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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Junior Alexander Broyles Marches with Drum Corps International

Courtesy of Alexander Broyles
Waiting for the show to begin, Alexander Broyles ’25 stances at standby. Last summer, Broyles marched a season with Genesis, a world-class drum-corp. “It was nerve-racking standing in the field before a show, but really you’re so focused on making the run as good as possible that you don’t really notice the thousands of people watching you,” Broyles said.

The loud cheers of the crowd echo throughout the Lucas Oils Stadium during the Drum Corps International (DCI) Championship semi-finals as Alexander Broyles ’25 eagerly waits for the drum major countoff. Broyles hears the announcement of Genesis and sees the drum majors begin to conduct. It’s showtime. 

Last summer,  Broyles marched and played the tuba in Drum Corps International, an elite marching band. He is now one of seven people from Westwood to march in DCI. Filled with world-class marching bands and the best players in the world, the competition to march in a corp is intense. Broyles took part in a corp located in Austin named Genesis

But Broyles’ music journey didn’t start here. 

It began in fifth grade, as he watched his elementary school music teacher introduce the instruments that were in band. Broyles was fascinated by these instruments and decided that this was what he wanted to do in middle school.

“I just remember I was in the required music class in elementary school,” Alex Broyles ‘25 said.“[The teacher] brought in a bunch of band instruments to show off what we will be doing.”

When instrument tryouts arrived, there were many stations and lesson teachers scattered around the Pearson Ranch Middle School band hall. Broyles tried each instrument, but none fitted him — except two.

“The two instruments that I did the best on during tryout day were the trumpet and the tuba,” Broyles said. “I chose the tuba because it sounded funnier. That’s the entire reason why I chose the tuba over the trumpet.”

Despite choosing the tuba based on its comical sounds, Broyles practiced vigorously during his time in middle school. However, when high school arrived, he didn’t have many expectations about high school marching band.

“[Freshman year] was a free ride, marching varsity in high school,” Broyles said. “Then, kind of around the end of marching season in my sophomore year, I started seeing drum corps videos popping up on the internet, and I wanted to do it.”

So, Broyles began his research on drum corps where they were located, their reputation, how difficult the auditions were, and how hard it was to be contracted into. Broyles eventually decided to audition for a corp called Genesis. 

“At Genesis, it was a weekend in November when you would start your audition,” Broyles said. “Genesis had camps that you would go to over the weekend [with your prepared audition materials].” 

However, the audition for Genesis was far less intimidating and intense than he thought it would be. Broyles remembers that it was more of a rehearsal experience on the first day with directors pulling people out for individual auditions on the second day.

“I expected a drum corps environment to just be all work and pure intensity, but then the audition process was just where you were pulled into a room,” Broyles said.  “[The directors] had you play some music and [do] a little bit of marching, and they said ‘thank you’ and you went back out to the rehearsal.”

Then, when Broyles got asked to sign the contract with the corp to march for a season, he knew that he got accepted. His preparation had paid off — yet Broyles was still conflicted. 

“I knew the time commitment of tour before I auditioned, and I wasn’t planning on marching that summer,” Broyles said, “but I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I cleared my summer schedule and took the contract. In the end, I’m very happy about that decision, because the season was so much better than I ever imagined it would be.”

Broyles waited, completing assignments and videos required by the corps and counting down the days until summer so his drum corp journey would begin. As soon as the school year concluded, Genesis’ season went into full swing.

I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I cleared my summer schedule and took the contract. In the end, I’m very happy about that decision, because the season was so much better than I ever imagined it would be.

“The season was split into the spring training and the tour. Spring training is where a corp learns their show and improves fundamentals and skills,” Broyles said. “Spring training can last up to over a month although it varies from corp to corp.”

For Broyles, spring training was one of the most rigorous parts of the process, with many long rehearsals being in the blazing heat of the summer. 

“[Spring training] is just rehearse, eat, repeat, [and] go to bed,” Broyles said. “At Genesis, the typical rehearsal would be three hours in the morning, then lunch, then rehearsal for four [more] hours in the afternoon, then we would have dinner, and then [we would] rehearse for another three hours in the evening.”

After spring training, the average corp transitions to their tour, which consists of traveling across the country and playing at competitions and exhibitions. With one last private performance, Genesis began their tour portion of the season in Arkansas.

“[To] kick off the tour, we had one last performance for friends and family,” Broyles said. “It was the last thing that we did for spring training.” 

Despite the training and work the drum corp endured, the corp still managed to incorporate fun traditions and inside jokes into their season. 

“We would goof around with the downtime we had, [but] by far the best part of the tour was when competitions started,” Broyles said.

Drum corps travel constantly from city to city, rarely staying in one place for longer than a single day. Broyles would get off the bus, rehearse, and then drive to the competition. 

“[Competitions were] a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be,” Broyles said. “[Competition] was just warming up, it was nothing new, and it was just like a rehearsal.”

Being in full uniform and performing in front of crowds during competitions was the part that Broyles loved most.

“You would actually get to feel the crowd’s reaction,” Broyles said. “You can just feel an overwhelming amount of positive energy coming from pretty much every aspect of the performance.”

 Broyles gained lots of experience and wisdom marching a season with Genesis. He found a new passion and will continue to march in drum corp for as long as possible.

“Find something about band that you enjoy,” Broyles said. “Find something that you really enjoy, anything, and it’ll be a lot easier to dedicate more time to it.”

Broyles will continue his drum corp career this summer with hopes to march in The Bluecoats and will audition this winter.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Chow
Jacob Chow, Heritage Staff
Class of 2026 Currently in WWHS Band! Favorite movie: Back to the future Favorite show: One Piece I love video games, talking about computers, music, and I’ll really talk about anything!

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