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Member Feature: From Bass Drum to Baritone

A Cadets2 Success Story

WillBrentCadets2.jpgwhite.pngWill Brent is a 17-year-old high school bass drummer from Mechanicsville, Va., about 20 minutes east of Richmond. This is his first year in the Cadets2 hornline, and while his journey into the drum corps world starts out like many others, he didn’t come by the usual road.

Will is a student at Lee-Davis High School, a 13-time Virginia State Honor Band and recipient of The Cadets Award of Excellence at the USSBA A-Class National Championship in 2011.

“I got into music because it’s been in my family for a long time,” Will said. “My dad marched snare drum at my high school, and so did my sister before me. I've been in love with music ever since I saw my first marching band, and I've been drumming for as long as I can remember.”

Not surprisingly, a member of the marching band staff at Lee-Davis first introduced him to drum corps. “I’ve been marching bass drum since my freshman year, and our drill instructor marched with the Caballeros back in the '50s. He used to talk about how much he loves the Garfield Cadets,” he said.

WillBrentBass.jpgWill later found out that the show designer for the Lee-Davis Marching Band, Josh Gall, marched in a drum corps as well – The Cadets. (Josh aged out of The Cadets’ tuba section in the mid-2000s and has since served on the corps’ brass staff.)

It wasn’t until he actually saw a drum corps show that things really began to click for Will. He saw a video of The Cadets’ production, Between Angels and Demons, after the summer of 2011. “I've been in love with The Cadets ever since,” he said.

But as many know, loving The Cadets and actually going for it are vastly different.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2012, Will says he was a Cadets All Access faithful. “I watched all the videos to see what was happening in the corps,” he said. “One day, I came across Katy’s video” – a part of The Cadets/Cadets2 video series, You Can Do This, in which members told their personal audition stories and encouraged other students to come to November auditions. This particular segment featured 2013 Cadets2 Drum Major Katy Boggs, who was a member of the baritone section in 2012.

Katy also had a unique journey into Cadets2. As she describes in the video interview, she was a flute player up until a friend convinced her to join the hornline and basically learn baritone on the fly.

Will admits that at the time, he really wasn’t interested in Cadets2. “I just saw a pretty girl, and it was a Cadets video, so I figured I’d check it out,” he said honestly. “So I watched it, and her story blew me away. She talked about getting fitted in The Cadets’ uniform at her first camp, and that got me.”

As auditions approached, Will said that he kept thinking back to that video, and Katy’s message helped him push himself to do it.

“Now, the instrument part is were it gets complicated,” Will said.

He attended the Cadets/Cadets2 Combined Audition Camp to try out for the C2 Bassline, and he learned so much from the drum staff and vets of both corps. But so many talented members returned for C2’s second season that there just wasn’t a place for him in the line. Thus, an instructor suggested that he audition for the Cadets2 Pit to get more experience, or else find a way to march in another section.


“I refused to be put in the pit under any circumstances because I absolutely love marching and have always wanted to march as a Cadet,” Will said.

With Katy’s You Can Do This story still echoing in the back of his mind, he opted to march and learn a new instrument. “I had been interested in learning baritone for fun, and I just went for it and ended up making the hornline,” he said.

WillBrentRehearsalC2.jpgThough perhaps still a drummer at heart, Will loves playing baritone. “It’s such a fun instrument, and I love the sound of it,” he said.

As a now seasoned member of Cadets2, Will said that his experience with the corps has been wonderful. “The family atmosphere here is phenomenal,” he said. “From my first camp, I've felt at home. If I have a problem or I'm having a bad day, I know I can text or call someone in the corps who will be there for me, and that’s a feeling like no other I've felt.”

Will specifically recalls one weekend rehearsal during the winter when some older Cadets alumni made the trip out to Allentown to meet and support the members of Cadets2. “They accepted me as a part of their family,” he said. “That made me be so happy to come back again and again each month and now every weekend.”

And as Cadets tend to discover over the course of the summer, Will said he’s also learned that the Cadets experience has much less to do with competition or even what instrument you play than it does with the habits and lessons instilled in each member along the way.

“The things I've learned in C2, like how to push through when things get tough and the concept of always looking good, have changed how I live day to day,” he said. “I know this experience will continue to change me for the better.”

Will plans to major in music education and hopes to attend James Madison University.

If you’re considering marching drum corps in 2014 or in the future, know that you really can do this! Hundreds of stories like Will’s and Katy’s testify to the Cadets principle that hard work and perseverance really do pay off. Remember, if you never step out of your comfort zone, you may never fail, but you just might miss out on the greatest experiences of your life.

Visit for more information about fall auditions.


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