2018 Friends of Drums Along the Mohawk Award
2018 Friends of Drums Along the Mohawk Award Winner
Katie's letter to Drums Along The Mohawk:
Drum corps has always represented, to me, a unique opportunity that many people do not get to experience in their lives. Specifically, the chance to work towards perfection over a long amount of time with my undivided attention. Yes, the days can be long and grueling, but there is a sense of relief that comes with the never ending days that bleed into one another. I do drum corps because it has not only made me a better performer, but a stronger person.
This activity, though taxing on the body, is a type of therapy for me as well as many of my peers in the marching arts for this exact reason. In "real life" I have numerous responsibilities: to my work, college, students, family, friends, etc. Drum corps is unique in that I ultimately have only one thing to worry about: executing and performing my show with my team to the best of our ability.
These shows can absolutely be stressful and dangerous if not everyone is on the same page, but this fact serves to further my point. It is absolutely essential that my responsibilities and awareness as a performer be the only thing I think about while on the field. It is refreshing not to have a million other things to mentally stress over, even menial things such as when to sleep and what to eat later because that is all basically decided for me while I'm at drum corps. A singular and common goal that is truly shared with over a hundred people is not something I am guaranteed to find after drum corps.
There is also something so satisfying about pushing my body beyond what I ever thought myself capable of. The drill and checkpoints might feel impossible initially, but I try to make it happen every rep out of thousands throughout the summer. Before I realize it, I am actually succeeding more often than not. It is incredibly rewarding to have exercises that were once so difficult, quickly become my warm up. Drum corps has made me feel that there is nothing I cannot overcome if I decide that I can make it happen.
The emotional maturity that drum corps has fostered within me is definitely reflected in my everyday life, in social situations that I used to be nervous about. I am introverted and was very shy, however I am no longer nervous about being noticed. I used to always feel a foreboding sense of dread approaching small or large presentations. However, this activity has taught me how to draw strength and unity from my peers. I used to be the type of person that would do fine in rehearsal, then get to the show and be suddenly unsure. Drum corps helped me to realize that there is no reason to be scared of showing off my hard work. Further, it has helped me to manifest that confidence into physical feelings of calmness and assuredness.
Drum corps has helped me to discover strong character, focus, and maturity. The sense of community and family that drum corps creates is something I will pursue throughout my life.