Chambersburg band students perform with, learn from champion drum corps

June 20, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Kyle Purnell knew very little about The Cadets Drum Corps before Thursday.

But just eight hours after meeting the internationally acclaimed performers, the 17-year-old was considering joining their ranks.

"I really enjoyed the fact that I was asked to audition for the Cadets," Kyle said with a look of disbelief on his face.

Only a half-hour remained before The Cadets' joint performance with area students when Kyle was asked to play a trumpet solo during "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss." Cadets fans and supporters of the teenagers filed into Trojan Stadium for the 4:30 p.m. concert under sunny skies.

"I was kind of unsure of myself, but it turned out all right," said Kyle, a Chambersburg resident who is headed to Clarion (Pa.) University this fall.


One-hundred-and-thirty students registered for the "Music is Cool" event hosted by Youth Education in the Arts and The Cadets, nine-time world champions on the Drum Corps International circuit. Middle and high school students participated in a marching block and two-hour master class with the percussionists, horn players and color guard.

Staff and members of The Cadets talked to the teenagers about the corps' 2008 show "... and the pursuit of happiness." Color guard students joined The Cadets auxiliary in actually learning three sets of the epilogue of the show, which debuts for the drum corps community on Saturday in Toledo, Ohio.

Among the teenagers learning the flag work was Caty Inman, a 16-year-old who will be the drum major for Biglerville (Pa.) High School this year.

"I thought it was different how they run through a chunk of work and then go back to break it down," Caty said.

Caty said she admired the work ethic of The Cadets' approximately 135 members, all 22 years old and younger. The performers chat during breaks, but refocus on work immediately when necessary, Caty said.

Jordan Snyder, 15, also of Biglerville, best enjoyed playing "Rocky Point Holiday," a corps and fan favorite played on special occasions by The Cadets, who are based in Allentown, Pa. Jordan collected signatures on his "Music is Cool" T-shirt after packing up his baritone.

"I've played it for about two years now," he said.

Ben Stevenson, 14, said he was the only student that he knew of from Waynesboro Area Senior High School to attend the event, but, like Kyle, he had a special moment during the clinic. His solo during "Razzle Dazzle" was accompanied by a slight case of nerves.

"What it was is the whole percussion line would set a beat, and the instructor would point someone out to play a solo," said Ben, who played the snare drum.

Ben said he typically goes to DCI events in Allentown, and is a fan of several corps, including The Cadets. His high school will be working with "The Nightmare Before Christmas" joined with music by Danny Elfman as its field show this fall.

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