By Paris Baptiste

I sat down with campers Colten, Michaila, and Scarlett to learn about their experiences participating in the 2023 Drum Major Institute. These returning campers shared their experiences and shed light on why they chose to come back for a second year.

Each of the over 300 drum majors that attend camp will leave on Saturday with a variety of skills and techniques that can be used to improve their own band program. Colten enthusiastically mentioned that drum majors get a lesson in sound and how it moves on a marching field. Scarlett enjoyed the small group conducting lessons with instructors, during which students got one-on-one feedback and improved their technique.

Not only did these three campers come back for a second Summer Symposium, but this year they added Leadership Weekend to their experience. Michaila said that she “love[s] being a leader, and this is an amazing place to learn how to be a leader.” Scarlett mentioned that their experience at leadership weekend helped them connect with other divisions and really focus on learning how to be a leader.

Colten wrapped up our conversation by reflecting on why he came back, stating that he returned to learn more skills that could help his band back home. “All of the instructors teach really well, and I can learn and better myself both technically, and on a level to where I can help my band.”

It’s clear that the commitment from the campers at Summer Symposium extends beyond personal growth. These students genuinely care about their band programs, and Summer Symposium gives them the tools to refine their abilities and deepen their understanding of leadership to inspire their peers back home to reach new heights.