Today’s blog is a guest post from Luke Stoner, who was a member of the 2013 Bands of America Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses® Parade, as well as a Music for All Summer Symposium participant in the marching band track. We appreciate Luke sharing his story with us, and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
I remember thinking towards the end of my eighth grade year that I didn’t want to be in band anymore – quite frankly, high school band intimidated me – I didn’t think I could handle marching and playing at the same time, not to mention the challenging music played in my high school’s Wind Ensemble. Many years later, I now find myself as a member of Music for All’s Honor Band in the 2013 Tournament of Roses, a participant in the Summer Symposium camp, a member of Ohio’s All-State and District Honor Bands, and of all things, a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. I couldn’t have accomplished this on my own – I owe my success to the incredible support and education from my band director, as well as the opportunities given to me by Music for All.
My first “musical revelation,” I should say, would be when my band director showed us videos of drum corps, something I didn’t even know had existed at the time. We watched several shows, but the one that really stuck out to me was The Cavalier’s 2002 program, “Frameworks.” I was simply astounded at how clean the drill was, as well as how perfect the music was performed. It was from this moment that I wanted to be a part of something amazing.
A few months later, I saw that Music for All (I had recognized the name because of the competitions that my band attends) had released information about auditioning for an honor band – specifically, a band that marched in the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California. I was interested, so I auditioned for the band, and I had made it! I was officially a member of the Bands of America Honor Band in the 2013 Tournament of Roses. I could describe the experience in its entirety, but it would go on far too long – rest assured, it was one of the most amazing experiences I could’ve asked for.
After I returned, since it was my junior year of high school, I began thinking more about drum corps, and decided that I needed to work on my skills with playing a baritone. I decided to attend Music for All’s Summer Symposium on the marching track to accomplish this. The instruction I received was great, and I felt that I was a much better player towards the end of camp. But there came a twist – towards the end of camp, staff from The Cavaliers, the corps in residence for the camp, was impressed by my work, and told me to audition for a spot at the corps – I was in shock.
As soon as I returned home, I looked up some etudes online, submitted an audition tape, and my dream had come true – I was a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. I left the very next week, flying into Kansas City, Missouri, to meet up with the rest of the corps. My time with the corps, as well as my time with Music for All, was eye opening. Every performance I was at, there was a life I was changing – someone who, like myself, wants to be in one of these programs. It’s through all of these experiences I’ve had that I realize the importance of music education in people’s lives, and that there truly should be “music for all.”
La Salle High School
2013 Member of the BOA Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses® Parade
2013 Member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps