The Cadets Experience: Thoughts from a Recent Age-out

Snare drummer Sean Moran reflects on his Cadets experience


Sean Moran (left), 21, is a recent addition to The Cadets Alumni family as a member of the Age-out Class of 2012. Although he marched only one year in the corps, Sean exemplifies a truly great Cadet and speaks genuinely from the hearts of all Cadets. Along with the entire rookie snareline this year, he was awarded the Drumline Rookie of the Year Award at The Cadets Banquet on Sunday, August 12, 2012.

My Cadet experience will always be unforgettable and will continue to shape my life forever. For so long, the only thing that I ever wanted was to be in The Cadets. I made sacrifices and went through so much in order to say that I earned the right to wear the Cadet uniform and be a part of the rich, incredible history that makes this organization the best in the world.

Being a Cadet is something truly special. To me, there's just something about Cadets that is different from the rest, and I love it! I've always said that every Cadet has their personal story of how they got there. More often than not, it's not simple or straightforward, but the story is always very interesting.

I guess my story is summed up as being “the dreamer” as well as “the underdog.” Simply stated, being a part of the Cadets was my dream, and I was by no means the best drummer standing in the room, but I was driven. I wanted to do whatever it took to be a part of this drum corps, and I did it!


Now, how did that translate into my Cadets experience? Directly. Every single day for 90 days, I fought and worked my ass off, while at the same time I was living a dream. I loved it! Every day there was a new challenge to face, and overcoming those obstacles with 150 people who were doing it together for each other along with 78 years’ worth of history was the most powerful feeling that I have ever felt.

To me, living up to the traditions of The Cadets, wearing the uniform, learning and singing the corps song and being able to say that I have contributed to this is something that I will always hold close to my heart. I'll never forget the feelings that I had putting on the uniform for the first time. I'll never forget the first time that I could sing the corps song and call it my own. Thinking about this stuff literally gives me the chills every time, and I remember these feelings as if they happened yesterday.

That being said, it's finally hit me that it really is over for me. I can never do this again as a member, and it really does hurt. It's so easy to get caught up in the moment on tour. Everything moves so fast, and you literally don't have time to reflect on the fact that in a tangible amount of time it will be over. Days go by, and you're one step closer to it all coming to an end, but you are going full steam ahead with only the goal of perfection on your mind. No one ever wants to think about the end, but when you step off the field after your final performance, it becomes very clear that it's over.

There's a certain joy as well as sadness that goes along with that. You’re happy that you have pushed to the end and that you have gone through the “Cadet Experience,” but you are struck with sadness that you will only remember—not experience— those feelings for the rest of your life. What you feel is it, and it always will be, and that is both sad and precious.


Now that I’m on the outside looking in, I would have to say that this drum corps means the world to me. It represents everything that I ever was, and the reason that I will be whatever I am in the future. It holds the very values that I have learned that will sculpt me for the rest of my life. I will always think of The Cadets and know how this experience is represented within my life in the present time. I gave my all to The Cadets, and that’s something that I will always remember and hold very close to me for the rest of my life.

I cherish every moment that I experienced last summer. I cherish the tradition, the uniform, all of the corrections, PT, the performances, the friendships, the teamwork, the staff... I cherish it all. Though I will never be able to step on that field again wearing the uniform, I know that my passion and love for The Cadets will live on through all of the future members, as I sit back and watch as a proud alumni.

If you're interested in marching, go for it. You'll never make it if you don't try.

Click here to get more information, download the Audition Packet and register for The Cadets & Cadets2 Audition Camp.


All active news articles