On Saturday, February 3rd, well over 100 students showed up at Coppell High School to participate in a new leadership and conducting clinic for the Marching Arts: Silent Command.
THE START OF SOMETHING NEW
Created by Samuel Crawford and Claire Albrecht, Drum Majors of the Bluecoats and Cadets, respectively, Silent Command aims to bring the experience and expertise of Drum Corps leaders to High School Students across America.
“I started giving private lessons around Christmas of 2016 to local students preparing for drum major auditions. It really look off in the fall of 2017 and that’s when I started to get the idea for Silent Command” stated Samuel.
Now as 2018 begins, there are Clinics taking place across the US in Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, and California, with the most recent taking place here in Texas.
After registration and check-in, the clinic attendees got started with a few ice-breakers, followed by a lecture and group discussion about the importance of promoting empathy and inclusion from a leadership role.
During each lecture segment, students had the opportunity to learn from each other as they brought real world examples of leadership scenarios from their band-programs to the table.
Samuel had more to say regarding student interactions throughout the day. “We want to get away from the “sage on a stage” mentality. Instead of having the kids sit in a room and be talked to for 6 hours, they can listen to what their peers are facing in their band programs.”
Off the Field and On the Podium
While the first half of the day was focused primarily on leadership, following lunch the students broke off into 3 groups to work on various conducting topics with each clinician.
Kendall Stevenson, former Drum Major for The Cadets, walked each group through fundamental score study techniques and fixed point conducting. The information provided was incredibly practical, giving the attendees tools they could take back to their own programs right away.
C.C. Waggoner of The Blue Devils lead a discussion about musical interpretation and style, in addition to providing some insight on Seperated Beat conducting patterns.
The camp finished with a short study of Ottorino Respighi’s “Pines of Rome,” and each group of conductors went on to “perform” for each other while conducting along to a recording of the piece.
WHATS IN A NAME
”We like to say that the meaning of Silent Command is that a real leader can send a message without saying a word.” Samuel Crawford said of the clinic's name. “Real leadership is not about having a title, its about doing the right thing always, and letting those actions speaker louder than anything you say. That’s what we believe in”
In addition to local clinics, Silent Command offers an online subscription streaming service containing several hours of educational content for aspiring leaders and conductors. They also offer virtual private lessons via Skype from your choice of 7 Staff Members.
If you’d like to learn more about Silent Command, check them out at SilentCommand.org
Last week, our 2017 Year In Review was hosted on the Band Shoppe blog! It features some of our favorite images from the season, in addition to our thoughts on the current state of the activity.
You can check it out here > http://blog.bandshoppe.com/2017/09/dci-2017-year-in-review-by-guest-music.html
With every Drum Corps season comes another set of shows and iconic moments added to the history books. 2017 had no shortage of memorable performances, including one of the most unforgettable show endings in recent history.
The Boston Crusaders 2017 Program "Wicked Games" turned out to be a monumental success for the corps. Between the new design and instructional staff, along with the hard work put in my the members of the corps, Boston placed in 6th on finals night. The Crusaders earned a 93.40 the night of semi-finals, an all-time high in the Corps 77 year history.
Ask an audience member what made this show memorable and you'll hear a variety of answers from the improved music ensemble to the incredible colorguard, but just about everyone can agree that the ending is what sealed "Wicked Games" as one of the best shows in Boston Crusaders History.
The Sunday following DCI's World Championship Finals at the Indianapolis Airport, we sat down with one of the performers at the center of this moment, Drum Major Kaitlin Oresky, to hear about her experience performing with the corps over the last 5 seasons.
"I was actually a Clarinet player in high school" Oresky explained. "I went to a Carolina Crown rehearsal in Orlando in 2012, and as soon as I got out of my car and heard them playing I said to myself 'I have to do this.'" Like many woodwind players before her, Kaitlin decided to pick up a Baritone and learn the instrument on her own, hoping to audition for a DCI Hornline in the coming years.
"I saw my first drum corps show the summer before my sophomore year of high school, and that August I started to learn Baritone. I had never played a brass instrument before, so I just picked up some beginners method books. I practiced every single day - and that was the key, just not giving up even though I didn't sound great at first."
As soon as she attended her first camp with the Crusaders, Oresky knew it was where she wanted to be. "Honestly what made me realize that I wanted to be there was just walking up to the registration table at the first camp. I saw this swarm of corps jackets, everyone was hugging, and I knew it was a family I wanted to be a part of."
Going into her rookie season with the Boston Crusaders in 2013, Kaitlin was contracted as an alternate. By the time the first show of the season rolled around, she had earned a spot, and even earned the "Most Improved" award from the corps that summer.
"I would've never told you that in my 3 years on baritone that I was ever going to be a drum major. I loved being a hornline vet." Kaitlin explained. "It just sort of fell into place, and I realized I was going to help out the corps in a different way."
No stranger to change, by the time Oreseky had graduated from high school she'd made the switch completely from Clarinet to Euphonium. But Michael Townsend, The Boston Crusaders Colorguard Director, had one more surprise for Kaitlin this summer.
"Kaitlin get off the ladder." she remembers Townsend saying to her mid rehearsal. Her initial thought was "Oh no what did I do wrong." She quickly realized that she was not in trouble, but would instead be learning choreography for the corps new ending.
The first time the now iconic "Fire Ending" went in was the Orlando show, a home show for Kaitlin. "In rehearsal it just becomes such a regular thing, but at shows hearing the crowd reaction every night was so exciting. "
The ending was further enhanced for championships, when Anna Eberhart of the Front Ensemble threw another witch into the fire, resulting in one of the most gruesome show endings since Spartacus.
ON AGING OUT
2018 will be Kaitlin's 6th and final season with The Boston Crusaders. "There were plenty of times that I didn't think I was going to be able to do it anymore. My 3rd year I was struggling a lot" Oresky admitted. "But at least I never had to wonder "what if?" Thats one thing thats driven me. I'll always have the memories I've made with this Corps.
"I'm looking forward to closure on my Drum Corps career. I'm excited for one last run, and one more group of Crusaders to welcome into the family."