2018 Friends of Drums Along the Mohawk Award

Emily Shaw

Emily Shaw,
2018 Friends of Drums Along the Mohawk Award Winner

Emily's letter to Drums Along The Mohawk:

Growing up I did not have a marching band in high school, and I still don’t as a student at SUNY Oneonta. However, my dad marched drum corps as a kid and learning about his experience opened me up to a whole new world. He took a couple of my friends and I to a drum corps show in 2014. I remember sitting there in the bleachers watching the Boston Crusaders perform "Animal Farm". My jaw dropped; I was in complete awe. My friends and I stayed up all night, just watching videos and learning everything we could about drum corps. I never could have imagined the feeling of being on that field, playing the last note of our show, and watching the crowd get on their feet and cheer for us. 7th Regiment gave me that chance to achieve my dream.

I joined 7th Regiment in 2016 and let me tell you, I was a mess. I was terrified and I did not know how to march, but I was willing to work hard and I was given a contract. It was a long summer and I almost gave up multiple times, but I kept going. I would often think back to sitting on the bleachers watching my idols do what I was doing right then. I kept pushing through the hard days and kept strong, remembering how much I had wished to be those people on that field. I did it for myself, and for everyone else who said I would not be able to survive. But I did it. Finally, there I was, standing on Ames Field surrounding by people who I now consider my family, tears running down my face as my medal was being placed around my neck. I knew that I had done it and I knew I had found something special in this activity.

After my first summer, I knew I needed to march again to experience that unmatched feeling of performing in front of thousands of people with my family. However, marching drum corps and being in college is tough. I know that I could be spending my summer obtaining internships for my career path, but I choose to spend my summers marching instead. I have my whole life to work on my career, but I only have two more seasons left of drum corps and I want to make the most of them. When I’m 100 years old looking back on my life, I will be thinking about the memories I made on the field.

Drum corps has shaped me into the person I am today, and I know it will affect my life in the future as well. This is more than just a summer activity. The experience of drum corps is different from anything I have ever done. No activity that I have been a part of has such a strong family aspect to it, while also teaching valuable life lessons like discipline and stress management. Now I’m returning to 7th Regiment for my third year, less of a mess. I’m ready to work hard, "leave it all out on the field," and who knows, maybe inspire someone else to achieve their dream like I did.

Recommendation - Sean Lee, Concert Band/Jazz Director, Ipswich High School Fine Arts, Ipswich, NY, Brass Caption Head - 7th Regiment

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