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Local youth chosen for drum and bugle corps

June 02, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

After intense auditions, Amy Brown, Grant Shearer and Kristen Bohner made the cut to tour the United States this summer as part of the 135-member Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.

The three left Hagerstown on May 21 for camp in New Jersey, where they and the other Crossmen will prepare for additional training in New York before hitting the road on a summer tour.

"We start June 18 in North Carolina with our first performance/competition," Shearer said.

For the rest of the summer, the group members will live on buses, eat their meals in schools, perform in many states and practice.

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The Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, a program of Youth Education in The Arts, has performing members from across the country. The corps will travel more than 15,000 miles this summer entertaining hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the nation.

The modern drum corps comprises 135 amateur performers, all younger than 22. The performers include brass musicians such as Shearer, who plays the euphonium, percussionists and an auxiliary or color guard, of which Brown is a member.

"We pay our way, about $2,000 each, to tour with this group," Shearer said.

They perform a program of nine to 11 minutes on a football field. Programs are displays of musical excellence, marching precision, color, drama, dance, humor and emotion. All members of the corps except the front percussion ensemble are required to march intricate patterns, formations and transitions that are coordinated with a musical production.

Although Crossmen isn't associated with North Hagerstown High School, Brown and Shearer are graduating North High seniors. Both have made arrangements to come home to graduate with their North High class on June 11.

Also a member of the color guard, Bohner, 18, graduated last year from North High and is enrolled at Towson University.

"My freshman year, I went to some of the Crossmen competitions and I loved it," Brown said.

Brown, 18, said she will attend Hagerstown Community College in the fall and would like to continue with her Crossmen affiliation.

Also 18, Shearer started with Crossmen last year. He will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

"It has really been a great experience for me," Shearer said. "One of my teachers at North High had been in a similar organization and said it was terrific, so I applied to Crossmen."

Already experienced in a few major performances, Brown and Shearer said it is a thrill to march out onto a field for a competition and look up and see a stadium filled with people.

The tour ends in August in Denver.

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