The Drum Major eXperience

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 The Crossmen DMX camp is an annual four day camp hosted by the Crossmen for high school-aged Drum Majors to come and learn about how to better their ensembles at home while improving their own leadership and musical skills. 

Throughout the week, campers have been shadowing the Drum Majors and learning valuable leadership skills and techniques to apply back home. Led by current and former Crossmen Drum Majors, the kids have been able to get a glimpse of what being a Drum Major is like in a world class drum corps. 

"The campers have been in master classes and observations," said Randall Himes, second year Crossmen Drum Major. "They’re learning salutes, commands, conducting and communication techniques--things that they can bring back to their high schools. In some of their free time, they get to come and watch us as Drum Majors here apply the skills that they’re learning to an actual ensemble."

And while the kids are learning new skills from their time at the camp, the entire experience also provides the current Crossmen Drum Majors a different angle to interpret their own leadership skills during rehearsals. 

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"All of the eyes on us help us rethink the things that we’re doing here to make sure we know that what we’re doing is actually best for the ensemble," Himes said. "When we have another perspective from when kids ask questions or point something out, it makes us better too."

Throughout the entirety of the camp, the Crossmen Drum Majors are hoping to instill a set of lasting skills into the campers that they'll be able to apply directly to their own situations. 

"I hope they can take home how they set expectations from the beginning and enforce those," Himes said. "A lot of the questions that we get are about respect and getting the message across. The answer to that is setting the expectation early—put your foot down when you know it’s the right thing to do and help make the ensemble better."

Simply knowing about what makes an ensemble work is ineffective until kids are able to break down the concepts and use them at their own schools. The ability to help campers develop leadership skills in a real and applicable way is what the DMX camp aims to do. 

The DMX camp will continue throughout the week before concluding at Crossmen's MMX event on Friday, June 15. There, campers will have the opportunity to present the skills that they've learned to the public before Crossmen's debut of The In Between.