Students to be part of drum and bugle corps

Four GJHS marching band members were chosen to travel the U.S.A. with a prestigious drum and bugle corps. From left are: Cameron Honnen, Gabe Gallegos, Chris Bock and Max Houtris.

Any visions of sleeping in and relaxing this summer are over for a quartet of talented Grand Junction High School musicians.

Senior Chris Bock, freshman Gabe Gallegos and sophomores Cameron Honnen and Max Houtris were selected to be a part of the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps, a competitive junior drum and bugle corps out of Casper, Wyo.

The teenagers will spend three months — late May through early August — training in marching and music while traveling the country competing against similar drum and bugle corps.

The 150-person corps is highly selective and only available to youths ages 14–21. Tuition fees are $2,500 for the corps with uniforms reminiscent of those from the 11th Ohio cavalry stationed in Casper in the late 1800s.

This is the second time Bock, a drummer, has been selected for the Troopers, and he wears the jacket and patches he earned last summer with pride. As for his Grand Junction peers, he had only one way to explain what they are in for this summer.

“It will be the toughest three months of their lives,” Bock said.

Days after School District 51 dismisses for the summer, the boys will head to Casper for three weeks of drills to perfect all performance music and field routines for competition. The rehearsals are 16 hours a day for three straight weeks.

Once the Troopers depart Wyoming, they will travel the country by bus to compete in field competitions with the occasional parade, Bock said.

The members of the Troopers will live out of suitcases, sleep on gym floors and shower in locker rooms.

Last year, Bock said he threw away all his clothes at the end of the three months because they stunk so bad. But he came back to Grand Junction a better musician and marching band member.

Gallegos, Houtris and Honnen expect similar success even if it means forgoing more traditional summer activities such as swimming or sleeping in.

“It’s not something a lot of people get to do,” Houtris said. “When you go to a camp and see how good they are,” it is not a stretch to say that this is a chance of a lifetime.


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