when people don’t know you anymore. My time in Mandarins has passed, and it’s.. depressing when people don’t know you, your story, or any of the time you dedicated to the drum corps. So here is a story. My story, if anyone wants to read this.
I first learned about the Mandarins through my good friend at the time, Mason. I was very reluctant to join because I didn’t play brass, period. I was a flute player for 8 years, and was pretty good at it. Around the end of April, Mason and I went to see DCI in the theaters, and after watching some amazing shows, I instantly had a change of heart. I begged my parents for dear life. They wouldn’t budge no matter how much I said it meant to me, until I said I would pay for it through the money I had saved up for a graduation trip, as well as some additional bingos I had to work. As soon as I got their okay, I practiced my ass off on trumpet. I sucked big time for the first month or so. My first camp was May camp, and I was not prepared for the visual block. I started marching basics.. BASICS and I immediately felt like passing out after about 10 minutes of marching. As I sat on the sideline, I looked at all of these people that were already in shape, and looking studly, I felt pathetic. What I lacked in the visual aspect, I worked even harder for in my playing ability. My trumpet tech (Jim Tabuchi at the time), helped me immensely during this process. By everydays, he had every trumpet in the section play part of the ballad for the rest of the section. It got to my turn, and everyone clapped for me. Jim had nothing bad to say, and I could honestly say that that was the first time I felt that I belonged to the group. Thank god they took me on tour; I found out later that the brass staff honestly considered cutting me from the hornline, but decided not to. I also met Chris my rookie year. At the time, he had another girlfriend, but he became my best friend out of the experience, despite the endless name calling of the Weeaboo (white person who thinks they’re Japanese) variety. Mason and I’s friendship was never the same, but after quarterfinals ended. I ran to him and gave him a huge hug, thanking him for bringing me into drum corps. My whole perspective on my life changed that day.
The following year, I decided that I wanted to switch to baritone, as it is way better than playing trumpet ;) The first time I got to pick up the instrument was… audition camp. That was a new pain that I’ve never felt before. Holding up a big ass baritone.. all I wanted to do was throw it out of frustration, but I tried and I grew stronger. I was very discouraged when I got a 2, but I didn’t blame them… I mean, it was my 2nd day on the instrument. I was grateful for the callback. For the next month, I worked and worked and worked, and it definitely paid off. After April camp, Chris had told me that he and his girlfriend of a year had broken up. He seemed to be upset, and as his best friend I was there for him. It also didn’t take him very long to talk to me at June camp, and we mutually decided to date for the summer, and at the end of the summer we would decide whether or not we wanted to endure a long distance relationship. Of course, we chose to torture ourselves, but it certainly paid off. Because of drum corps, I met the love of my life. Despite many arguments, and struggles through the Mandarins with him, every minute of these past 3 1/2 years has been worth it, and I only have the Mandarins to thank. I can only look forward to the future.
I will be trying to help out with the Mandarins as much as I can. I probably can’t help much until the summer though. I want to help out the food crew this season and go on tour for 2 weeks, if not the whole tour. This is the only way I can repay the Mandarins (even though I paid them) for the life-changing experiences I’ve had through this 2nd family.