Marching On

Color guard members join a competitive drum corps


Christi Hamilton

Seniors Juliann Page and Sophie Malis pose by the Troopers’ bus. They posted this photo to social media to announce that they were contracted with the drum corps.

As the end of the school year approaches, seniors spend the last days of their high school career daydreaming about their summer, whether it be shopping for the most aesthetically pleasing dorm decor or taking a roadtrip to a beach. For seniors Juliann Page and Sophie Malis, their summer plans include rehearsing and performing as color guard members of the Troopers drum corps in a nationwide marching band tour.

The Troopers are a competitive World Class drum and bugle corps composed of members between the ages of 16 and 21. Throughout the summer, the group competes in marching band contests against the other 23 World Class drum corps before ending the season at the Drum Corps International World Championship Finals on August 10 -12. Page and Malis were two of the 8,000 students in the nation to earn a spot on a drum corps.

We went to three different [audition] camps, and got contracted at the second camp,” Page said. “For color guard, you learn a dance, a flag routine, a rifle routine and a saber routine. On the third day, you get put into small groups, and it’s like an actual audition where you go in and perform for [the directors]. By the end of the camp they tell you if you were contracted.”

Both Page and Malis were interested in the traveling aspect of joining a drum corps and were encouraged to audition for the Troopers by their color guard director, Cody Newill, who will be working with the Troopers this summer.

“When we saw SCV [Santa Clara Vanguard] rehearse, I was like, ‘I want to do that,’” Malis said. “Also, we were talking to this one guy who said that doing one summer of drum corp prepares you to do anything that you want in life. So, I wanted to join a drum corps to build up stamina, physically and mentally.”

Both seniors will leave before the last two weeks of school to travel to Indiana to begin training with the Troopers for one month. After the intensive training camp, their competitive tour will last from the last week of June until August 12. Their only break during their time with the Troopers will be for three days, so they can attend their graduation ceremony.

“We’re missing out on the fun stuff like senior pinning and senior Six Flags day,” Page said. “But joining the Troopers is worth it because you can do whatever you want to do after drum corps because you can force yourself to do anything. It teaches you willpower. At the last camp we got really tight with some other girls, and I’m really excited to form good friendships over the summer.”

As their departure date gets closer, Newill said he is excited to watch them grow as performers through their time with the Troopers.

“I’m extremely proud,” Newill said. “I’ve watched them grow for two years. It’s awesome that they’re pursuing color guard after high school and growing the activity. They deserve where they are and they are amazing.”