2018 John Winter Family Fund Award

Cameron Burch

Cameron Burch,
2018 John Winter Family Fund Award Winner

Cameron's letter to Drums Along The Mohawk:

If Marching Music’s Major League is known for anything, it’s the challenge behind the performances on the field each and every day, each summer. Performers are expected to perform ridiculous feats physically, with step sizes reaching as large as a 3-to-5, while simultaneously being asked to perform technical passages on instruments they may not even play as their primary. These are the challenges we think of when we imagine the drum corps activity; but the reason that I come back isn’t for these most prominent challenges, but more-so the specific ones that help me to grow as a person, through the catalyst of Drum Corps.

Throughout my drum corps experience, I feel that each season has provided me with a very specific challenge, and each scenario has helped me grow in a specific way. In 2016, my first year touring with the Jersey Surf, I felt, as many drum corps rookies feel, somewhat displaced. I wasn’t with my normal friend group, but rather with people I had just barely met before spending every waking moment with them for the entire summer; and for those 90 days, I had huge amounts of trouble getting to know people. I was irritable, unfriendly, and quiet; until I realized that this was simply a state of mind. This season helped me to realize that interpersonal relationships are an easy thing to obtain and grow, provided I reach out to more people, which I have ingrained into my personality today. In 2017, shortly before our Spring Training, I encountered my first issues dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although I was diagnosed when I was 8 years old, I never had any issues until March of 2017, when I was forced to undergo a surgery on my right hip. Throughout the entire experience, I refused to let my condition define me, and once I had gotten out of the hospital, I was ready to continue getting stronger. It ended up at the point that I was able to successfully complete the entire 2017 season without injury, and the only reason is due to sheer willpower and dedication to the marching arts. For the 2018 season, I will again be dealing with slightly more severe issues with my arthritis, along with money; but this is a challenge I have yet to complete, and hope that it will provide a vital aspect of my personality, as the last two years have.

In short, drum corps provides for me what no other organization has been able to; a true, bona-fide challenge to not only my physical self, but my personality as a whole. The activity forces me to develop new perspectives on how I go about my life both on and off of tour, which is simply something I’ve never found elsewhere. It has provided countless opportunities for me to develop as a musician, a visual performer, an athlete, and most importantly, a person.

Recommendation - Mark Kellogg, Associate Professor of Trombone, Euphonium and Brass Chamber Music, Eastman School of Music, NY

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