The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Senior Adam Frederick is taking SLOHS Music and Marching Band into the summer.


Senior Adam Frederick plays mellophone on the competition field. Photo courtesy of photographer Tim Andriese.

  San Luis Obispo High School is home to students with a variety of interesting hobbies and crafts.

For senior Adam Frederick, music and marching band plays a large role in his life. His dedication to the mastery of his instrument and skillset led him to audition for an open class drum corps called the Santa Clara Vanguard for the summer of 2022.

Expressions interviewed Frederick to get a more in depth understanding of his experience and love for music. 

Expressions: What is Drum Corps International?

Senior Adam Frederick: DCI, or Drum Corps International, is the organization that runs, supports and regulates the summer competitive season of marching shows across the United States. In short, Drum Corps is a professional marching band consisting of only brass instruments and drums, hence the complete name “Drum and Bugle Corps.” The summer competitive season consists of a combination of about 85 shows, performances, and competitions for the world class groups. The tour generally starts in either the west coast or the east coast in late June, moving towards the central United States throughout July, culminating at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana where all the corps attending compete in the “prelims” for a one spot of 24 in the semifinals. Then, the top 12 go to finals where the winner is announced. The season starts in October or November of the previous year with first round auditions, and the members are usually set in January or February. 

Expressions: What instrument do you play?

Frederick: I play mellophone, and each group usually has 16.

Expressions: What do you enjoy about mellophone?

Frederick: Mellophone is so exciting because of the lines of music written for it. Mellophones in Drum Corps are regarded as some of the most technically capable and versatile instruments in the brass section. The sound one can produce can be soft and delicate or loud and technical. This could be said about any instrument, though; However, because of the ratio of the size of the mouthpiece to the bell size, and the conical nature of the instrument (as compared to cylindrical) allows the sound produced to be rich and different than that of any other instrument in the group.

Expressions: Why did you decide to audition for DCI?

Frederick: I auditioned for Drum Corps because of my love for music and the excitement I experienced in high school marching band. I first heard of Drum Corps in 2018, and as soon as I watched my first show I knew it was something I wanted to do. 

Expressions: What was your experience like last summer?

Frederick: My experience last summer was amazing. I started in Denair, California in early June, spending three weeks there during what’s called “spring training.” This is where we learn the music, drill and how to play and march as an ensemble. Our tour took us through California, doing shows every couple of days at colleges such as Fresno State, Sacramento State, and Stanford. In mid July we left California and traveled by bus through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa where we had a couple shows. Then, the following weeks were spent in Illinois getting ready for championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. Performing in Lucas Oil stadium, a professional football stadium, for a crowd of twenty to twenty-five thousand people is an experience I cannot say is similar to anything else besides pro-level sports. In open class, we ended up winning our seventh gold medal with a score of 83.55, the highest score our corps had ever received in history.

Expressions: What are your plans with DCI for this summer?

Frederick: This summer I am marching with the Sacramento Mandarins. Last summer I marched with the Vanguard Cadets, which is an open class group, usually consisting of 16-19 year olds. This year I am marching in world class, which usually consists of 17-22 year olds. This means the tour is 85 days long as compared to about 55 last year. My intention this year was to march with the Santa Clara Vanguard, the “big brother” to the Vanguard Cadets. This year, however, because of the huge rise in costs of food, fuel, and housing, the organization had to put both of their groups on a hiatus until they could recuperate from last year’s doubled-from-expected costs.

  The cost of participating in a world class corps is around five-thousand dollars per individual, so Frederick is accepting sponsorships on the Sacramento Mandarins website. Click the link below, enter the name Adam Frederick, select brass, and use the email address [email protected] to help support Frederick’s expenses.

Frederick has a long and strenuous, but hopefully exciting, summer ahead of him, and Expressions wishes him the best of luck!

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