Representation Matters

While I thought about what I wanted to write, a bunch of ideas crossed my mind. I could write about when my best friend Rachel (now a fellow board member) brought me to see a drum corps rehearsal for the first time (I even remember the Taco bell we had after); or, I could write about how the friends I hold closest to my heart are all people I met through drum corps. I decided to share with you my first world class audition experience.

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              When I was 19, I hadn’t done much on my own. Sure, I was going to college but even there, you’re not quite on your own. As a sophomore, I wasn’t sure of many things in my life. But, I did know two things: I wanted to be an athletic trainer, and I was determined to march with the Boston Crusaders. Since I was living in Massachusetts, my November audition was in the Boston Area. I knew I was going to be too nervous to drive myself to the audition, so I stayed at a friend’s house the night before and she dropped me off in the morning. I was beyond nervous when I got to the school. I listened to one song on repeat to stay relaxed. There were about seven people auditioning for the color guard, with only one returning member there—and to put it nicely, she was intimidating. I tried not to worry about her much, and I continued to do my best. At the end of the day, I was thrilled to get a call back and I couldn’t get home soon enough to book my flight to Florida in April. When you’re five months away it is easy to say to yourself, “of course it will work out just fine, no worries.” It wasn’t until the date started getting closer that I thought about the fact that I’ve never flown alone. I was utterly terrified! “Wait, I’m supposed to hop on a plane to go to a place I’ve never been before, get picked up by a stranger, and be around a bunch of random people?” Not ideal. Then I thought about why I was going and what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to be a Boston Crusader and I was ready to do anything for it. The day had finally come, the same friend dropped me off at the airport, and I was on my way. Once I landed in Tampa, I was filled with just as much excitement as fear.  I arrived significantly earlier than my shuttle pick-up time, so I explored the airport in the hopes of finding someone that looked just as lost as me. During my wanderings, I saw a girl going up the escalator wearing a Boston Crusaders hat.

This was my chance! I can meet someone and have a friend going into the unknown. I followed her up the escalator and caught up to her at the top. I tapped her on the shoulder with my sweaty palms and asked if she was going to the auditions. With a cheerful smile she replied, “yes!” and she introduced herself. She wasn’t auditioning, but she was the sabre tech. I sat with her and had a light meal before it was time for the shuttle when it clicked: I was minutes away from achieving one of my dreams. Once we arrived at the housing site, I was overwhelmed with the same anxiety I felt at my November audition. Although much of that weekend was a blur (I don’t remember the counts I spun or the across the floors we did), I do remember the moment I observed all the people auditioning for the color guard. Where I am from, I didn’t have opportunities to spin with many people, especially women of color, and I was shocked when I saw who was auditioning. There was this huge group of people that were as driven as me towards attaining this goal—and the best part was so many of them looked like me. With the people that I met that weekend and later performed with, I learned to be more comfortable and confident in myself. From that weekend, I truly understood how much representation matters. For most of my life, I didn’t see many people who looked like me that were all about band, and I couldn’t imagine the impact it made on me throughout the rest of my life.