2015 Local Corps Member – Anna Hirsch

2015 Local Corps Member: Anna Hirsch

Performing Corps: The Cadets

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Newburgh, IN native Anna Hirsch and The Cadets will be in Evansville in less than 24 hours! Anna is a very recent 2015 graduate of Castle HS, and a brand-new color guard member of the 10-time world champion Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps of Allentown, PA.

Despite her young age, Anna has been riding high in the color guard world! She was a member of the three-time Class A State Champion Castle Winterguard, and despite being a rookie member of the Cadets guard this summer, she is already spinning rifle, flag, AND sabre in the show! Anna said she’s always been a fan of the the Cadets, but marching with them just “seemed like a dream since I fell in love with them on opening night last year at Ben Davis.”

Anna’s favorite saying is “Color guard is love, color guard is life,” and she’s thrilled to be experiencing this every day with the Cadets. But she also recognizes a number of caring mentors who helped her along her current path, including Sharon & Ron Ryles, Joni Miller, JD Opel, and Joe Martinez (as well as her parents!) “Without them, I would not have been able to experience drum corps,” she said.

Anna will attend University of Southern Indiana this fall, but not before she travels with the Cadets to about 25 additional cities across America through the course of the summer, culminating at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis. Will it be championship *11* for the Cadets in August?? Come see Anna and The Cadets spin through their compelling “The Power of Ten” production in Reitz Bowl — and find out what the buzz is all about! All the best for a fantastic summer, Anna!

2015 Local Corps Member – Blake Patton

2015 Local Corps Member: Blake Patton

Performing Corps: Spirit of Atlanta

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As the clock ticks down to DRUMS on the OHIO this Wednesday, Blake Patton of Maceo, KY finds himself getting nearer and nearer to home…Patton was just interviewed in an article in today’s Evansville Courier & Press, and he’s ready to return to Reitz Bowl for his home show!

Blake is 21 years old and currently attends Murray State University where he studies graphic design, and is a 2012 graduate of Daviess County High School in Owensboro. In 2013, Blake marched with Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, and he’s spent the past two summers with Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps — serving this summer as trumpet section leader.

When not out on the road with Spirit of Atlanta, Blake stays busy instructing and writing drill for multiple groups, including Tuscola HS, Royalty Independent Percussion, William Penn HS, Clarksville Audio Theater, Mayfield HS, Hammond High Magnet School and KWC Impact Percussion.

As he said in the June 21 Courier and Press article, Blake is really happy to be performing nearer to home, as friends and family usually have to travel hours to see Spirit in action. “I’m looking forward to performing in front of a SOLD OUT crowd at DOTO, so everyone needs to come!” he said. “This year Spirit of Atlanta will definitely be a year we turn some heads..that’s all I have to say!”

You can catch Blake and Spirit of Atlanta rehearsing Wed & Thurs at Bosse HS in Evansville, and performing WED night in Reitz Bowl at Drums on the Ohio! Have a great age out summer, Blake!

2015 Local Corps Member – Benjamin Lay

2015 Local Corps Member: Benjamin Lay

Performing Corps: Music City Drum and Bugle Corps

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Benjamin Lay of Sturgis, KY, is spending the summer marching with the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps of Nashville, TN! Ben is currently a music education major at Campbellsville University, and graduated from Union County HS in 2014.

In his rookie season with Music City, Ben is a member of the euphonium section — “it’s a very cohesive family that I’m glad to be a part of!” he said. Ben has also been a past member of community bands in Newburgh, Henderson, & Owensboro, and performed on trombone in the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Ben was also a member of our Star Spangled Banner ensemble performing at last year’s DRUMS on the OHIO, when he decided that he was ready to take the next step and audition for a corps. And he is glad he did! “I’m truly excited for my first summer with Music City…so far it’s been hard. But very rewarding.”

Ben plans to use his drum corps experience to further his teaching and leadership skills, and hopes to inspire others towards the activity just like he was in the summer of 2014. “I just think drum corps is a wonderful activity,” he said, adding that he may be one of the first members of his high school to march in a DCI corps. He hopes his leadership “will encourage the kids there now that anything is possible with hard work, regardless of where you come from.”

Fans & friends can see Ben and Music City perform their 2015 production “The Planets” on Fri July 24 in Murfreesboro, TN, and of course at the DCI championships in Indianapolis in August. Have a wonderful summer, Ben! Union County is lucky to have you.

2015 Local Corps Member – Ethan Wilkinson

2015 Local Corps Member: Ethan Wilkinson

Performing Corps: Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps

905636_890076181065216_4474308133228747810_oNewburgh’s Ethan Wilkinson is yet another local musician who is marching with Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps this summer! He is a 2015 graduate of Castle HS and is marching his rookie drum corps season in the Troopers mellophone line.

Ethan first attended DRUMS on the OHIO two years ago and discovered that drum corps can sound VERY different than a high school marching band! “Since the return of Drums on the Ohio, I have always been anxious to attend the shows and be mesmerized by the sights and loud sounds of the corps,” he said. “The 2015 season is my chance to impact the crowd the same way since I discovered the activity.”

Ethan chose the Troopers “because of the history, and to be in a brass line that plays with passion,” he said. Ethan is also pretty passionate about education, and will attend Ball State University next fall to study music education. He credits “all of his high school band directors” and horn teacher Art Adye with making him the musician he is today: “I am confident that with their teachings, my studies in college, and the experience of drum and bugle corps I will have the capacity to reach and achieve all of my goals.”

The Troopers (and Ethan) performed their competitive season debut Friday, June 19 at DCI Louisville, and then will embark on a summer tour that will take them up to Boston, out to Wyoming, through Texas and the South…back through the Midwest…BACK up to Boston and the Northeast, and finally return to Indianapolis in August for the DCI championships. Have a great summer, Ethan…we can’t wait to hear that Troopers brass line!

2015 Local Corps Member – Roy Stewart

2015 Local Corps Member: Roy Stewart

Performing Corps: Music City Drum and Bugle Corps

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As the DCI season “officially” opens, Roy Stewart of Flora, IL, is hard at work at spring training in Nashville with Music City Drum and Bugle Corps. A 2014 graduate of Flora HS and currently studying music education at Olney Central College, Roy is performing in the Music City euphonium line in his rookie drum corps summer!

Roy says he really appreciates the “fantastic” family atmosphere that Music City cultivates, and that encouraged him to become a member of the corps. “The members and staff treat everyone with respect and are in general great people to be around.” he said. “Music City just has that southern hospitality feel!”

Roy was previously honored as a two-time member of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2012 & 2013. He credits his success to his music teachers all the way back from elementary school to the collegiate level: “Thanks you so much Mrs. Dowden, Mr. K., Mrs. Strong, Mrs. Hudson, Mr and Mrs. Downes! You guys are awesome! I couldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for you directors!”


You can catch Roy & Music City performing in Murfreesboro, TN on Fri July 24, and of course at the DCI championships in August in Indianapolis. Best of luck & have a great summer, Roy!

2015 Local Corps Member – Brian Reel

2015 Local Corps Member: Brian Reel

Performing Corps: Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps

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Marching mellophone with the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps is Newburgh’s Brian Reel. Brian graduated in May from Castle HS, and has been at spring training in Lebanon, IN ever since! He’ll attend Ball State University next fall, majoring in music education.

This is Brian’s first season marching drum corps, and it has apparently been a goal of his since “the first day I marched on the parking lot at Castle High School” with directors Faril Bunner, Mark Eifler, and Tom Dean. He feels that it is a real honor marching with the Casper, WY-based Troopers, with their distinguished history and traditions within DCI. Brian says “it has been a lot of hard work, but it is really exciting putting together the ‘Wild Horses’ show.”

Fans may have caught the live broadcast of the Troopers dress rehearsal, and it sounds like the team from Wyoming is in fantastic shape! Have a great summer, Brian!

2015 Local Corps Member – Kari Keeley

2015 Local Corps Member: Kari Keeley

Performing Corps: Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps

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Kari Keeley is marching in the mellophone line of Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps in her rookie year, and is obviously loving every minute! She’s a 2013 graduate of Jasper HS and currently attends Vincennes University majoring in Health Information Management.

Kari was inspired to march partly by her dad, Jasper band director Patrick Keeley, “after being my band director and then hearing all the stories from when he marched in Star of Indiana in ’86 really motivated me to want to march.” Kari’s mom, it turns out, also marched in Star of Indiana in ’88.

A sense of family played a major role in where Kari decided to spend her summer: “I chose the Troopers because of how they made me feel when I attended camp,” she said. “Before I was even a contracted member, the people next to me treated me like they had known me for years.”

As for Kari, “this season will be the first time I will be marching since 2012!” Kari and the Troopers are ready to blaze a path to the DCI championships with their new program “Wild Horses.” Have a great summer, Kari!

2015 Local Corps Member – Hayden McClure

2015 Local Corps Member: Hayden McClure

Performing Corps: Blue Stars

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Hayden McClure of Vincennes, IN is spending his fourth year with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. This season, Hayden has the incredible honor of serving as drum major, after serving as mellophone section leader in 2014. Hayden is a junior at the University of Evansville where he studies saxophone and majors in music education. In the Fall, Hayden keeps himself busy by working with the Vincennes Lincoln “Pride of the Green” and the Forest Park “Marching Rangers.”

As drum major of the corps, Hayden is not only a conductor, but plays an active role in managing the corps membership 24/7. “With the hornline leadership position, I was only responsible for the mellophone section, making sure that I was always being a model member for them to emulate,” he said. “In my new role, I am now responsible for the entire corps.”

Hayden also works closely with the corps management and instructional staff as drum major. “It’s very interesting that in my new role, I not only get to work with the hornline’s instructional staff, but alongside the front ensemble and battery staff as well.” The educator in him enjoys “rubbing elbows” with these elite DCI-level instructors. “I am the type of person that likes to watch others teach, and I find that part really enjoyable when working with other sections across the entire corps,” he said.

The Blue Stars have finished up spring training in Iowa and are headed back up to LaCrosse, WI, to finish out the final week before the DCI summer tour begins! Best of luck Hayden, we can’t wait to see you on the podium this summer!

2015 Local Corps Member – Corey Hatfield

2015 Local Corps Member: Corey Hatfield

Performing Corps: Phantom Regiment

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Evansville Westsider Corey Hatfield  is currently in spring training with Phantom Regiment up in Rockford, IL! A 2014 graduate of F.J. Reitz HS, Corey is a tuba player and music education major at Iowa State University. This summer marks Corey’s third season in the powerful Phantom Regiment contra line.

Last year around this time, Corey was ready to bring the Regiment back to Evansville and march in his home show…THIS summer, the Regiment is heading out to California for the west coast DCI tour.

Corey says Phantom’s show this year “City of Light” is based on the music of Paris and is styled as “more of a concept show” than the story-line shows of the past few years. “I am very excited for new staff and a different style of show,” he said. “The horn line has been working very hard… this summer is going to really be something special!”

Have a great summer and California tour — we’ll see you back in the Midwest in July and August!

2015 Local Corps Member – Austin Armstrong

2015 Local Corps Member: Austin Armstrong

Performing Corps: Madison Scouts

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Local trumpeter Austin Armstrong is having the summer of his life as a first year member of the Madison Scouts! Austin is currently up at spring training up in Trafalgar, IN…somewhere between Bloomington and Indianapolis. He’s a 2014 graduate of Jasper HS, currently studying music education at Murray State University.

Austin says he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now. “I wanted to march because I’ve always loved marching music, and I wanted to take it to the next level. I saw my first DCI show in 2011 at MTSU and I have been hooked ever since!” He said the Madison Scouts perfectly match what he was looking for in a drum corps: “I auditioned for Madison because I felt connected there. I am an Eagle Scout, and the ideals of the Madison Scouts are something I can be proud of and carry with me for the rest of my life!”

While we’ll miss having the fan-favorite Scouts at DRUMS on the OHIO this year, you can see Austin & his comrades perform at a couple of nearby early season shows in Indianapolis and Muncie, IN. And we’re very confident we’ll see the Scouts back at DOTO in the years to come! Have a great summer, Austin, best of luck!