Students March through Summer with Drum Corps

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For some students, the opportunity to pursue their passion for marching at the highest level supersedes the pull of a traditional summer internship.

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For some students, the opportunity to pursue their passion for marching at the highest level supersedes the pull of a traditional summer internship.

Drum Corps International (DCI) is a league that showcases the best marching band members in the country, and this summer, several members of the Georgia Tech Marching Band are part of it.

Spirit of Atlanta is one of DCI’s World Class corps, its highest rank, and boasts a director and several members from the Tech community. Chris Moore, director of Athletic Bands at Georgia Tech, is also the corps director at Spirit. Each year, he’s accompanied by several Tech students who endure a rigorous audition process and choose to spend their summers marching with the corps. For them, the opportunity to pursue their passion for marching at the highest level supersedes the pull of a traditional summer internship.

“I had been interested in DCI and Spirit for a while, but I didn't think I would ever actually get the opportunity to do it,” said Sam West, a rising third-year chemical engineering major and trombone section leader for Tech’s marching band. “After seeing the positive experiences that other people had, though, I decided it was worth it to audition.”

Spirit is currently in the process of “spring training.” Members stay at Luella High School in Locust Grove, Georgia, and practice for approximately 12 hours a day. Despite the grueling schedule, members focus on the rewards.

“A lot of the drum corps activity is finding ways to break through your internal walls and push through mental limitations to play at a higher level,” said West. “I hope that at the end of the summer, I will come out of the experience a stronger person, both physically and mentally.”

For Brent Murphy, Spirit has been part of his life longer than Georgia Tech. The rising second-year is returning this summer for round two.

“I came back to Spirit to come back to the family I made last year,” he said. “The corps means a lot to me, and continuing my story here was something I felt I needed to do.”

Tech students have also landed leadership roles within the drum corps. Hope Wamae, a rising third-year mechanical engineering major, was named a captain of the Spirit of Atlanta color guard after just one season. Though her second year has already proven to be different from the first, Wamae says that some things about the guard never seem to change.

“This staff and color guard are so positive and encouraging,” she said. “We're working hard, but we're still having fun, and I love that.”

As veterans, Wamae and Murphy have a common mentality. Now that they know the ins and outs of drum corps, they can focus on giving back and being a role model to the rookies.

Spirit of Atlanta’s 2019 show, Neon Underground, will make its public debut June 24 in Evansville, Indiana. It will be the first of 30 shows that the corps will perform across the country, including Valdosta, Georgia, on July 8 and Atlanta on July 9. After that, Spirit will wrap up its season at the DCI Championship, which begins August 8 in Indianapolis.

If there’s one thing the members of Spirit are excited to do, it’s to show the world what they’ve been working on.

“We really turned it up to 11 for this production, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out,” Murphy said.
For more information about the corps, its schedule, and the audition process, visit the Spirit of Atlanta website. To purchase tickets, visit the DCI website.

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  • Created By: Kristen Bailey
  • Workflow Status: Draft
  • Created On: Jun 19, 2019 - 5:17pm
  • Last Updated: Jun 20, 2019 - 10:18am