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Kennedy marches through summer with Colt Cadets

July 26, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

North Tama sophomore Logan Kennedy has spent his summer break as a member of the Colt Cadets Drum and Bugle Corp, marching his way through the Midwest and growing a musician every step of the way.

The Colt Cadets are a corp based in Dubuque that are made up of marching musicians play only percussion and brass instruments. Colt Cadets are part of what Kennedy calls open-class, a division meant for young musicians just learning the basics of marching. Kennedy plans cymbals for the ensemble in his first year, having played percussion since the fifth grade and continues to be involved in North Tama's concert and marching bands.

"I learned about it through my history teacher, Mr. Walston, and guided me to the Colts, which is a World-Class drum corp that is a higher level," Kennedy said. "They guided me to the Colt Cadets when I realized how advanced the Colts were and was put on cymbals during the early camps they provide to help figure out how everything works."

Article Photos

Logan Kennedy marching with the Colt Cadets this summer. Photo submitted.

Though based in Iowa, the ensemble is almost constantly on the move across different states. A typical day for Kennedy starts by waking up at 7 or 8 a.m. in the morning with his first of four meals on the day. The Colt Cadets then begin their regular exercises comprising of running, stretching and calisthenics to warm up and prepare their bodies for a long day of rehearsals. Next, the ensemble will rehearse the visuals they create while marching on a nearby high school field available. As their season progressed, the Colt Cadets added their music to the practice to further cement the show.

"There's a lot of responsibility when it comes to drum corp," Kennedy said. "We have to make our own straps for our cymbals, or you won't be able to rehearse or perform. You have to keep track of your belongings, pack up on time when you're leaving and wash your own clothes. It teaches you a lot of responsibilities you can apply in everyday life and helps you keep a more organized life. As someone younger, I wouldn't have cared as much without being in drum corp."

After visuals are worked on, Kennedy will join his fellow percussionists alone for sectionals to work on specific needs with only their section before heading to lunch. The section will then join with the entire percussion unit, including the pit band that occupies the front of the field. Again, they address issues specific to only percussion. Another meal follows this rehearsal before the full ensemble reunites for more marching work and playing through the music. Kennedy and the Colt Cadets may concentrate on one section of the music at a time to perfect their show, but also do complete run-throughs to acclimate themselves for a performance. Their fourth meal ends their day and everyone is in bed by 11 a.m.

"I've learning a lot about percussion through camps and this experience," Kennedy said. "There are a lot of different rhythms that can make up a piece and we explore more complex rudiments. Drum corp has some of the hardest music a percussionist can play. There's so much I've learned and I've become a better musician through Colt Cadets."

Already halfway through the season, Kennedy will compete in a series of competitions in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana over the coming three weeks. The season will formally end with "prelims" in Michigan City, IN on August 7 and the Colt Cadets will also watch the World-class finals there as well to get a sense of what it takes to perform at a higher level.

"I enjoy performing for the people watching in the stands, perfecting and making the show my own and putting emotion into it," Kennedy said. "Our goal is to make our show the best we can."

While Kennedy is unsure of his future with the Colt Cadets, he will continue to hone his craft as a percussionist and believes all his work this summer will pay dividends in his everyday life and in the classroom.



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