The Cadets' horn sergeant gives new members some encouragement

Trumpet section member honored at banquet

Kendra Orcutt, 20, has been a member of the trumpet section since 2009 and was the trumpet section leader in 2011.

At the Cadets’ banquet on Sunday, Aug. 14, she was honored to become the horn sergeant of The 2012 Cadets. This will be her age-out summer with the corps.

cadets horn

While section leaders answer for and guide their respective sections, the horn sergeant is responsible for the entire brass line. During the summer, they are most noticeable when they “dress” the arc (make sure it looks correct) every day when The Cadets warm up, but the job certainly requires more responsibility than that.

Communication generally works as a funnel in the corps; the staff relays information to the drum majors, who pass it along to the horn sergeant, who passes it along to the horn line. The horn sergeant also keeps the brass section leaders accountable for their sections and makes sure that all of the members are upholding The Cadets’ tradition of excellence.

But after a couple weeks of tour, The Cadets do settle into a routine. The horn sergeant may actually be the most important during the off-season while a new brass section is forming. Orcutt will work with the drum majors and staff to make sure everyone stays on the same page and knows what to expect for camps and, eventually, move-in.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the corps and show start to take shape as the camps progress,” she said.

There’s a lot to teach new members about how drum corps works and how The Cadets traditionally function.

“The Cadets is the best place to learn how to work hard and achieve at a higher level than you ever thought possible,” Orcutt said. “It is about going out every day and working to be the best, then going out at night and performing for stadiums full of fans across the country. It is tough, but you learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of achieving.”

In light of her years of experience, Orcutt reflected a bit on the 2011 season. “Every summer I have marched has been a great experience, but 2011 was a really special summer. We had a great corps and a really well-designed show that was so much fun to perform. Our best performance of the season was on finals night (which rarely happens), and winning at that point was just icing on the cake to an unforgettable summer.”

It was indeed a very special summer, but Orcutt said she’s looking forward to 2012 as well. “I'm excited to see everyone again and start prepping for the next season,” she said. “The winter camps are always an exciting time, as you get to meet new people and learn new music.”

“I would tell someone auditioning that if they are nervous or are on the fence about auditioning to just go for it!” she said. “Even though being a rookie can be intimidating at first – especially for me in ‘09 when the corps was mostly vets — everyone is very supportive and willing to help you.

She said it was mentally and physically challenging at first, “however, just like everyone else, you learn how to push yourself until things become easier.”

It’s true — every year, The Cadets start out as a bunch of high school and college kids who have to learn how to bring their horns up and down, how to step off on the right foot, and how to play “Rocky Point” faster than 80 beats per minute (Gino Cipriani has been known to conduct it at 190 bpm before shows). After countless hours of hard work, the new members of 2012 will undoubtedly look and sound like the 76 years of Cadets who marched before them.

“The Cadets do a good job of not making the audition experience too stressful, Orcutt said. “The whole weekend is a great way to meet people and learn about the corps. If you prepare for the audition and show the staff that you are able to work hard and take feedback throughout the weekend, you will be fine,” she said.

Keep checking back for more interviews with members and staff of The 2012 Cadets!


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