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Students pursue drum corps dreams

Chase+Courtier+and+Kaimen+Swanton+perform+with+the+drum+corps.+
Chase Courtier and Kaimen Swanton perform with the drum corps.

Chase Courtier and Kaimen Swanton perform with the drum corps.

Chase Courtier and Kaimen Swanton perform with the drum corps.

Autumn Rendall, Writer

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For many teenagers, sports to obsess over include football, soccer, or basketball. However, in the eyes of many band and color guard members, the most hyped up competition takes place during the summer and is known as Drum Corps International (DCI).

DCI is the non-profit body of junior drum and bugle corps in the U.S. and Canada. Interested brass players, percussionists, and color guard members under the age of 21 can audition in a very competitive process to either compete in a world class (highest competition level) or open class (generally smaller and on a less competitive level).

Louisiana Stars is an open class corp based out of Lafayette, Louisiana. Sophomore Kaimen Swanton marched contrabass and senior Chase Courtier performed with the color guard. There is a very elite audition process in the Drum Corps world, so members are often ecstatic when they hear their results.

“I was very excited,” Swanton said. “I went to the first audition and I was expecting to get cut automatically and the fact I was accepted was a big honor.”

I was very excited.”

— Kaimen Swanton

The typical rehearsal day for Louisiana Stars requires a lot of hard work. All members would wake up around 6 a.m., each of their three meals during the day would be followed by a four-hour rehearsal, and on a good day they would end at 11 p.m.

“For the people in Drum Corps this is what they want to do for the rest of their life so they put everything they have onto the field 100 percent of the time,” Courtier said.

DCI events take place all summer long, with competitions that are held all over the United States.

“We got a lot of free days in Atlanta and Indianapolis where we could go eat things we haven’t had before and see new things we haven’t seen before,” Swanton said. “It was a really great experience that I’ll carry with me.”

The biggest moment of the season is the week of Drum Corps International World Championships. While nerve wracking for some contestants, Swanton and Courtier both said they were focused on the more important aspects.

“Of course everybody wants to win but overall we just tried to have a lot of fun,” Swanton said. 

After finals week, the season is over for Drum Corps. After all the hard work, traveling, and bonding with fellow performers, Swanton and Courtier said it was a little rough to say goodbye to the group.

“I was both relieved and bummed when the season was over,” Courtier said. “I got to see my family again and I really missed them. But I was also sad because my other family is in Louisiana Stars now.”

My other family is in Louisiana Stars now.”

— Chase Courtier

Swanton and Courtier said they gained an experience in a hobby they want to continue for the rest of their lives, and have advice for other students who might want to pursue something they really care about.

“Put a lot of work in,” Swanton said. “If you put your mind to it, you can make it. The odds may be against you, but you can do it.”

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