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Crown 2015 Drum Majors Set

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2015 Edition of Carolina Crown Taking Shape

The 2015 Carolina Crown Drum Majors were selected as a successful second Carolina Crown audition camp concluded this past weekend at Fort Mill’s Nation Ford High School. New auditionees and returning vets learned new music and some different approaches to technique, as the latest edition of Carolina Crown begins to take shape.

With three-year veteran drum major Linda Harvey having aged out, the selection process to replace her began at the November camp with open auditions. Out of over 40 auditionees, three drum majors were selected including Hunter Bown, returning for his third year with Crown, and new members Emily Salgado and Ross Werner.

Both Hunter and Emily are working on music education degrees: Hunter at The University of North Texas in Denton, and Emily at Furman University in the upstate of South Carolina. Ross is studying Arts Administration at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

While Ross is a veteran of drum corps, having played trumpet with Phantom Regiment this past season, this will be Emily’s first experience. She is a percussionist at Furman alongside recent Crown front ensemble member and age-out Jared Best, who inspired her to audition for the drum major position. “I wanted to be in a leadership position again,” said Emily. “But Jared really inspired me. He saw something in me that I didn’t and encouraged me to audition.”

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Contracts were given to new and returning brass players and percussionists throughout the weekend. The 2015 Crown percussion section set as much of the line as possible while perfecting their technique and learning new music under the guidance of Crown Percussion Arranger, Thom Hannum.

Percussion Caption Supervisor Tom Aungst was pleased with how the weekend went. He and his team focused on teaching the snares, tenors and basses how the section is going to practice this year. He stressed the concept that, “you have to perform at a show the same way you rehearse during the day.”

This was the first camp for several drummers, as many could not make the last camp due to college band commitments. Jack Fry, an East Carolina University student and Crown vet from 2013, is excited to be back and, “happy with how everyone is getting along and enjoying playing together. Our approach to the drums is very relaxed and we are already playing extremely well.” 

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Tony Nunez, Crown Front Ensemble Caption Supervisor, also spent the weekend evaluating players and setting the section. His instructors continued to work with new and returning auditionees on technique and approach to playing the various mallet and percussion instruments that will be used in the pit for 2015.

Both Tony and Tom have been with Crown since the early fall and are excited with the chemistry surrounding the entire creative team. “We have video conference calls every week to discuss the design process,” said Tony. “Working with Michael Klesch and the music team has been great. We have been working together to incorporate all the percussion elements into the music right from the beginning of the arranging process.”

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Brass Caption Supervisor Matt Harloff and his team took the four-time Jim Ott Award winning Crown brass section through its paces. Music Director and Arranger Michael Klesch was also at camp, leading the brass through the new music.

Musicians from literally around the world come to Carolina Crown to march in the Crown brass section. Members have come from as far away as Japan, Taiwan, The Netherlands, England, and this year even Canada. Trumpet player Eileen Hubbard, a student at the University of Lethridge, travelled all the way from the western province of Alberta (just north of Montana) for her second Crown camp. Her parents were even able to join her on this trip, as they will spend the holidays in Alabama with family.

“Being able to audition for my dream corps has been amazing,” said Eileen, who wants to be a band director someday and is studying trumpet with North Carolina native, Josh Davies. “Just being here has made me a better musician and performer.”

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Crown Visual Caption Supervisor Ron Hardin and his team again evaluated marching technique at this camp. Teaching the Crown marching approach to brass players and percussionists begins early for Ron. In 2012 and 2013 Carolina Crown won top honors at DCI Finals for visual excellence, so the standard has been set extremely high. “Every year we have returning vets and new people and we want to ensure that they can keep their feet in time and learn our style,” said Ron, who is entering his fourth year at Crown with his team.

While most percussion and brass positions will be finalized at the January camp, the guard will not be decided upon for several months, as many potential new and returning members are practicing on weekends with competitive winter guards. Color Guard Caption Supervisor, Michael Townsend, along with staff members Herbert Washington, Kylie Hubbard and Phillip Cohen, spent the weekend teaching the auditionees a new movement piece and flag routine along with some weapon technique. According to Michael, being at these past two camps will help these performers better understand the Crown style and get a feel for how the staff teaches.

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“Our members can't prepare for a camp ahead of time like the brass and percussion,” said Townsend. “They don't start learning the choreography until spring training when all the music is written and learned and the corps is starting to learn drill. So they are doing really well having just learned these new routines.”

Crown brass players and percussionists will return to Fort Mill in January for CrownCAMP3. The guard will not be at any of the upcoming camps until April, when they will set their roster leading into spring training in May. View additional photos on the Crown Facebook Page.

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