Friday, August 04, 2006

Article submitted to Naperville Sun Newspaper

Karen R. (BR's Mom) copied me on an article she emailed to our local newspaper, the Naperville Sun. We don't know if they will print it or not, so I wanted to be sure all you cooktruck readers had a chance to see it. Karen did a great job answering the "what is drum corps" question, plus highlighted the large number of drum corps members we have from our town and high school.

Here's the article:


Dear Naperville Sun Reporters:

Being news reporters, I am sure you are all aware of the big event coming to North Central College on Sunday – Drum Corps International (“DCI”). I am writing to give you a bit of DCI history and Naperville DCI trivia that you may not know. Even if you do not intend to cover the DCI event on Sunday, I hope you will take a moment to read the following.

I am including Mr. Nolan, sports editor of the Naperville Sun, in this e-mail because for those of us who are familiar with drum corps, we consider it to be as much a sport as it is entertainment. The 2005 DCI World Championships held at Gillette Stadium outside Boston even got coverage by ESPN last year. This year’s World Championships will be held at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin from August 10-12th. Local movie theatres are showing live coverage of the championships. The top 12 corps will perform on Saturday night, August 12th.

The Naperville Sun has done cover stories in the past about drum corps and I hope you cover it again this year. It is very, very big business involving thousands of participants and fans throughout the world, and fills high school and college stadiums across the country all summer long. We in Naperville are very fortunate to have the opportunity to host a DCI show. I believe they expect a sell-out crowd again this year.

Naperville Central High School has 13 current and former students marching in four different Division I drum corps this summer (see a short bio of each, below). This is a remarkable number of students from one high school. We have six marching with the Colts (based in Dubuque, Iowa), three marching with the Madison Scouts (based in Madison, Wisconsin), three marching with the Blue Stars (based in LaCrosse, Wisconsin), and one marching with the Cavaliers (based in Rosemont, Illinois). They will all compete together in Madison next weekend.

The Executive Director of DCI, Dan Atcheson, lives in Naperville. His daughter, Jenny, a 2004 Waubonsie Valley graduate, is a Colts color guard member. Jenny also works with the Naperville Central color guard during the fall marching band season.

Each Division I drum corps consists of up to 135 members, including brass (trumpet, mellophone, baritone and tubas), percussion (snare drums, bass drums, tenor drums, cymbal lines and “front ensemble”—vibraphones, timpanis, chimes, xylophones, etc.), and color guard (flags, rifles, sabers and dance). Members range in age from 15 to 21. Thousands audition each December and January for the coveted member positions, coming from as far away as Taiwan, Japan, Europe and Canada. They are among the very best marching band students from their high schools and colleges.

These are not halftime marching bands – these corps practice 12 hours a day for 70 days each summer, competing in high school and college stadiums all over the United States. The corps perform at a professional level and are truly amazing to see. The corps travel by bus, sleep on gym floors (or on the bus), shower in locker rooms, eat their meals sitting on pavement (or, if they’re lucky, under a nice shade tree). They practice in rain and sweltering heat. They practice with sore muscles, sprains, sunburn, mosquito bites and bee stings, and they love every minute of it! These are not typical young adults – they are amazing musicians who have the athletic ability to march very difficult (and ever-changing) drill. They learn dedication, responsibility, teamwork, leadership and the value of hard work. They are to be admired.

Each drum corps relies heavily on volunteerism to help keep their operating costs down. Cooks are not hired – they are parents who take a week or two of their vacation each summer to travel with the corps, preparing five meals a day from a cook truck parked in school parking lots. Parents also volunteer to help alter uniforms, repair equipment, drive equipment vans and sell souvenirs. For the parents, this is an unbelievably rewarding experience. To hear young adults say, “thank you parents, you are awesome!” is something every parent dreams of hearing. And for drum corps parent volunteers, they hear it every day.

In addition to the “tour” parents, other parents, friends and community members throughout the country show up with “treasures” such as fresh fruit, cookies, Gatorade, ice and bottled water, which is always welcome. For example, several local Colts parents are providing pies to the Colts on Sunday as a way of saying thank you and good luck to the corps as they begin the final week of competition for the 2006 year.

The following are Naperville Central students marching drum corps for the 2006 season. Each of these students was (or is) a member of the band program at NCHS:

Brandon Rogers is a 2004 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He is in his third season marching mellophone with the Colts. He attends Western Illinois University, majoring in music education.

Justin Heinekamp is a 2004 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He is in his second season marching trumpet with the Cavaliers. He attends Western Illinois University, majoring in music education.

Ben Runkel is a 2004 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He marched snare drum with the Blue Stars in 2005 and is a member of the front ensemble with the Madison Scouts this year. He attends Northern Illinois University, majoring in percussion performance.

Matt Rice is a 2005 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He marched tenor drums with Southwind in 2005 and is marching tenor drums with the Madison Scouts this year. He attends Illinois State University, majoring in education, with an emphasis in history.

Alex Navrotski is a 2005 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He is in his second season marching trumpet with the Colts. He attends Bradley University, majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in philosophy.

Andy Hull is a 2005 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He is in his second season marching snare drum with the Blue Stars. He attends Bradley University, majoring in electrical engineering.

Scott Oliver is a 2006 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He is in his second season marching baritone with the Colts. He will attend University of Illinois in the fall, majoring in music education.

Travis Batzel is a 2006 graduate of Naperville Central High School. He is in his second season marching snare drum with the Blue Stars. He will be working with the drumline at Naperville Central in the fall and will enter the Marines in December.

Allyce Bara is a 2006 graduate of Naperville Central High School. She is in her second season in the color guard with the Blue Stars. She will attend Illinois State University in the fall, majoring in early childhood education.

Alex Russeau is a senior at Naperville Central High School. He is in his second season marching trumpet with the Colts.

Nick Wong is a senior at Naperville Central High School. He is in his first season marching baritone with the Colts.

Eric Larson is a senior at Naperville Central High School. He is in his first season marching baritone with the Madison Scouts.

Sarah Casey is a senior at Naperville Central High School. She is in her first season in the color guard with the Colts.


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Thanks for sharing this with us, Karen!!

Rod :)

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Excellent!!! Thanks to the Naperville parents. I wish I was closer to help them out when we are close to you.

Anonymous said...

ps See you tomorrow in Naperville!!! penny d

Pam said...

Thanks for the great information that you sent to the Naperville Sun. Are there any Naperville North students or graduates currently marching?

Pam - Colts 1994-1996; Naperville North grad. 1992

p.s. See you at the show tonight!