The Battalion's first competitive season was an absolute success, thanks to the selfless contributions and tireless work of so many.
In 2014, this corps was born on a few pieces of paper. A copy of those pages sits on my desk and I often look at them in amazement. On those sheets were written every scenario of how to make a drum corps in Utah a reality. Even in our best case scenario, we could not have envisioned how incredible our first season would be for our members and the community, and how sound the organization would be. We fielded a corps of 104 members, toured more than 2,000 miles, purchased uniforms, brass instruments, a battery set, guard equipment, and a bevy of other necessary assets, all without going into debt. Our corps members had a fantastic experience, thanks to a very talented set of world-class educators. And this is only the beginning. To all who contributed their time and means to get this organization to where it is now, I offer a heartfelt and humble thank you. I hope you'll continue to help us build this worthwhile endeavor for years to come.
I also want to thank that first little founding group from 2014 - which included Luke and Alyssa McCollum, and my ever-patient and supportive wife Mariël - who began building a board of directors that would spur a surge of growth. That first board - Mark Hartman, Chris Nelson, Coleman Scholz, Kenton Nielson, Brek Mangelson, Alyssa McCollum, Luke McCollum, and Mariël Hatch - deserves praise for the hours of relentless work to help us explode out of the gate here in year one.
We can't say enough about our dedicated education team. They were exactly what we needed as we prepared for our first competitive season. A big thanks to Mark Hartman, Mariann Liddiard, Shilo Stroman, Alex Entin, James Boyer, John Matthews, Josh Jensen, Cole Statham, Melissa Primavera, Michael Williams, Elias Euler, Chris Temple, Kyle Pridgen, Brandon Arvay, Mariël Hatch, Joe Musick, Taylor Hutchins, Bradley Sampson, Shaun Walker, Nicholas McKibben, Joey Peck, Mary Ellis, Marvin Alexander, Celeste Reynolds, Emily Simek, Chelsea Budge, Dana Slabaugh, Mitchell Barnard. Their commitment to our members, and their ability to accelerate their development in the right way, was inspiring to watch.
I also want to give a shout out to our tour manager, Tyler Hess, who made sure our kids got where they needed to go safely, and who helped triage dozens and dozens of potential problems as they popped up during the tour.
An organization like this is only as good as its volunteer team. A humble and grateful thanks to Katherine Steinacker, Glenn Wright, Melonee Wright, Jen Bingham, Donny Helvey, Twyla Allensworth Helvey, Don and Connie Kenney Hill, Nisha Murray, Caroldean Neves, Robert and Mary Wolfersberger, Mark Wolfersberger, Jared Collins, Kelli Conger, Victor Neves, Jacob Bradshaw, Janet Bird Mckeen, David Sindt, Anna Thompson Sindt, Emma Wright, Brent and Amy Christensen, Megan Christensen, David Hatch, Brianna Moffett Marissa Sindt, Savannah Iraci, Kristen Sampson, Edward Rosales, Elias Kurban, Cameron Payne, Becky Barney, Stephanie Chipley, Stephen Tullis, Chris Anderson, Sierra Bingham and so many, many more for the thousands miles driven and meals prepared, for the hours of sewing, hemming, and pressing, for driving through paperwork, etc. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Our kids were fed like kings, looked great on the field, and got everywhere they needed to go on time thanks to your tireless work and dedication. I can't say thank you enough.
A big thanks to all the directors in the state of Utah and beyond who supported us as hosts for our rehearsals, helped us with equipment where possible, and supported our vision to create a drum corps to serve the state of Utah and the surrounding region.
I am amazed by the incredible young men and women that made up the membership in our inaugural corps. They were absolutely amazing. Their work ethic was inspiring to watch, and their ability to push through adversity and come together as a family to serve communities through performance is something that brought me to tears that last night in Ogden. That last performance was their best of the year, and gave everyone in the audience a small glimpse into the undeniable future in front of this organization. A special thanks to our student leadership team, especially our drum majors Kylie Lincoln, Andy Blomfelt, and Caleb Hodson for serving their fellow members with love and leadership.
We have some BIG things in store as we look to build for the future, so stay tuned! We hope you'll help us continue to build drum corps in Utah for years to come. ONWARD!