The Crusaders Share about Aging-Out
In our three-part blog series; Band Shoppe Asks… we are asking our partnering Drum Corps questions during the three stages of DCI’s current season.
This is the third and final part of our series, these questions have been answered by members of the Boston Crusaders
“What’s it like to Age-Out?”
A special thank you, to Riley Michaels (2nd year Mellophone section leader), Nick Winckel (5th year Drum Major), James Maniscalo (5th year Baritone), Kieran Maher (4th year Color Guard Captain), Tevis Tucker (2nd year Center Marimba/Pit Section Leader), Max Applegate (5th year Color Guard Member), Kait Oresky (6th year Drum Major), and Gabby Tober (2nd year Front Ensemble)
Let’s hear what they have to say…
What’s your best memory from Drum Corps?
Riley: I have so many great memories from drum corps. I think my best memory is singing Giant at the Most Precious Blood Church with the whole corps.
Nick: There’s absolutely no way I can narrow this one down because of the sheer amount of incredible opportunities and moments that I’ve had here. So I’ll just say this, my favorite memories are the ones that I think back on and know that I felt truly present and in the moment. For example, performing 1812 Overture with the Boston Pops at the fireworks spectacular dress rehearsal on July 3rd. Although, it wasn’t the real event it was a surreal moment that is ingrained into my mind because of how incredible it was.
James: In 2015, we did an encore with the senior corps. My Uncle is a member of the senior corps’ soprano line, so getting to play and sing Giant alongside my uncle was amazing.
Kieran: The first time walking into Lucas oil and seeing the place I had dreamed about and watched on YouTube for so long. What a feeling.
Tevis: It’s impossible to pick one moment. The collection of every stupid inside joke, every rushed ESL, every adventure on a free day, every late night at a housing site, etc. is what I remember most when I look back on my time in drum corps.
Max: Finals night my rookie year. I didn’t realize how much drum corps had affected me until it was over for the first time.
Kait: My best memory was playing with the Boston Pops in 2015. It was such a different type of performance, since drum corps is a marching-centric activity. I’ll never forget playing alongside the Boston Pops at the 4th of July performance at the Hatch Shell, and also playing at Tanglewood.
Gabby: My best memory from drum corps is hard to pinpoint, I’ve had so many favorite moments, but overall it’s a collection of interpersonal interactions I’ve had with certain people throughout the years, from funny jokes at 2am, to working together through difficult times. Sorry this is vague, I just have too many good memories.
What will you miss most about Drum Corps?
Riley: I will miss performing and be a part of this amazing corps, I will miss seeing some of my best friends everyday and getting to do some amazing things with them.
Nick: I will miss the ability to pretend that I don’t have adult responsibilities awaiting me at home. There’s something about being here that allows you to just focus on the people and the show we’re working on and nothing else. I’ll miss the blissful ignorance that I had being on tour for three months.
James: I will miss shedding blood, sweat, and tears with 150 of my brothers and sisters aiming to be the best crusaders we can possibly be.
Kieran: The people and life long friendships.
Tevis: Being surrounded by 153 other people that are all tirelessly working for the same goal. That level of passion and excellence is hard to come by in the real world.
Max: Getting to see some of the most supportive and caring people I’ve met here at least once throughout the year.
Kait: I’m going to miss being in an environment that lets me learn so much about myself. I cherish waking up every day, knowing what it takes to be successful, and pushing myself past that point. I love creating new friendships every season and meeting the people who I am going to remember for the rest of my life. It’s hard to think that this is all going to be over soon, but I will always have my memories and the incredible people I’ve bonded with along the way.
Gabby: I will miss how detached from conventional life this activity makes me feel. I get to see so many places and different people and all the scenarios this activity puts me in are all so unpredictable. It’s so thrilling and to me, that’s what creates such amazing experiences and memories.
If you could go back to your first year, what would you do differently?
Riley: If I could do anything differently from my first year, I would have enjoyed the little things and more experiences.
Nick: I would change my mindset of worrying so much about the future to just simply enjoying the journey. Sounds cliche and bleh but seriously, I would’ve loved to just be in the moment a little bit more.
James: My first year I was 16 years old and wicked shy. I had a great time but I think it would’ve been even better if I forced myself to come out of my shell a little more.
Kieran: Stop thinking of the ways to fail and instead of the ways to better yourself.
Tevis: I definitely wish I would have explored more on my free days and spent time with a wider range of people during my first year. This year, I did just that and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world.
Max: Everything. I feel like each year I keep realizing a new aspect of the activity that could provide new opportunities for me to learn from. Plus, I could always get more practice perfecting how to be efficient in the craziest of conditions.
Kait: If I could go back to my first year, I would write more and take more photos. I’ve been huge in journaling every year, but I wish I wrote down more about my first year. I love being able to go back and relive memories or learn from previous experiences. Also, I didn’t have an iPhone so I don’t have very much photo documentation.
Gabby: I would have brought more than just a sleeping bag!
Does the Corps do anything special for the members who are age-outs at the end of the season?
Riley: The horn line plays Giant for the age-outs. The corps provides age-out plaques. There is also a toast to the age-outs after finals.
Nick: We have a couple of things, 1. We get a cool age out plaque with our names and years on it. I’ve been looking forward to getting this for 5 years! 2. My personal favorite: After finals rehearsal is officially over, the age outs all gather at the front of the field as the rest of the hornline arcs up and plays Giant for the last time of the season. It’s always been a remarkable moment.
James: Every year on finals day, the hornline arcs up around the age outs and plays a song important to the corps, like Giant or Virtual Hornline.
Kieran: We enter the alumni finals night with a glass of champagne, we started this in 2015. We also all get roses to wear.
Tevis: The members have some special traditions for age outs that are only shared with people within the corps, but at our end of the year banquet, age outs get plaques to commemorate their time here.
Max: Age-outs get their age-out plaque from the drum corps, but the best tradition is the age-out champagne in the finals lot. It’s the way the alumni welcome us as one of them, and it’s a pretty surreal experience to celebrate changing roles like that as soon as we finish our last marching experience.
Kait: We do…but that’s an experience just for members.
Gabby: We get recognized at the banquet as being an age out.
What has been the best lesson you’ve learned through being a part of Drum Corps?
Riley: I’ve always pushed myself at tough points, but I learned to keep pushing harder when the stress, intensity, and exhaustion sets in and persists at extreme levels.
Nick: Oh gosh. Picking one is hard. I think the most valuable and most recent lesson I’ve learned is that people are really the driving force and the motivation that make this or any difficult experience worthwhile. It’s super easy to get caught up in your own day and own experiences and if you stay in that headspace it’s really easy to feel isolated even when surrounded by a group of people.
Realizing that there were 150+ incredible performers and friends around me all the time that I got to share experiences and wholesome moments with is the real reason I kept choosing to come back year after year.
James: I’ve learned how to flip the switch. I can go from being goofy and having fun immediately into professional focus. The maturity I’ve gained from being in the activity has really helped me understand when it’s ok to be chill and when I have to flip that switch.
Kieran: Everything will happen, just roll with every punch. Tevis: It’s not about recreating the success, it’s about recreating the process that made it.
Max: To be proactive. Drum corps teaches you to take initiative to make things work and gives plenty of tools and unideal (stressful) situations to develop that skill set.
Kait: One of the best lessons I’ve learned is “amnesia”. It’s something that our percussion caption head stresses, and it’s a way of coping with a bad rep or dealing with things out of your control. Amnesia is letting go of mistakes and moving forward as quickly as possible in order to keep growing and improving.
Gabby: If you are willing to work very hard to achieve a goal, you are capable of achieving anything.
If you could sum up your Drum Corps experience in one word, what would it be?
What show (throughout your Drum Corps experience) was your favorite to perform, and why?
Riley: I performed in Wicked Games and S.O.S. Both shows were thrilling and incredible to perform. I can’t choose a favorite because they both allowed me to enjoy performing and extend my performance abilities.
Nick: Definitely has to be 2016. Quixotic. It was a hard show for people to understand but by far the most emotional season of drum corps that I had personally. It was a very rough summer physically for me but it made performing the show so much more rewarding. Everybody by the end of the season knew that we had to focus in and give everything we had to make the show come to life and it ended up being a wave of emotions every time we stepped on the field. Something I’ll never forget.
James: Rise will always be my favorite to perform. I think The meaning and story of Rise perfectly depicts Boston always facing and beating adversity. Playing Test Drive from How to Train Your Dragon was so cool.
Kieran: I think this years because it’s such a dynamic show.
Tevis: This year’s production, S.O.S., is my favorite show to perform. The range of emotion we try to portray is incredible. From moments in our ballad that are so tender, raw, and vulnerable, to phrases in our show filled with complete malice and unfiltered aggression. Through the most primitive human quality of survival, we are able to explore the highest of highs and lowest of lows that we have, and will continue to face, as a human race.
Max: S.O.S (2018). It’s the age-out show I’ve always wanted. To get to be in the colorguard and embody the characters that this show provides me in such a well designed way, I couldn’t have asked for anything more – other than a clean cut look (just a personal preference ).
Kait: My favorite show to perform has been this year, SOS. I think it has a lot to do with my position, being drum major, rather than being in the hornline or conducting backfield. I thrive off the energy of the corps and I get to live through all the characters being embodied throughout the show. I love experiencing the show through so many different perspectives, and being able to conduct and influence the energy of the group is a performance opportunity that is so different than anything I’ve ever done.
Gabby: Boston Crusaders 2018 production, S.O.S is my favorite. The show itself is very challenging and has made me work a lot to be able to achieve some of the standards, but I’ve overcome them and it’s really rewarding to be able to perform it alongside such talented and great people!
How was this season (your age-out season) different than the others?
Riley: This season was different than last because I was able to enjoy more and I understood our traditions more. Both years were great.
Nick: It was different this go around because I was more aware of how little time I had left. It made me appreciate things a little bit more than I had in the past. I also wanted to document as much of it as I can. So I vlogged, kept a journal, took tons of pictures and in doing so I found that I put so much more thought into how I was spending my time. I spent a lot more time exploring and finding moments to capture with the incredible friends I have here rather than wasting time on my phone or sleeping. This experience has been much more wholesome and meaningful than years past.
James: This season was different because now I’m being looked at as one of the old guys around, someone that people go to for answers or advice. Previously, I felt like I was so young compared to everyone because I had started so young and there were always people older than me.
Kieran: I felt it was much easier because I had faith that I have been doing this for six years I knew what to expect and how to handle every situation.
Tevis: This season definitely brought on more responsibility. My rookie year was a lot of “figuring it out” for myself, but this year has been all about “figuring it out” for others. Each day is a new challenge, and it is fun waking up everyday with this in mind.
Max: It took me through a lot of different emotions than past years. Before, I kind of knew that all of the things I experienced would happen again. I would pick up my life for three months to go march, and real life would be put on hold. It’s kind of exciting thinking about settling into something more permanent after this summer, and that’s what a lot of the emotional journey I’ve had has been centered around.
Kait: This season was incredibly different than my others, being a front field drum major. It was really special having the opportunity to lead the corps through rehearsal and performances, especially having been in the hornline previously. I’ve been extremely challenged in the technical responsibilities of being drum major (conducting, keeping up physically), but outside of rehearsal, I’ve had the opportunity to get to get close with so many members from different captions that I probably would have never really spent time with, had I been a regular member of the hornline.
Gabby: This season was different because I approached every day knowing that it was my last opportunity to really achieve greatness and that really opened my eyes and help me appreciate each day, as opposed to just fighting to get through the days.
What is the first thing you plan to do when you get home?
Riley: When I get home, I plan on taking a long shower and then sleeping for hours after eating a big meal.
Nick: Normally I would say sleep but “a fool sleeps when he’s tired, a wise man sleeps when he can”. I plan on getting to work on some projects that I have lined up for this fall! Super exciting times ahead can’t sleep on them!
James: I’ll probably sit down with my parents over a nice home cooked meal, hopefully, chicken parm and talk about how my summer went. These five years I’ve spent with Boston have not only been an adventure for me also for my parents who have traveled around as spectators as well as volunteers. We will have a lot of memories to reflect on.
Kieran: GET MARRIED (she’s engaged to a BAC snare player!)
Tevis: Sleep for 24 hours and then get some Chick-Fil-A.
Max: Take a good shower, make a home cooked meal with friends, and enjoy an evening in on the couch with my boyfriend and his dog.
Kait: The first thing I plan to do when I get home is practice my horn! I haven’t played euphonium since I left for move-ins, since there isn’t much free time for practicing when it comes to being drum major.
Gabby: When I get home, I plan to go berry picking before the berry season ends!
Do you plan to take on another role in Drum Corps for the future (instructor, staff, etc.)?
Riley: I currently teach high school marching band, but I plan on possibly being an instructor or an admin in Drum Corps.
Nick: For sure! If the opportunity comes, I would absolutely love to join media team. My career interests are in the entertainment industry. Specifically video production and film & TV composition. So, I believe having an experience that blends my love I’ve built for Boston & drum corps over the past five years and my passions moving forward would be an incredible opportunity I can’t resist taking.
James: I would love to stay involved in drum corps in some way. I’m not quite sure what role would take, but I’d be up for any job or challenge.
Kieran: If the opportunity rises, yes.
Tevis: I would love to give back to this activity on the other side after I age out. I am hoping to teach at least a summer of drum corps in the next few years.
Max: I can most definitely see myself in an administrative position. I’m in school working on a degree in Organizational Leadership, and the practical application and sentimental value of working at my old drum corps would be something so unique and beneficial. I don’t have any official plans as of right now however to fulfill a specific roll at any specific place. It’s a little up in the air.
Kait: I hope to teach drum corps after I age out. I would love to take my experiences and share them through teaching new members. The staff members really shaped the environment every year I marched, and I would love the opportunity to positively affect a drum corps like my staff affected me.
Gabby: I would definitely consider volunteering for a weekend at Boston Crusaders or for a DCI event, and eventually as I get older look for ways to enter the activity as a staff member.