“In 2011 when my high school marching band went to a show at the end of our band camp, the very first thing I saw was a crumpled baritone fly across the sky as the Cadets came onto the field. It was wild, and I loved it.”
That was Bryan Butora, five summers before he would eventually take the field as a Bluecoat and win the title of DCI World Champion. Bryan is a sophomore Music Education major at the University of Louisville. This summer, he will march his 3rd season with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, and he is currently in his rookie year as a part of the Rhythm X Visual Ensemble. His story starts out like most. He fell in love with Drum Corps after seeing it live. During his senior year of high school, he auditioned for his dream group completely expecting to get cut, but managed to fight for a spot. After spending his first summer on tour, he began the Music Education journey. This is where we pick up his story.
I had the opportunity to teach alongside Bryan at local Kentucky high school this fall. Immediately upon arrival, kids were already coming to our car. He was a local celebrity of sorts, but used this platform to push the students to a higher level. They believed in what he said because they saw the great things he accomplished; in this way, he was encouraging them to be their own kind of great.
Bryan often talks about his disbelief at getting his first Bluecoats contract, but it is a testament to the importance of motivating students. Many upper-level Drum Corps see smaller attendances at camps due to the fact that kids don't think they are on that level, when in fact, they are only stopping themselves from having the opportunity to be. It's educators like Bryan that have the opportunity to spark the courage and confidence in students to take that first step.
He leaves us with this,
“There is no stopping your own motivation. If you want to go for your dream corps, then go for it. Always preserve that feeling that you have when you watch that corps perform, and use that to push yourself every day towards your goal. If you get cut, that's not the end of your journey, it's just the beginning. Drum corps isn't about medals or placements, it's about discovering a new version of yourself and finding a place that you can call your home.”