a pace that will enable them to reach the goals for the percussion section over the course of the season?’” Ewers says. Guard auditions differ from the rest of the corps as prospective members learn the audition routines at the camp. The

Caught on Camera: Meg Highley got her foot in the door at The Academy through a video audition, a nontraditional though welcome method. Photo courtesy of Meg Highley.

Get in Shape: The best preparation for the visual audition is physical conditioning, says Santa Clara Vanguard visual caption head, Christopher Alexander (middle). Here, Alexander poses with other members of the Vanguard staff. © 2012. Cassandra Rutan. All rights reserved.

guard candidates are then split up into small groups to perform the routines in front of the staff. “It is a lot like ‘American Idol,’ and you never know if you are going to have a Paula Abdul that loves you or Simon Cowel that will cut you,” Huang Morris says. “You also feel like you are being






















broadcasted on national television, and you feel like the whole world is watching you.” How students control nerves can be a large part of the camp experience. Audition anxiety can reduce a well-prepared prospect to a shaking pile of nerves. “You have all these choreographers throwing new skills at you, putting you under a microscope and looking at every detail,” Huang Morris says. “You have to perform your heart out on these new skills learned in order to compete with the 70-some other applicants, and your body is also starting to become really sore from the three-day audition process. However, you must continue to go on until the end. But it is stressful on purpose because, let’s admit it, drum corps is stressful, and they are looking for people who can look past the crazy cards dealt for them and still be able to enjoy the game.” It is understood that not every prospective member will be able to attend every camp, especially if he or she is auditioning for a corps far from home. In these cases, many corps allow prospective members to submit videos. Meg Highley had a nontraditional entry into the world of drum corps—she was unable to audition in early camps and submitted an audition video for the chance to fill a hole in The Academy brass line later in the season. “When I heard that The Academy was an option, I was really excited,” Highley says. “I spent several days recording an audition video. It got really frustrating at times; I would get to the end of the recording, mess up and have to start all over. Video auditions are much harder than they seem.”

Callbacks Each corps has a different way they go about giving contracts to members. Many corps do not give contracts at the first camp and instead use a callback system. Corps may use a three-tier scale in order to rate prospective members: ready for a contract if they maintain the high level of execution shown at camp, needs improvement before being offered a contract and currently not at the level the corps requires. Prospective members may receive the results of their audition at the end of the camp or in the following week. “Some groups will give you a rating at the end of the camp,” Mohney says. “This rating will be based on a scale that they have defined 28

and will tell you what you need to do. The second way may come via email or a telephone call within the next week after the conclusion of the camp.”

Preparation Tips In order to get the most out of the audition camp experience, adequately prepare for the musical audition. Much of the weekend will consist of learning how one part fits in with the rest of the group. If prospective members do not know their own part, then they will not learn as much during the camp. When preparing the etudes for the musical audition, start practicing at a slower tempo to ensure the piece is played correctly before increasing the tempo. “Preparation is about more than notes and correct rhythms,” Mohney says. “Of course those must come first. However as a performer, it is your job to take on the role of what you are performing.” You should be your harshest critic. Practice your music at the highest level of quality possible in order to perform to the best of your abilities. “Try to be as picky as you can about all aspects of performing,” Mohney says. “Some of these aspects would be using steady air from note to note, tonguing clearly with the same strength in the same place and ensuring that all markings are played correctly.” At camps, in order to direct everyone to the same place in the music, measure numbers will be used as starting and stopping points. Prospective members should number the measures in their music to quickly find a specific spot when requested. “The saying goes, ‘Practice makes perfect’. Well that isn’t really true,” says Kristofer Borden, a member of The Cavaliers’ brass line. “Perfect practice makes perfect. I would always practice my audition music as much as I could, but I made sure the practice I was doing was perfect and not creating any bad habits.” Because you will be marching while playing on the field, make sure to mark

time while practicing to make it easier to transition from standing and playing to marching and playing. This will also help for the visual audition. During the visual portion of the audition process, strong physical conditioning is one of the key criteria. “One of the best things you can do from a visual preparation standpoint is to show up at the audition with a good foundation of physical conditioning,” Alexander says. “There is a wealth of information online that can aid you in developing a routine that includes cardio, strength training and flexibility.” Develop a long-term plan for physical conditioning. Drum corps is a physical activity that requires strength and endurance. Physical exhaustion creates tension in the body, which can be heard in the instrument’s sound. Tension may also build up from nerves before an audition. By recognizing this habit before the camp, auditionees can use techniques while they practice to ward off tension. “Practice evaluating and addressing your tension every day, head to toe, before you begin practicing,” Alexander says. “This habit will help you stave off anxiety if you become tense or inflexible on the day of your audition.” No matter what, have no regrets. “Don’t hesitate to come out and give it a shot,” Alexander says. “Whatever your skill level, I can assure you that with consistent preparation and a good attitude, your audition weekend will be a valuable learning experience.” While making the decision to audition for drum corps may be daunting, it is an experience like none other. Do not let the fear of the unknown or the challenge prevent you from taking the leap. “Take the opportunities you are given and run with them; don’t think twice,” Highley encourages. “In drum corps we have the amazing opportunity to wake up every day in a new place with a clean slate and simply pursue excellence,” she says. “Nowhere else in life will you find 150 people working towards being perfect— and have it be an achievable goal.”

About the Author Carolyn Shaffer played trumpet in the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps for a year and the Purdue All-American Marching Band for four years. She has bachelor’s degrees in professional writing and English literature from Purdue University.

By Samantha Berley

William Mason High School © 2011. Ken Martinson/ All rights reserved.

As a recent winner of the Sudler Shield, Mason (Ohio) High School has reached a new level of success.

Photo courtesy of Robert Bass.


hen the William Mason High School (MHS) marching band from Mason, Ohio, received the 2011 Sudler Shield in a ceremony this past May, it became one of only 14 schools to be awarded both the Sudler Shield and the Sudler Flag of Honor (for concert band). Both awards recognize high school, youth and international bands of world-class excellence. Mason also made finals at Bands of America Grand Nationals for the first time in the fall of 2011. Director of Bands Robert Bass has constructed a comprehensive culture of

excellence in instrumental music, and his efforts have brought on national accolades. Halftime: Tell us about yourself, your music background and your relationship with Mason High School. Bass: This is my 28th year of teaching. I completed my undergraduate work at the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music with a bachelor’s of music education and music performance. I earned my master’s degree at VanderCook College of Music. Originally, I wanted to perform in a military

Halftime: What are some of your favorite moments throughout your career? Bass: Having a former student at Fairborn (Ohio) accept a position here in Mason and watching him grow as a musician and teacher … seeing that little boy turn into a young man and become one of the finest educators around. I definitely have a few highlights— winning the 2010 Pontiac Regional and making finals at Grand Nationals for the first time last year. Anytime you do anything for the first time is unbelievably special. It was especially meaningful because it was our son’s senior year. Since he has attended Grand Nationals

we do. We’re very fortunate and privileged to have received both awards. I felt such pride watching our staff and students when these awards were received. There was so much joy, which just enhances making music. The one thing I teach kids—and I say this nearly every day—“Let’s sit down and make music!” Halftime: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a music director? Bass: I’m proud of the family atmosphere that has evolved in our band program. Our program is made up of band families, not just band students. The amazing support of our parents and the hard

© 2011. Ken Martinson/ All rights reserved.

band, but my experiences at UC and in the community fostered a love of teaching children and marching band. Mason presented the best opportunity for [my wife, Susan, and I] as educators and for [our son] Andrew as a student. I began in 1999, and Susan followed the year after to build the Mason Middle School band program. Andrew graduated last year from MHS, and music has been part of our whole family. He hasn’t ever missed a Bands of America Grand Nationals finals. He was in our arms when he attended his first Grand Nationals in 1995. Now he’s studying music at the New England Conservatory of Music. We’re flying him into Indianapolis this November for Grand Nationals, so that he won’t miss it … that will be 18 straight! Halftime: How did previous achievements/experiences shape your role at Mason? Bass: In my first position, I found out that woodwind and percussion methods courses were not enough, and in order to educate students at a high level, I had to take private lessons on the instruments that I wasn’t comfortable with—flute, clarinet, saxophone—to be a better teacher. I learned that working with people can be quite challenging. Working with the football coach my first year didn’t go very well. I learned through conflict how to handle situations better, so I’d say it was a “people skill” sort of year for me. Halftime: How has the band program evolved in the Mason district in your 13 years? Bass: When I first came to Mason, in grades 6 through high school, we had six different bands and 76 kids involved in marching band. Now, we have 16 bands and 276 students in the marching band. Our administration was unbelievably supportive through this endeavor. We grew from three music teachers to seven in a period of six years. Currently, we have more than 1,100 students involved in the instrumental band program. All the band directors are invested in the program, grades 6 through 12, and we all work together to create a cohesive curriculum. We all attend every performance of every group, regardless of grade level. It is through the support and dedication of each staff member— and one of our mottos, “Everybody, all the time”—that we have developed this Mason Band program.

every year for his entire life, his personal goal was always to march on the field in finals. After our band’s finals performance, I raced down to the field, found Andrew, and we both walked off the field for the last time together. It was a moment I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Halftime: How does it feel to be one of 14 bands to receive both the Sudler Flag and Shield? Bass: While I am so honored to receive these awards, it’s just a product of what

work and dedication from students, parents and staff are so rewarding because when a new goal is reached, it is a celebration for all of us—including former band families—to share together. Halftime: What’s in store for the future at Mason? Bass: We’ll continue doing what we do. We are facing new and different challenges in the state of Ohio with budget cuts and reduction in force. But through advocacy, we want to work hard to maintain the quality program we currently have.

About the Author Samantha Berley graduated with honors from California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree in English and a strong passion for anything musical. As a teenager, Samantha ate, slept and played music for seven years through concert and marching band. While she still enjoys favorite corps, she is currently finding new ways to combine all of her passions through writing. November/December 2012 31

Behind the Baton By Zachary Smith


ast spring I took two giant strides in my music career: I became drum major at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and became a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. While the two could have posed a conflict with each other, I gained a lot of experience in my tour that helped me as a leader.

Initial Jitters I had never been a drum major before. Ever. I had auditioned once in high school and hadn’t made it. I had taken 32

Being a drum corps member brings new insights about how to be a leader. conducting classes, I had been a section leader, and I had taken so many education classes that my head spins just thinking about it. Even that didn’t help subside my nerves. I walked into the audition room where more than 50 people from the band sat quietly waiting. Of course, that was one of the largest showings for drum major auditions we ever had. After the process was over, the adult

Double Duty: Zachary Smith joined The Cavaliers brass line shortly after accepting his drum major role at Northern Illinois University. © 2012. Michael Duebner. All rights reserved.

College Corps Connection

staff and graduate assistants spent a long time deliberating. When Dr. Thomas Bough, our band director, finally made the announcement, my jaw dropped. I had been selected as one of the three drum majors. A few days after being named drum major, I found out that I made the 2012 Cavaliers horn line. I had never been more excited or fearful in my entire life. I would be away from home for two and a

Corps Lessons One of the things that The Cavaliers preach and adhere to is the idea of personal accountability. You should never have to worry about the guy to the left or to the right of you. No matter what you do, you need to make sure that you are always getting better, hitting your dots more accurately and playing your music cleaner. I cannot even begin to describe how meticulous, precise and perfect the corps strived to be. That really changed the way that I approach teaching. If I don’t hold myself to the highest standard, how could I ever expect an ensemble to do the same for me? There were times when I was under immense physical and mental pressure. Whether it was 110 degrees and sunny or cold and wet, I was being challenged. These extreme conditions have given me the ability to push through a lot of hardships as a student, think on my feet and problem solve. If something went wrong over the summer, you had very little time to recover, and you needed to know exactly what to do and how to do it in a split second. I have a newfound ability to push myself to survive and thrive in situations where I used to cave in. As a player and as an educator, I learned a ton about myself over the summer. I discovered new pedagogical approaches and took my teaching to a new level. Since coming off tour, I have found myself putting an incredible amount of precision into everything that I do. I’ve also become a more understanding and patient teacher.

Fall Frenzy I had roughly five days after tour to finish everything that I hadn’t done over the summer for our upcoming band camp. There was a lot to do. I had to meet with my band director, the other drum majors and the leadership team, put together my binder, figure out all of the commands, and learn all of the music that we would

be playing in the stands. To this day I don’t know how I figured it out, but I did. During band camp we worked at a breakneck pace. Our first game was the first week of school, so we had to learn all of pregame and most of our halftime show. Football, school and band were starting, and I finally felt like I was back in my element. Football games are amazing, and we are always on the go. We’ve done exhibitions for high school competitions, homecoming affairs, school spirit meetings, tailgating and everything in between. I’ve learned to adapt in many different situations because you never know what a collegiate football game is going to throw at you. The ability to think on my feet learned in drum corps definitely helped me through this process. Being a drum major in a college band is much more than getting onto the podium and whistling off a rock tune. It’s an expe-

rience that really helps give you an idea of what it’s like to be a band director. Running errands, getting equipment, finding people, helping people get home and getting everything done on time—all things that music education students should be looking into as they progress through their schooling. I’m an aspiring 5th grade band director, drill writer, visual designer, fisherman and educator. While I don’t really know what will happen with my life, my experiences as a drum major are all great assets to my future, and I am positive that they will help me in whatever I decide to do. And as for drum corps, this summer was an incredible experience. It is a oncein-a-lifetime experience, and I would never trade anything for the time I spent with the corps this summer. If you have any inclination to audition for drum major or drum corps, go for it! They are two of the most rewarding things you could ever do.

Stepping Up: Zachary Smith became drum major for the first time as a senior at Northern Illinois University. © 2012. Dana Young. All rights reserved.

half months and wouldn’t be able to meet with the other two drum majors to plan our next year of band at NIU. However, it turned out that the summer in drum corps gave me a ton of understanding into the psyche of teaching and gave me invaluable experience to apply to myself as a teacher. It also gave me a lot of confidence in myself as a future drum major.

About the Author Zachary Smith is a senior music education major at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Ill. He has been playing trumpet since he was in fifth grade and has been involved with marching bands and the marching arts since 2004. Zach also played trumpet in the 2012 Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corp.

Fitness to the MAx

By Haley Greenwald-Gonella

Audition Ritual After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts). Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.

Prepare your mind and body for an audition just like you prepare your music.


our heart is pounding. You are in a room full of people. You know you are about to be judged and compared to other strangers. It’s audition season. When it comes to auditioning, conditioning and preparing your body are of the utmost importance, just like conditioning and preparing for performance season. Having an audition ritual is one of the ways to get ready and feel relaxed during what can otherwise be a stressful situation.

Sleep Traveling and sleeping in hotel beds or crashing on a friend’s couch is often part of the audition ritual; unfortunately, this situation does not always make for a wonderful night’s sleep. Finding travel pillows that allow you to bring a bit of extra comfort with you to the audition experience is always a plus. The night before, make sure to get plenty of rest. Do something to relax your mind and body, and do not overthink your audition. Perhaps take a bath or play a piece of music just for fun.

Eat Eating foods that are a normal part of your diet is also important. Eating weird 34

food can make you feel off balance, unsettled or bloated. Feeling your best is key to having a good audition. Some athletes and dancers have traditional things that they eat before performances, so find something that works for you—maybe it’s carbs, maybe it’s something rich in protein, maybe it’s a piece of cake. Whatever it is, enjoy it.

Warm Up Before you perform, make sure to warm up and stretch. I suggest bringing a small bag with you to carry extra clothes to warm up in before you perform. Pick a few exercises that you need and some that you like and do them in a set sequence and make them part of your performance routine. This way you will not have to think about warming up— you will just do it. I have seen plenty of people get so distracted during auditions that they forget how to warm up. Remember, having the mental and performance tools at your fingertips is just as important as packing your suitcase and remembering your instrument. At the end of the day, knowing that you did your absolute best is almost as good as seeing your name on the list. Happy auditioning and good luck!

Marching Band has a New Standard

Register for the 2012 USBands National Championships November 8-11, 2012 MetLife Stadium I E. Rutherford, N.J. U.S. Naval Academy I Annapolis, Md.


facebook .com/ usbands

By Matt Jones

Edible Arrangements Instrumentally Tasty





4 13




14 17











37 42 48 51

55 58





Across 1. Rapper/actor Mos ___ 4. Long-time Notre Dame coach Parseghian 7. “Oh, go jump in ___!” (2 words) 12. Sandwich shop of sorts 14. Quiet volume setting 15. Female graduate 16. Bready instrument that goes well with hummus? 18. Club participant 19. Instrument made of avocado dip? 21. Warning notices 24. Before, to a poet 25. Organization that monitors fuel economy 26. Magnet ends 27. New York Giants defensive end Umenyiora 29. Quick sleep

52 56






50 54





49 53





25 27












19 21


30. Jazz singer Fitzgerald 31. ___ a tie (come up even) (2 words) 33. End zone scores, for short 34. Instrument in the Tex-Mex dip? 38. Central 41. Grandiose stories 42. Georgetown athlete 46. NPR reporter Shapiro 47. Actor Benicio ___ Toro 48. Outfits for Supreme Court Justices 49. Discouraging words 50. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” star Vardalos 52. Like the best room at high-end hotels, often 53. Instrument good for all sorts of munchies? 57. 1997 best-selling book “Tuesdays with ___”

64 67

58. Instrument that’s been soaking in brine? 62. Naval unit in Spanish history 63. August astrological sign 64. Propel a yacht 65. Birds’ homes 66. Magazine staffers, for short 67. Golf ball prop Down 1. Banned pesticide (abbrev.)

2. Suffix after mountain or musket 3. What some seasonal shots prevent 4. Jennifer Garner spy-fi drama 5. Campus recruiting group (abbrev.) 6. Up and out of bed 7. Brewpub drinks 8. Bad thing to find in gravy or oatmeal 9. Like soft noises in the background 10. Leg protector while rollerblading or skateboarding (2 words) 11. Flaps on winter hats 13. Enthusiastic response to “How’re you doing?” (2 words) 15. Forgettable condition? 17. ___ two and two together (figures out) 20. Deteriorates 21. Tarzan’s friend 22. It’s bigger than [giggle], in chat rooms 23. Letter between kay and em 28. Traveler’s stop 31. Actor Estevez 32. “The Voice” network 35. University of Wisconsin uniform color 36. Where pirates sail (2 words) 37. Digging tools

38. He sets the example for masculinity (2 words) 39. Some metal can be extracted from it (2 words) 40. Takes away all weapons 43. “Star Wars” character ___-Wan Kenobi 44. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” group 45. Cloud from some volcanos 48. File’s partner 51. iPhone 5 maker 52. Slang for “trains,” to some train enthusiasts 54. Suffix after demo or aristo 55. Nickelodeon ___ Choice Awards 56. Hastened 59. Grab a bite 60. Untruth 61. Cheer at a bullfight

Solution For the solution go to Click on the magazine issue on the home page or “Archives,” then scroll down to “Crossword.”

About the Author Matt Jones is a 1998 graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Ore., where he majored in music education. Since 1994, he has also written crosswords for venues such as The New York Times, Games Magazine and Stagebill. He currently writes a syndicated weekly puzzle for more than 50 alternative newspapers across the country.

Everything you (and your parents) want to know about becoming a part of a DCI drum corps is only a click away. Learn more today... and take the field next summer with Marching Music’s Major League™

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This comprehensive education tool brings harmony training, rhythm training and ensemble timing together in one convenient educator resource. It enables music educators to clearly demonstrate for students how to tune individual notes within chords, so that entire chords may be tuned. The HD-200 Harmony Director helps musicians understand how their parts fit into the complete harmony of the ensemble.

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