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Cadets2 Names 2 Drum Majors

Rebecca and Jen to lead the 2014 corps


This past weekend, Cadets2 announced that two third-year members will share the role of drum major for the 2014 season.

The Cadets2 family congratulates Rebecca Karu and Jen Ortiz on this well-deserved honor. We look forward to a fabulous season under their leadership.


Rebecca Karu is 17 years old and a junior at Toms River High School North in Toms River, N.J. This will be her first year as drum major, as she spent her first two seasons in the C2 mellophone section.

Rebecca has been a member of Cadets2 since the corps' inaugural season in 2012, when she was just a freshman in high school. "I originally thought, 'Well, I'm only 14. Maybe I'll do it next year,' " she said.

But a few of her fellow band members were planning to march, including her sister Emily, and they insisted that she at least e-mail the director about it.

"He told me that if I really wanted to do it, then I should definitely come to a camp, and before I knew it I was there marching the inaugural season with Cadets2," she said. "I am so glad that I sent that email."

Rebecca performing with Cadets2 during the inaugural season

Jen, on the other hand, has been a leader in the corps since the moment she was recruited to join. And like all section leaders of the 2012 Cadets2, she had to lead a section of new Cadets while learning to be a Cadet herself.

Now 23, Jen was recruited to join the C2 Drumline just before she graduated from Syracuse University with her bachelor's degree in Music Industry in 2012.

JenOrtizbassdrum2013.jpg"I originally planned on playing snare drum, but Dave Dumont expressed to me that he was looking for a bass drum section leader," Jen said. "Although I had never played bass drum before in my life, I decided to challenge myself and agreed to do it. I learned how to play bass drum, and learned how to be a Cadet."

Jen and Rebecca agree that the first year of Cadets2 was incredibly memorable and rewarding.

"There's not a single weekend I don't remember from that season," Jen said. "From my first rehearsal, to the first time I put on the uniform, to our first public performance, to Finals, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but since then it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. As our director, Rich Hammond, said to us on Finals night, 'It's been a year of firsts, but we figured it out together, and we figured out how to do it like Cadets.' "

In many ways, Rebecca has grown remarkably since that first year in the corps. She recalls being very shy in 2012, having just learned mellophone a few months prior to joining.

"I've grown so much since then," she said. "Over the past two years, I came out of my shell, and now I love putting myself out there and making new friends."

Not only that - Rebecca has also improved tremendously as a musician, which has made her a leader among her peers.

A Major Role

Jen and Rebecca both said that being chosen to be drum majors is a dream-come-true, and they plan to bring the leadership skills they have developed thus far to the podium.

"As the seasons have gone by, I have learned more and more about being a leader, and I'm excited to learn more this season," Jen said. "I hope to become a great role model to the members of this corps, to motivate and inspire them to strive for nothing but excellence on and off the field."

Rebecca's goal as drum major is to be as selfless and approachable as she can. "I always want the members to feel welcome and able to come to me with any questions they might have," she said.

With a rather young corps, she feels she can relate well to her fellow Cadets, having started so young herself. "I understand the stresses of high school and SATs and all the extra curricular activities, and I'm always open to anything they need, even if it's just talking through time management. I support and believe in every member 110 percent," she said. 


As drum majors of just a three-year-old marching unit, Rebecca and Jen also expressed a strong desire to pass on the corps identity they have helped develop since the inaugural season.

"I've seen all the traditions that we have adapted from The Cadets and the traditions we've created ourselves," Rebecca said. "I believe it is incredibly important for each member to understand them, and it is part of my role to help teach new members how both corps were started, the significance of our uniform, and the meaning of the Cadets2 corps song."

Jen agreed: "So far in my life, I have felt nothing more rewarding than being on a field, performing with such great people in my favorite uniform. Since 2012, the leadership has promised to take The Cadets' uniform and traditions seriously. Throughout our existence, you can see that the uniform just makes the membership feel more and more invincible, and sharing that feeling with the corps keeps me coming back."

2014: Our Favorite Things2

"There's so much to look forward to this season," Jen said. "It's an absolute dream-come-true to perform "Rocky Point Holiday" and "Philip Bliss" - a sentiment the entire corps shares.

While the 2014 program is designed to entertain any and everyone watching, it definitely holds something special for fans and alumni of The Cadets.

But classic Cadets music doesn't come without a challenge. The talented young musicians of the 2014 Cadets2 have been hard at work since their first rehearsal weekend in December, and they have made impressive progress as an ensemble.

"It's amazing to see such a young group of kids perform at such a high level," Rebecca said. "I know we are going to have a fantastic time this season. The show is going to be exciting, energetic and beautiful, and people are really going to enjoy what we put out there."

Jen (center) and the 2013 Cadets2 Bass Line (photo credit: Gwyn Media)

Leaders of the Cadets2 Family

"I'd say what's kept me coming back are the life lessons I've learned, the relationships I've made, the great staff, and the traditions and history that I have become a part of," Jen said.

She continued, "On top of that, it's always great to see how marching Cadets2 changes people's lives. I know how much it has impacted mine, and I try to do my best to make sure this is one of the best experiences in everyone else's life as well. I love seeing how much individuals grow as musicians, as people, and as Cadets throughout each season."

Rebecca agreed. "It's absolutely amazing to see the dedication and drive in everyone to make the show and season as great as possible," she said. "Every year, this corps comes so close together to fulfill a common goal: To be as great as we can possibly be. We become one huge family. We have our good days and our not-so-good days, but we are a family. That's what I absolutely love about this corps. I will never take for granted the honor, tradition, responsibility and respect that comes along with this position."


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