The following is 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 fantastic Visual Caption Head, James Boyer.
Where are you from?
I was born in MIddlesbrough, England and moved to Utah in 1998 along with my parents. My mom and dad met playing in brass bands in England and both hold degrees in music, hence my love for music and performing.
Tell us about your professional background and drum corps experience.
I work for a small electronics company named after a piece of fruit from Cupertino, CA. I’m currently living out here in Silicon Valley working with our Desktop Operations EFFA (Early Field Failure Analysis) engineering team … quite the mouth full, I know.
I marched for four seasons with The Cavaliers from Rosemont, IL. I was a member of baritone section from 2005 to 2008 and was the baritone soloist in 2007. In the fall of 07, I traveled to Nagoya, Japan where I spent three months working with the Aimachi Marching Band.
In all of the shows you were involved in as a performer, which one was your favorite and why?
Most people would expect me to say The Cavaliers 2006 World Championship production “Machine,” but my absolute favorite summer and show was 2008 “Samurai.” Samurai had so many little additions that the audience never got to see, but made the show so much fun to perform.
After living in Japan I had such a deeper appreciation for Japanese culture and especially for the Bushido Shoshinshu (The Code of the Samurai). On tour that summer, we would read from The Code and find ways to add aspects from it into the production. Every visual in the show was something to do with actual Samurai culture and that made it a much more authentic show than it could have been.
How/why did you get hooked on drum corps?
I grew up around brass music since day one, so it was inevitable that it would become something I followed. I was very lucky to attend American Fork High School where I got to study under John Miller and former Blue Devils Mike Huestis, Kevin Fallon, and Nate Seamons.
A family friend Matt Reynold (Blue Devils 1992, 1993, 1996) let me borrow a VHS (yes, a video tape) of the 1992 DCI World Championships and I instantly fell in love with The Cavaliers show “Revolution and Triumph.” From that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a member of the Cavaliers, and three short years later I was suiting up in the Greens for the first time.
What excites you about being involved in the launch of The Battalion?
DCI was a huge part of my life and allowed me to travel around the country four times as well as across the world to Japan all before my 21st birthday. Over my four years in drum corps, I (my parents really) spent a very pretty penny for me to travel from SLC to Chicago for camps and also for tour fees. My best estimate for my total DCI costs is in the region of $25,000! The Battalion offers an opportunity to perform and experience the world of drum corps without having to take a second mortgage out or sell a limb.
What should students expect for the first clinic? How can they get the most out of it?
Be prepared to move! We will be teaching you more than just how to march and move, we will also be defining our look as The Battalion. On tour, we will make changes during rehearsal and expect them to be performed perfectly that night in the performance, so we will not only be challenging you physically but most importantly mentally.