2017 John Winter Family Fund Award

Paul Mangelsdorf

Paul Mangelsdorf,
2017 John Winter Family Fund Winner

Paul's letter to Drums Along The Mohawk:

The marching arts have been a part of me since birth. My parents had met through marching band, and my earliest memories are of relentlessly asking my father to play the BLAST! CD whenever we were in the car. After hearing the stories of my parents marching, it was natural that I joined marching band when I entered high school. I quickly fell in love with my band program and the activity as a whole. I did not truly have any idea what drums corps was until I saw a Tour of Champions show in 2011. I saw a fantastic line up of shows including Phantom Regiment’s Juliet. The sheer power and emotion of that show blew me away. From that moment, drum corps stole my heart.

After auditioning elsewhere, I eventually made my way to 7th Regiment in 2015. I didn’t know what Open Class was. I didn’t know that I could learn a brass instrument. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. That season was rough. I had no clue what was going on half of the time, it was hot, we were running, people were getting on each other’s nerves and it seemed the show was constantly changing. It was insanity. I loved it! I felt at home. The sense of family within the corps was intoxicating. In 2016, I returned to 7th Regiment, as the only veteran in the entire tuba line. I was fortunate enough that the other members of the section shared a sense of drive and we worked together to build something amazing. That tuba section will remain some of my closest friends, and certainly the closest members of my 7th family for the rest of my life. That section is one of the most important groups of people I have ever been a part of.

This season is my age-out season. After a great deal of uncertainty regarding internships and financials, I am returning to 7th Regiment for the last time. When I first entered the activity, I planned to move on to bigger and, I believed, better things. But, I have found my home at 7th Regiment, a drum corps family. 7th Regiment is far too special a place for me to leave. I have learned that drum corps isn’t just something you do. It’s not something you are just a part of. This corps becomes who we are. I don’t know if this is true with every corps, but I know that it is true at 7th Regiment. Years from now, someone will still remember our show, even if that’s only those of us who performed it. But I firmly believe that will not be the case. For someone in those stands, this is the show that will captivate them. This is the show that will lead them to their passion. This is the show that will lead them to a drum corps family. This is my last chance to change someone’s life with my performance. And, I intend to make the most of it.

Recommendation by Lisa M. Coté, Resident Director, A&B Complexes, University of Hartford

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