Marching to the beat of their own drums

Ben Davis students participate in drum corps


As the school year crawls to a close and the last months shrink into weeks, many Ben Davis students are looking forward to lazy, relaxing summers. For senior Kevin Salinas and senior Jacob Gay, though, work is just getting started.

Salinas and Gay are both participating in drum corps, an organization of professional-level marching bands that practice and perform during the summer. The groups are all run by a parent organization called Drum Corps International, but they plan and perfect their own shows. Salinas is a member of the Madison Scouts, and Gay is a member of the Cavaliers, separate groups that share a common trait—prestige.

“In marching band, you look up to drum corps like a football player to the NFL,” Gay said.

Before gaining entry to such a distinguished organization, Salinas and Gay had to complete a rigorous audition process, competing against other talented musicians.

“The hardest thing [about auditioning] was trying to keep up with everyone who had done it before,” Salinas said. “This will be my first season. They were at a completely different level.”

Drum corps also demands dedication and a huge time commitment. Participants have 12-hour rehearsals during the summer and attend occasional weekend camps during the school year. However, Salinas looks forward to the work that awaits him as an opportunity to improve his musical abilities.

“I hope to become the best version of myself,” Salinas said. “That can change every day because you’re always learning new things.”

Gay, who is entering his third season, agrees that the effort he puts in always pays off.

“There’s a lot of hard work, and a lot of the time it can seem kind of tough,” Gay said. “But when you get to perform in front of all those people getting out of their chairs, screaming for you, it makes everything worth it.”

Students interested in seeing Salinas and Gay perform can come to the Drum Corps International season premiere at Ben Davis on June 18.