2018 John Winter Family Fund Award

Serenity Morris

Serenity Morris,
2018 John Winter Family Fund Award Winner

Serenity's letter to Drums Along The Mohawk:

Drums Corps is hard to put into words. I could explain the discipline and hard work that go into achieving a great rehearsal. Or, how after rehearsals I have a better work ethic that funnels into all areas of my life. Drum Corps is so much more; it is a place that feels like a second home. A safe place without judgment, only hard work, and family.

This family creates more than just beautiful pictures on a field, it creates strong bonds that will last a lifetime. It saves many of us from ourselves, as it gives us a place to finally fit in and be our true selves. We are an amazing family, and we all understand one another. It is incredible to be that close and push one another to be our best self possible. That is why I think people join drum corps, why they should join, and why I joined. Not for the breaks to hang out with friends, but for the moments where you want to give up and the people around you push you, and you push yourself, to achieve something amazing. It is the moments in which you want to quit, but keep going, that truly make you stronger, and in drum corps that's what it's all about.

In 2016, I had my first experience with drum corps. I was contracted with 7th Regiment as a mellophone. However, that dream was shattered. I had to leave that season due to a family commitment. My heart ripped into a million pieces. I was just about to move in. I was going to live my dream. I was in a terrible place, but I hadn’t lost my hunger. I had this burning need to march and so I ended up marching tuba for White Sabers. Since then, I know I can push myself. I had never touched a tuba and yet finished the season like I had been there from the start. This season is different. I am back to prove to myself, and everyone, that I can do this. That I belong on the field, performing with all of my energy and pride!

I want to stand on that championship field at the end of the season and look around and feel the most amazing feeling in the world. It is more powerful than hope or love could ever be. It is that amazing moment when you put down your horn, and you know you just accomplished everything you dreamed about with all of your friends. All of your hard work has paid off.

In the future, my goal is to change lives through music. I am attending Grove City College in the fall for music education, and I hope to go on to earn a master's degree in conducting. Drum corps will help me cultivate my skills, network, and gain experience to help enrich my future students. This is my dream, this is my happy place, this is my heaven on earth. This is for me, and for every other kid who can't find confidence within themselves. In Drum Corps, I have found my confidence, my voice, and how to take a step with pride. Those steps just happen to be 8 to 5.

Recommendation - Kristyn Cutler, Director of Bands and Pride of Westmoreland Marching Band, NYS Field Band Conference President

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