BY HALEY HODGES
Rob Clark, a sophomore studying advertising with a minor in music, spent his summer in the sweltering heat as a part of the Legends Drum and Bugle Corps located in Kalamazoo, MI.
“Throughout high school I was a really big band geek. I loved marching band, it was my favorite,” Clark said. “My senior year of marching band I ended up being the drum major. My band director, when he realized I was interested in being drum major recommended I check out some drum corps videos to get an idea of what style of conducting he wanted. I was like ‘Okay,’ and I didn’t (watch the videos).”
“Well after the season, I remembered what he said and wanted to check them out to see what it was. It was (some of) the most amazing marching bands I had ever seen … I kind of became obsessed with that for, you know, forever,” Clark said. “I was watching a bunch of YouTube videos of different corps and one day I realized there weren’t any clarinets on the field and I was like ‘What’s going on?.’ I went and researched the specific corps and found out they were all brass … The next morning, I was in my band director’s office asking if I could borrow one of the baritones to learn on.”
Clark followed that passion starting last year when he went through the long and strenuous audition process.
Clark said he received a call back at his first audition camp and was contacted at his second then went to training camps once a month in preparation.
From there, Clark did move-ins as a part of spring training.
“That’s a schedule where it’s twelve hours a day in four-hour chunks for like a month,” Clark said. “Usually about every eight to ten days you’ll have a laundry day which is really nice because on a laundry day, you only have two four-hour rehearsal blocks and then the whole corps goes to a laundromat and a Walmart. The thing is, since we’ve been wearing sweaty, disgusting, athletic clothes for like a week, (everyone) dresses up. I’m talking like business casual, at the least, and we’re all just doing laundry. We all dress up, do makeup, do hair, just to go to laundry because we’re going out in public for the first time ever. It’s seriously like a holiday.”
Throughout the summer, Clark said they were on the road touring for a show every couple of days to compete against other corps.
At the end of the season, Legends Drum and Bugle Corps had placed third in the open class with the highest placement and score in the corps’ history.
The process started for Clark back in November and culminated with the 64-day run during the summer where he said he’d spend a minimum of eight hours working every day.
“I’m interested to know how much water I drank over the summer,” Clark said. “We were running around the field all day in like triple-digit heat so I would usually drink about a gallon per rehearsal block. On average, I probably drank about four gallons or more per day.”
Clark plays the euphonium in Drake’s marching band and plans to participate in Legends Drum and Bugle Corps again next year, this time playing the 22-pound tuba.
“I went from clarinet to euphonium to tuba,” Clark said. “The thing is, euphonium is the second biggest horn you can play. I got so used to be able to manhandle that really well I just wanted a bigger horn to be able to manhandle.”