2018 Tony Pellegrino Award

Brian Kusior

Brian Kusior,
2018 Tony Pellegrino Award Winner

Brian's letter to Drums Along The Mohawk:

With each season I have marched, I have noticed my reasons for participating in Drum Corps changing from year to year. As a Sophomore in my high school marching band, I saw the 2012 Tour of Champions in MetLife stadium and knew I needed to join a group like that. That was my primary reason for auditioning for Jersey Surf in 2015, as I just wanted to march in a world-class corps. Surf helped me reach that goal by providing a solid brass technique that inevitably helped me achieve my larger goal of marching with my dream corps, the Madison Scouts. I knew I wanted to march with the Scouts when I first saw their 2013 show. I saw a commitment to brotherhood and tradition unlike anything I had witnessed before, and I wanted to be a part of that history. When I made the Madison baritone line in 2016, my reason for marching relied heavily on wanting to be that same inspiration to other kids. I wanted someone in the audience to see my show and be convinced that this is the right corps for them.

With this season being my age-out year, my reasons for participating in drum corps have shifted since 2016. While I still want to inspire others, I have found that through personal improvement I can still have the same effect on others while improving myself in the process. One of the foundations of the Scout’s leadership program is “ improvement is always possible“. I was not even going to march my age-out year in favor of an internship opportunity, but one of my good friends in the corps convinced me to fly out to the April camp. Since I joined so late, almost all of the baritone spots were filled. However, they offered me a mellophone spot which I happily accepted. I was going to march my age out!

The only problem was I have never played mellophone before, let alone to the standards of this hornline. This was where I shifted my reasoning for doing drum corps. Given the unique challenge presented to me, I decided to make a personal goal for myself. If by the end of the season I can play and march the entire show on this new instrument to the Scout’s standard, I know I can do anything I set my mind to. Since the start of spring training, becoming proficient at the mellophone has not been a cakewalk by any means. However, as I write this response in the fourth week of spring training I can already notice a huge improvement in my tone and endurance, which leads me to believe there is no limit to what I can achieve later in the season. By working on improving myself to be the best I can be, this makes the corps better which simultaneously fulfills my second reason for participating in this activity. Anyone who has marched drum corps can attest that it is in the minute details and improvements that help a corps develop the most. By starting improvement at the smallest, individual level, there's no limit to what a group can achieve.


Recommendation - John Finney, Conductor, The Boston College Symphony Orchestra, Boston College, MA

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