Martinez tours the country with Drum Corps International

Martinez+tours+the+country+with+Drum+Corps+International

This past summer, one exceptional student from Fauquier High School made the cut to join the Drum Corps International Tour, a marching band that traveled the U.S. playing in shows and competitions in various big name cities. Junior Alex Martinez spent over 2 months with the group learning about band and the realities of how it works.
“We’re basically just a band on a tour bus. We did competitions at High Schools and big football stadiums,” Martinez said.
Alex Martinez plays the euphonium for Fauquier’s marching band, and has only been playing since his sophomore year. Even though he has only been playing for a short time, Martinez has already developed enough skill to play at such a high level. Martinez had to go through an application, and audition just to get a spot.
“My friend Mason did it last year and told me about it, and he told me there was a hole I could probably fill, and I said let’s go for it,” Martinez said. “I was not confident whatsoever. I wasn’t confident because of lack of skill, I’ve only been playing for a year.”
To be selected for the group, Martinez had to try out for his spot. He went through various tests to see how he would compare with such a talented group.
“I signed up for a membership, signed up for the camp fee, then I went to their place in New Jersey and they saw how I was with the band playing wise, how I could march, how I looked visually, and then they take you out and hear you play,” Martinez said. “The next day I found out that I was contracted for the summer.”
Once Martinez was selected to join, he met up with the other 150 members to prepare for the journey. There they began their vigorous training.  
“We were in New Jersey for 2 days, then we went to Pennsylvania for most of Spring training where we get physically and mentally ready for it all,” Martinez said. “Training wise, we do 3 weeks of spring training, which are basically the hardest days, because instead of being on the bus for 1 day, it’s just 3 weeks of getting up doing practice and all of that hard stuff.”
After the band started the trip, they began a cycle of driving to a city, stopping, playing, then moving on again.
“We traveled as far as Texas, we went pretty south like Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, we finished finals week in Indiana,” Martinez said. “When we stopped we would have a rehearsal day or two, then we would have the show day.”
Practicing with such a highly talented group allowed Martinez to build skills he could take back to Fauquier with him. Playing with this skill level also allowed Martinez to see the differences with the school’s band.
“I learned that it’s all mental, you learn how hard you can push yourself and get up and do the same thing over and over again,” Martinez said. “It actually sounded good when we played. It’s a lot different from the school’s band just because of the size alone. Also the age gap was different because it was a lot of twenty year olds.”
Traveling with such a large group over this amount of time led to Martinez forming bonds and friendships with the other members.
“Playing with these people is indescribable, because you see them everyday,” Martinez said. “You’re going through some of the hardest days of your life, and they’re always there for you, and you’re there for them.”
~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director