Why I Volunteer: Sal Nicrone

Sal Nicrone marched Drum Corps in the early 1970’s with The Chessmen in Easton, PA, and
then with the Hawthorne Muchachos in New Jersey. They were fun years and he made friendships that he still has to this day.

“When I was living in Pennsylvania my wife and I volunteered with the Cadets and C2. We also volunteered with the Reading Buccaneers, a DCA corp, where our nephew marched for two years. We made many friends as volunteers with drum corps who we are still in contact with to this day.

When we moved to California in 2014 after I retired, we wanted to continue to help with the drum corps activity. I had seen the Pacific Crest Drum Corps perform at DCI East in Allentown, so when we moved west I contacted Ed Martin to see if they needed help in their food truck, and he said yes, they were always in need of volunteers. My wife and I attended our first camp in January of 2015, and it was a good fit.

It is a pleasure to work with all the great volunteers at PC, but it is the passion and drive of the students that brings me back week after week. They push their bodies week in and week out to improve the show, from California to Indianapolis, and give up their entire summer to entertain drum corps fans. That is what drives me to provide four meals a day for the students who work from sunrise to sunset to put on their best performance night after night.

It doesn’t matter what corps you work with. They all need volunteers to step up and pitch in. A number of the people at Pacific Crest — like myself — do not have a child actively marching in corps, but they still show up and give their time.

My hope is that parents of corps members for the 2017 season will consider volunteering a few hours every other week or once a month to help with uniforms or with food service.The students really appreciate you being there, and they show great respect to the volunteers.

So if you have some time to help Pacific Crest get down the road this summer, we would love to see you, and will be happy to show you around and put you to work!!”

For more information about volunteering for Pacific Crest, click here.

Performer Profile: Paulina Laroya

Paulina Laroya joined Pacific Crest in 2015. After taking a year off, she returned for the 2017 season. Paulina is a member of our color guard and a student at UC Riverside.

Tell us about your background and family.
My hometown is Quezon City, Philippines, and I was raised there as an only child until I was five years old. When my family immigrated to America, we moved to SoCal and have been living here ever since!

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
I always knew I wanted to join drum corps, but I didn’t always know that it was something I actually would or could do. I learned about Pacific Crest when I first watched DCI: Big, Loud, and Live in the movie theaters back in 2010, and I still remember that Pacific Crest’s name was the one that incited the most cheers in the audience. Naturally, it got me curious about PC and I started to learn more and more about it. I auditioned and got contracts for other corps the year before my rookie year, but it just didn’t feel right to me. When I came to PC, it did.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
Marching with Pacific Crest has meant so much more to me than I could possibly describe. One of my all-time favorite memories while marching has to be when we visited Rome, New York, and the corps played for Jean Joseph, an elderly woman who PC plays for every time we’re in the city. To be a part of that tradition was already such an honor, but to see her reaction, and to feel the love and sense of community when we were sitting on her front lawn was so amazing. I love those moments that make you look around at the people you spend your summer with and think, “this is why we do it.” It’s moments like these on tour when you realize how much you joy can bring to other people simply by doing something you love that make it all worth it.

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
For a long time, I thought I was going to be one of those people that would choose their career plans and goals over color guard. That wasn’t necessarily an idea I was content with, but I kind of gave in to the notion that I need to spend my summers doing internships to be successful. I realized during my rookie season that this was not the case. Although I took one year off, I decided I just love PC too much to not come back for my age out. I’m graduating from college in March 2017 and deciding to pursue this huge passion of mine instead of clamoring and trying to find a job, so it’s obvious that PC has made a huge impact on my overall future path, and I’m so happy that this is the path that I decided to take.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
I don’t know if I’m actually capable of expressing how lucky I feel to have such great people around me that support my love for color guard. When I first started guard, no one in my family knew what it really was — they didn’t fully know why I couldn’t come to a relative’s baby shower because i had a Saturday rehearsal, or why I couldn’t come to a friend’s birthday party on a championship weekend, or why we had to schedule a trip to my home country around summer band camp — but they accepted it because they understood how much this activity means to me. I appreciate that so much. And to be on a team full of amazing and encouraging people makes everything a thousand times better.

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Pacific Crest is a home that you will not be able to find anywhere else. When I joined PC, I hadn’t performed or done anything guard-related for over two years. When I came back, PC reminded me how much I love to perform on the world’s biggest stages. I was able to grow in ways that I didn’t think I could, especially within just two months. I feel like I can come back to visit PC years after I age out and still feel like home — and there’s nothing that can beat the amazing feeling of hearing Ave Maria while being surrounded by PC alumni and members.

Performer Profile: Hayden Ford

Hayden Ford joined Pacific Crest in 2016. The 2017 season will be his second season as a trumpet player. Hayden is a student at CSU Long Beach.

Tell us about your background and family.
Though I was born in San Diego, California, I grew up in Redondo Beach. I have one older sister named Hannah.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
All throughout high school I played the clarinet, but at the beginning of my senior year it dawned on me that I would never be able to march again unless I learned to play a brass instrument in drum corps. From that moment I made it my goal to learn to play the trumpet and join Pacific Crest. I chose Pacific Crest because it was a local drum corps, and I had friends who had joined in previous years.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
The 2016 summer with Pacific Crest was the most meaningful experience I’ve ever had. First of all it taught me the true meaning of dedication and accountability. It showed me how much inner strength I truly had inside me, and how much of that inner strength would be needed to get up every morning and be the best I could for the sake of the corps. The most amazing part about marching drum corps is the close bond you build with every single one of the members. At the beginning of the season I was reluctant to go on tour with 149 random people, but by the end of the season, I was reluctant to go home and leave my 149 newly found brothers and sisters.

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
Pacific Crest has had an incredible impact on my ability to play music, and I truly believe this is because it’s taught me how to put every ounce of my being into every performance. Though I am currently studying Chemical Engineering at California State University Long Beach and do not plan to pursue music as a career, I plan to play music forever, and my lessons at Pacific Crest will always follow me for the rest of my life.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
I have always had a strong love for music, but drum corps has that love. And in addition to that, I have discovered some of my closest friends in my first season of drum corps.

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Pacific Crest is an amazing program, and is accepting of anyone and everyone! As a member, you are guaranteed to make a new family and to have the time of your life. For those still eligible to march, please do. Though it will be the most difficult and stressful time of your life, you will earn 149 new family members and you won’t regret the experience.

Performer Profile: Michelle Ho

MIchelle-Ho-01Michelle Ho joined Pacific Crest 2016. The 2017 season will be her second season as a mellophone player.

Tell us about your background and family.
My hometown is Redondo Beach, California, but I was born in Harbor City, California. I have one older sister named Jennifer.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
I joined Pacific Crest because I had been interested in drum corps for a couple of years, and Pacific Crest was one of the closest drum corps near me. I learned about PC when one of the upperclassmen in my band marched here.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
I have learned the power of having so many people unified toward one goal. Some days during tour I wanted nothing more than to sleep the day away, but the daily goal of musical excellence kept me going and I ended up having the greatest summer of my life. I met some amazing friends and extraordinary staff along the way. My life changed dramatically because now I know that there is a music path for me after high school. The best parts of the experience were the bonds I created with new friends and the amazing staff, who taught me so much, in the span of a couple of months.

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
Through perseverance and hard work, a goal shared by many people can be met. I plan to spend many summers performing drum corps, touring the country, visiting too many states and towns to keep track of, and practicing in sweltering heat.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
My journey to Pacific Crest would not have been possible if not for my friends and family who supported me through out the entire process of auditioning and completing my first tour.

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Fantastic staff, friends, and food (eternal thanks to K-Crew for keeping us well fed) can all be found at Pacific Crest. If you don’t think you’ll make it, try out anyway. I know I felt exactly the same way when I tried out, and here I am, writing a Performer Profile and going into my second year at Pacific Crest. If you don’t try out for Pacific Crest, try out somewhere else. As the cliche goes, “Nothing ventured nothing gained”. You may be surprised on where it gets you.

Why I Volunteer: Kay Bratton

KayBrattonWhyIVolunteer-02
Kay Bratton already had several years of drum corps volunteer experience prior to joining the Pacific Crest support staff. Though her daughter aged out of Pacific Crest in 2016, Kay plans to return for the 2017 season.

“I’ll be perfectly honest, when my first child started marching drum corps, I wanted to volunteer to make sure the members in his corps were being taken care of properly – eating well and being cared for. I found a group of enthusiastic and capable people who were working towards a common goal: Taking care of our kids.

There were new parents like myself as well as veteran volunteers who had been doing the job for several years. Some had children in the corps and others came back each year because they loved the activity so much. My time was spent on the food truck (with occasional uniform duty), and there were wonderful veteran volunteers that helped me learn what to do. I had no idea how to fix a meal for 200 people (four times a day)! Once I got the hang of it, I kept coming back!

My first summer I volunteered for 10-days; my second summer was a month. The last three summers I have been able to do the whole summer. It is really gratifying to see the members everyday and hear their “Thank You” every time they go through the food line. (And you do get a glimpse of your own child every once in a while.)

It is also very exciting to watch a show come together and see how hard these young people work to achieve their goals – not to mention getting into the shows for free!

In 2016, my daughter moved to Pacific Crest for her age-out season. I followed her as a volunteer, and I have to say, PC really takes care of their volunteers! It is hard work, but never did I feel unappreciated.

Even though my daughter aged out, I am planning to come back this summer and volunteer again. I have made life-long friends through this activity and I encourage anyone who is considering it to give it a try. You won’t be sorry!”

For more information about volunteering for Pacific Crest, click here.

Performer Profile: Matthew Shippey

m-shippey-01Matthew Shippey first performed with Pacific Crest in 2016. The 2017 season will be his second as a member of the snare line.

Tell us about your background and family.
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I have 3 older siblings, 2 brothers and one sister. Their names are Mike, Sara, and Brian.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
My high school instructor is a vet of Pacific Crest and wanted me to go audition for the 2015 season. And as it was my first time auditioning I was super nervous; however, after that audition I have grown to love drum corps, and it pushed me to audition for this amazing world class organization.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
Pacific Crest has changed my life for the better. It was one of the best experiences of my life because I’ve never been pushed to my limit giving it all on a field with 149 brothers and sisters who care about each other. We’re all a big family and I’m glad to be a part of this organization. The best part of tour was performing on the field every single day. I felt so alive and every time I look back at a video of our show when the biggest hit of the show arrived (“Last Train Home”), I almost want to tear up because I worked so unbelievably hard, and it is amazing to see how much I’ve grown in a single season.

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
Pacific Crest has launched me to bigger places than I could’ve imagined: It launched me into Dark Sky Percussion, an independent world class finalist drum line, and I am also hoping to continue on in my career to be one of the best drummers in Southern California.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
I am absolutely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to participate in drum corps. As a vet going into 2017, I am super proud to call Pacific Crest my family. The person that pushed me and inspired me to do this unbelievable activity is my former high school instructor, Chris Doolittle. He was one of the reasons I got where I am today, and I’m grateful that he was leading me on the right path toward making my dreams into reality.

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Pacific Crest is not just the best drum corps in Southern California, but it’s the best community of people I’ve ever come to know. The staff is extremely organized, and there is never a day where we don’t get fed 3 meals a day with a snack before lights out. I wouldn’t have it any other way than to be with the best drum corps in Southern California.