The following another feature in our "Meet the Staff" blog series intended to introduce you to the instructors you will meet at our BEX Audition Events. We are excited to highlight our incredible program director, Mark Hartman.
Where are you from? Tell us about your education background and drum corps experience.
I grew up in El Paso, Texas, and spent 4 years as a horn player in the J.M. Hanks High School Band. During the fall of my senior year, the Blue Knights held an audition camp in El Paso. I did well enough to be invited to the Denver camps, received a contract, and the rest was history. I marched for one summer with BK in 2003, learning from great instructors like Andy Smart and Joni Perez, and making friendships that would last a lifetime. After that summer, I attended a year of school at BYU and then left to serve a two-year church mission in Alaska, which ended my drum corps performing career.
After returning home from Alaska, I ended up on the visual staff at Revolution down in San Antonio, Texas, in 2008. There I had the chance to work with some great people who helped shape me into a better instructor. In 2009, I returned home to the Blue Knights as a member of the support staff, running the corps’ social media accounts and learning everything I could about how a drum corps tour runs behind the scenes.
Outside of drum corps, I performed with the BYU Cougar Marching Band and Cougar Pep Band for 4 years, and graduated with a B.A. in Communications in 2012. I also have worked with various high school groups across the country, the most recent being the Westlake High School Marching Thunder from Saratoga Springs, Utah, where I currently serve as brass caption head and am a member of the design team. Westlake was the Utah 4A State Champs in 2012 and 2013, and is a two-time Bands of America Regional Finalist.
There are so many people that I’ve been taught by throughout the years it would be hard to name them all, but some of the most influential have been Martin Huerta, David Perez, Horacio Gomez, Calvin Edwards, Andy Smart, Joni Perez, and Fred McInnis. I’ve also been blessed to work for and alongside talented instructors and educators who have also influenced me greatly: Amanda Brandt (Elizondo), Chris Magonigal, Kevin Wood, Felix Hernandez, Robert Flores, and Brek Mangelson.
What excites you about being involved in the launch of The Battalion?
There is some amazing talent in the state of Utah, but the state is underrepresented in the drum corps world. Many choose not to march for financial or religious reasons, to say nothing of the time commitment. The Battalion answers all of those concerns, and anything that furthers music education in the state is very exciting.
What should students expect from our upcoming BEX Audition Events? How can they get the most out of them?
As Program Director, I am committed to providing the best possible education experience for students who attend our clinic. Students will learn from some very talented instructors and clinicians and get a taste of the drum corps experience. Each student will receive individual feedback that will help prepare them for All-State or college auditions, eventual membership in The Battalion, or just help make them a better musician.
The best way to prepare is to practice, practice, practice! Learn your scales, work on building good tone, and come ready to work hard. More details will be coming soon regarding specific ways students can prepare depending on which section they’re interested in, so sign up for the clinic and follow our social media accounts to stay up to date with the latest news.