Cadets siblings connect on and off the field

The 2010 Cadets are truly a family affair!

For eight Cadets, gathering around the family dinner table almost inevitably ends up with conversations centering on the drum corps. Just check in with Kaitlin and Megan Czekaj, twin sisters in The Cadets colorguard, at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Kaitlin, 20, returns from Las Vegas, and Megan, 20, meet up with their parents at their San Antonio, Texas home, and all things Maroon and Gold become the topic of the day!

sister cadets“Whenever we come home for the holidays, it’s Cadets 24/7. We’re eating dinner and watching Cadets’ championship videos, or we’re in the car on our way somewhere listening to Cadets’ audio downloads from finals. Our family bleeds Maroon and Gold…true die-hard Cadets’ fans,” said Megan, a nursing student at the University of Miami. 

The Czekaj sisters, born a minute apart, are one of four sets of siblings that marched in the 2010 Cadets. Drum Major Ben Pouncey, a 20-year-old music education major at the University of South Carolina, just spent his fourth year with The Cadets, his second as drum major. In 2009, Ben welcomed his brother Brad, 17, into the ranks of the trumpet section, a connection he and his brother will share for a lifetime. 

“If anything, The Cadets have brought the two of us together,” Pouncey said. “When you experience something like marching with The Cadets, it changes your life forever. However, I believe when you share it with a family member, it enhances the experience even more. Back at home, we’re best friends and I accredit that to the fact that we’ve marched together for two summers.” 

3 cadetsIan Wudyka, an 18-year old music education major at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, had his first exposure to drum corps thanks to his big sister, Vanessa Wudyka, a rising fourth year member of the front ensemble.  

“I think it helps being on tour with a family member because there is always someone to come back to with the same background as me,” Ian, a snare drummer since 2009, said. But being the younger sibling can be interesting, he added. “I always usually get the nickname of ‘Vanessa’s little brother.’ It’s to the point where I’m used to it!” 

For Sheila and Iris Heady, both members of The Cadets Front Ensemble, time with the corps isn’t their only shared time. Both are students at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and they find themselves regularly commuting together from their South Hadley Mass., home. Sheila, the synth player in the pit, aged out in 2010, her second year with The Cadets, while Iris couldn’t resist following in her sister’s footsteps last summer.

2 cadets friends“I had always been a drum corps fan, but never really sure if I would end up doing it or not,” Iris said. “When my sister marched with Cadets in 2009, I knew I needed to make it happen. I was able to be in The Cadets pit with my sister, who also happens to be my very best friend!” 

Sheila couldn’t agree more and feels being able to play with Iris at the highest levels – both at Amherst and The Cadets - has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.  

“My experiences with marching percussion have always involved my sister, and it’s only right that we were able to play together in the very last pit I will ever be in.”


Would you like to be a member of The Cadets in 2011? Audition Camp will be held at Reading High School in Reading, Pa., on Nov. 19-21. Texas Audition Workshops will also be held Dec. 3-5 in the Houston, San Antonio and Dallas areas.




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