March across the nation
It would be an understatement to say that senior Ryan Maidment likes music.
Since sophomore year, Maidment has played three different instruments for three different periods of music. In zero period Advanced Orchestra, he plays the oboe. In first period Marching Band, the baritone. And in second period Advanced Jazz Band, the trumpet.
But for Maidment, that’s not enough.
Outside of his involvement in Walnut High’s music programs, Maidment is also a member of the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, a competitive Drum Corps International (DCI) World Class corps. Maidment toured as a baritone player with Pacific Crest from June 15 to Aug. 7, complete with a schedule of more than 20 competitions and a tour map that spanned the nation.
“[Drum corps] is such a powerful experience that it changes you as a person,” Maidment said. “You can go into it thinking, ‘No, nothing’s going to change about me,’ but it’s really just not possible. You go through so many experiences together. It’s life-changing.”
None of this was a part of Maidment’s life three years ago. It was only after Maidment watched Walnut High class of 2014 alumni Kayla Mayaki and Nick Briones perform with Pacific Crest in 2013 that he began seeking opportunities to join a drum corps. He participated in the Pacific Crest experience camp the summer of 2014, then auditioned for Pacific Crest in December the same year.
“[At experience camp,] I tried to pick up on all the things they taught me and apply that to the band when I got back. The following year I was able to audition, but it was more for experience of auditioning for corps. I didn’t expect to get in,” Maidment said.
To his own surprise, however, Maidment scored the highest possible score, gaining acceptance to Pacific Crest on his first try.
“I was just completely shocked. I was extremely overjoyed and decided to rearrange my entire schedule that year so that I could fit [Pacific Crest] in,” Maidment said.
The financial cost to tour with Pacific Crest almost prevented Maidment from touring. To pay for the program fee, Maidment used the crowdsourcing website GoFundMe to raise almost $600, covering roughly a fifth of his total cost.
“To see that there are actually people that believe in me enough to give some of their own money just to support me is such a reassuring feeling,” Maidment said. “One day, I was feeling a little bit concerned because I hadn’t gotten all that much money despite advertising to a bunch of people already. But out of nowhere, I checked my page to discover that an anonymous person had donated $200 to my cause, just like that. It was like waking up on Christmas morning.”
In preparation for Pacific Crest’s summer tour, Maidment attended overnight camps in the spring at Diamond Bar High School. For an entire weekend each month, Pacific Crest members participated in physical training, music and visual blocks, and, at the end of day, a runthrough of their performance.
“It was really difficult at first, but it got easier with each progressive day, after a while of getting used to it,” Maidment said. “To diffuse the stress I created a tradition of going to Starbucks every Sunday night after camps to relax myself.”
Once on tour, Maidment followed a similar daily schedule and competed roughly every other day. Instructed to pack sunscreen, roughly a week’s worth of clothing, a sleeping bag and other items, he slept in school gyms and spent many hours on the road. By the end of the season, Maidment had traveled to more than 15 states, including Utah, Georgia and New York.
“I learned so many great things, like discipline and time management. I’m not afraid to admit that I sucked at time management, but it’s like you’re forced to get good at it. There’s a strict time for everything,” Maidment said. “[Pacific Crest also] taught us to always give our 100 percent every single moment and always do right, no matter what.”
Pacific Crest ended its summer season at the DCI World Championships, advancing to semifinals and ultimately placing 21st out of 24 World Class corps. The final competition took place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, where more than 35 drum and bugle corps performed for over 22,000 spectators.
“I was thinking constantly, ‘I do not want to mess up,’ because this is the one thing that the audience’s going to remember for the years to come from this year of Pacific Crest,” Maidment said. “The second night was mostly just pure excitement and adrenaline. Of course I was sad as well, because it’d be the last time I would ever do that after two months of just doing this over and over again. And even before that, because it started all the way back in December. Essentially, more than half a year dedicated to this one show, and it was all culminating in that moment.”
But while the summer season may be over, Maidment already looks forward to auditions in December. This time around, he aspires to join the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, a 17-time DCI World Champion.
“If I get into Blue Devils, that’ll be a blessing for me. That’s where I want to go. That’s my dream corps,” Maidment said. “I intend to do [drum and bugle corps] for as many years as I can. I hope nothing comes in between that. I want to do it every single year until I can’t do it anymore.”
By Alison Chang, Editor-in-Chief