If at First Your Don't Succeed: An Audition Story

"You can get it if you really want, but you must try... try and try..."

Scott Tomlin is a Cadet alum whose audition experience was not as picture-perfect as many members', but he credits the adversity of an unsuccessful audition for teaching him what it truly means to be a Cadet. Here is Scott's inspiring story:

"I first stumbled upon the Garfield Cadets in 1985. I was getting ready for my freshman year band camp, trying to memorize music and watching some TV as well, when I came across the PBS broadcast of the DCI Finals from Madison, Wisconsin. I remember that the Blue Devils were finishing up their show, and I decided to keep watching since this is what I was going to be doing in a couple of days (yeah right), and Steve Rondinaro said that the defending champion Garfield Cadets would be coming up. Well, since I am from New Jersey, I really wanted to see the defending champ from New Jersey.

"I was floored. I was immediately drawn in, and it only got worse when I got to band camp and two people there were wearing Garfield jackets. I thought they were rock stars. I had just seen them on TV.

"Well cut to my junior year and countless hours of drum corps video-watching and reading Drum Corps World later, I finally went to my first live show at Foley Field in Bloomfield, NJ in 1987. I remember Suncoast Sound being at the show and some other corps as well, but the main event was SCV vs. Garfield. I could not believe how awesome those two corps were that night. SCV won, but about a week later it was Garfield on top again. My mind was made up; I was auditioning in November.

"I went to the first Thanksgiving weekend camp of the 1988 season and I was seeing all of these people in person that I had only seen on TV. Doug Rutherford, Nicole Roach, Rick Wygant, George Hopkins, holy ---- that's George Hopkins!

"I was so nervous and so overwhelmed at the same time. Eventually I got ahold of myself and began learning what it means to be a Cadet. The weekend went by in a blur, but as the winter turned into spring and final cuts approached, I was ready to hear the results of final auditions. I had dreamed about this moment for three years – being a Garfield Cadet, wearing that uniform, representing 54 years of drum corps history.

tomlin.JPG"But it was not to be; I was cut. I had not prepared hard enough, and I learned what it truly meant to be a Cadet that day. Work harder than anybody else, be your best every day, take nothing for granted, and things will work out.

"I went back in 1989 and made the corps that year, marching until I aged out in 1992. I would then end up teaching the corps for two more seasons in ‘93 and ‘94.

For those who know their Cadets' history, above is a
photo of Scott in the airplane set at the end of the
1992 opener at DCI East Prelims in Allentown, PA.

"So here I am, 20 years after aging out, having been a music teacher for the past 19 years and a father for the past 10 years. Still being able to see the big room at the Bergen County Vo-Tech where we used to rehearse, still being able to smell the soap we used to line the field and mark our spots with in the Giants Stadium parking lot when we learned drill. Along the way, I would make life-long friends and life-long memories and learn life-long lessons that I still use today and try to pass on to my own children, as well as my students. And it all starts with taking that first step through the doors.

If anyone has any doubts about auditioning, just go, because you may just change your life forever."


All active news articles