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.

Performer Profile: Nurah Holloway

nurah-Holloway-mprofile2Nurah Holloway’s first season with Pacific Crest was 2015. She is returning in 2016 as a member of the color guard.

Tell us about your background and family.
I am from San Diego, CA. I am the middle of 5 with an older sister and brother and younger brother and sister.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
By the time I joined PC, I had completed all four years of high school color guard, and two seasons of winter guard. I have friends who had marched PC, and they all recommended that I audition here. I am very glad I did.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
I tell my friends who are not involved in corps that I think about performing on a daily basis. Performing with PC has given me a motivation to do every-day activities. I think back to the toughest moments and say to myself, “If I pushed through the toughest days on tour, I can push through this!” The best part about PC is being on the field performing with people who are not only my teammates but who are now my family.

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
I am a high school color guard instructor. I feel like I have become a better teacher. I also feel like the PC has given me a new network to connect with fellow colleagues.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
I am sadly an age-out this year. I would like to thank my Mom and Dad for supporting me through all my years spinning. I would also like to thank my high school coaches, the Barton’s, and anyone who has ever taught me in the past. Thank you Pacific Crest for giving me this opportunity!

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
The environment at PC is amazing and full of growth. I am very excited to age out with Pacific Crest!

Performer Profile: Michael Ma

Michael-Ma-mprofileMichael Ma first performed with Pacific Crest in 2014. He is returning as mellophone section leader for the 2016 season.

Tell us about your background and family.
I was born and raised in Camarillo, California. I have one older brother, Brandon, and one older sister, Allison.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
My high school drum major during my sophomore year of high school wanted to audition on mellophone at Pacific Crest, and one of my visual techs was a performer there also. I attended the December Experience Camp, and just took a chance at the audition to see how I would do.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
The experience is unforgettable at Pacific Crest! They treat everyone so well! The organization has taught me responsibility, how to manage time wisely, and even patience. The entire first season was a struggle for me. I had only been playing for six months prior to the audition. When I was nearly bumped to an understudy position, that motivated me to push myself to more than I had ever done, and in the end I was able to keep my spot. I definitely saw an impact on my work ethic! The best part of the experience every summer is being able to perform for thousands of people almost every night of the tour!

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
With the past two summers under my belt, I have chosen to major in music and either math or German with an eventual goal to teach high school. The patience and responsibility I’ve learned on tour has also helped me work well with other people. PC also made me realize that I have a great passion for the arts at school and that I won’t be able to live life without them.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
Growing up in a small town was definitely a challenge to have myself seen by others. I worked hard and immersed myself in more band-related activities and bowling tournaments (another important hobby of mine). Drum corps was also a huge challenge since I chose to take a break from bowling after 10 years of competing almost every weekend. I really want to thank my mom the most because she sacrifices her time to drive me an hour and a half to camps so I can live my dream.

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Pacific Crest is a family environment, which is filled with humor and special bonds among members that you can’t experience outside PC! The family aspect continues to strengthen as the season continues and as the corps song is played. PC is also willing to work with students who may think they aren’t the best and then transform them into someone with way more confidence, who is willing to fulfill responsibilities or solve problems that they face day in and day out. I personally think that every person in their high school or college band should definitely come check out Pacific Crest in December! I-vii-I-vi-V

Why I Volunteer: Armando Duenas

Armando-Duenas-mprofile
Armando Luis Duenas is an alumnus of Pacific Crest, who marched Contra in 2007 and 2008.  He is currently finishing his Master’s Degree in Conducting at Azusa Pacific University.

“I have a unique relationship with Pacific Crest. One of my greatest friends was the late Zach Headden, and I survived the car accident that took him from us in 2009. From that terribly painful experience, I feel a stronger connection to the veterans who knew Zach and to the newer members who never met him. By being around the drum corps, I feel the newer members can see a part of the corps history and forge their own connection to Zach.”

“I aged out with a large class of ageouts in 2008. Many alumni from that year have returned to give back to Pacific Crest.  I volunteer to show the newer members that this experience creates long-lasting friendships that tie us together.”

“I also have a passion for cooking, so my best friend and then section leader, Chris Henderson, asked me to volunteer some time in the mobile kitchen.  I started cooking for the corps in 2014, and in 2015 assumed the position of Food Service Manager.  I feel this is the least I can do. Knowing the members are working hard every single day, my contribution is to provide the best meals that I possibly can.”

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

Performer Profile: Corin Uchuion

corin-uchuion-mprofileCorin Uchuion (pronounced oo-KY-en) performed with Pacific Crest in 2014 and 2015, and she is returning for the 2016 season as one of the drum majors.

Tell us about your background and family.
I was born and raised in Ventura, California, alongside my older sister, Sherry, whom I credit for getting me involved in percussion.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
I first learned about drum corps through my high school band director and close friends in the music program. A lot of my friends were really interested in another California corps, but I wanted to branch out from them, and there was something special about Pacific Crest. When I met a few members of PC from previous years, I instantly felt the sense of family in the corps, and instantly knew it was where I belonged.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
Pacific Crest has completely changed my life over the past two years. My first summer with the corps was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Through the experience, I not only became a better musician, but also a better person. I learned a lot about myself, and how to cope with challenges introduced to me, including depression that I struggled with from a young age. As a section leader of a mostly first-year section in 2015, my goal was to help create a close-knit bond where we all grew from each other, with the collective goal of reaching our full potential as a section and as individuals. The best part of my experience is the people I’ve met through this activity and all the memories we’ve made together — both good and bad, as they’ve all become stories to tell, and part of who we are and how we’re connected.

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
Pacific Crest opened my eyes to my true passion and ability toward music, and has opened many doors to pursue this passion. I currently teach other young musicians, as well as study music in school; both opportunities I would not have had, if not for the Pacific Crest staff and organization as a whole.

Is there anything else you want to say about yourself, your life, the people who have most influenced and inspired you?
I would not be who I am today, or who I aspire to be in the next 5, 10, 20 years without every person and interaction I have made in this activity. I am especially grateful for the 2014 staff, including Stuart Pompel, Gabe Cobas, Andy Bill, and Dalia Berman for always pushing me and, more importantly, always believing in me. I am also infinitely thankful for all the close friends I’ve made through Pacific Crest, as they’re the ones who motivated me through each truck load, each block, and each day.

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
Pacific Crest is a family and they take care of you; not always in the way you want, but in the way you need. Pacific Crest and “I-vii-I-vi-V” will mean something different to anyone you ask, but most importantly, it will always mean something to everyone.

Performer Profile: Victoria McFarland

Victoria-McFarland-#2-mprofileVictoria McFarland performed with Pacific Crest in 2014 and 2015, and she is returning for the 2016 season.

Tell us about your background and family.
My hometown is Moreno Valley, CA. I am an only child, but my friend, Jesse, lives with us. He’s older than me, and is pretty much my big brother.

What brought you to Pacific Crest?
I was attracted to the challenge and the adventure behind it. I enjoy the physical and mental challenges that I face at PC because they help me push my limits. I learned about drum corps during high school when I had some friends who marched.

How did the Pacific Crest experience impact your life?
Pacific Crest has helped me keep my cool in difficult situations, and helped show me that I’m stronger than I think. In any situation, I’m able to think, “I’ve been in a situation harder than this,” and then relax. The best part of the experience is traveling, trying new things, and the feeling of finishing  a performance and seeing people on their feet. 

How do you think Pacific Crest will affect your future goals and plans?
Pacific Crest has made me ready for any situation. I’ve learned how to handle life’s challenges on my own, without having to rely on others to help figure them out. Overall, I figure out solutions more quickly, and have gotten better with time management.

What else do you do outside of drum corps?
Music isn’t my only passion, though in addition to PC, I’m section leader for the Riverside City College Marching Tigers. My biggest passion, though, is special effects makeup, which I hope to do for a living..

Is there something you’d like others to know about Pacific Crest?
The most important thing to understand is that we are a family, and that we will always be there for each other. One thing that really brings us close together is our corps song. In the beginning, the song may not be as powerful to the rookies as it is to returners, but by the end — when we play it one last time — it hits everyone hard. The Pacific Crest experience is about being the best performer as well as the best person you can be.