“A lot of people would call [Drum Corps International] the professional marching band. It’s completely beyond even college-level marching bands,” Cantano said. “You have to audition and it takes three months with the corps [after the audition]. You pretty much sleep on the tour buses or on high school gyms before competitions.”
According to DCI’s website, www.dci.org, more than 8,000 students audition for the fewer than 3,500 positions available in top-tier DCI member corps each year. There are more than 5,000 DCI members who directly participate annually.
Cantano explained Drum Corps International only allows brass players and that he is pursuing The Phantom Regiment group of Drum Corps International.
“... When I started high school I actually didn’t know how to read a single note of music or anything, this was in 2008, ... when I started drum corps. Phantom Regiment actually ended up winning the world championships last year, so to me it was kind of like a distant dream,” Cantano said.
He said he plans to pursue a career in music following college and appreciates the lessons he has learned through drum corps.
“I got my scholarship for music education and performance, but this activity definitely changes people. It’s gotten me to where I am ... training [for about three years] and here I am with a full scholarship to a college,” Cantano said. “People in the activity say the world would be a better place if everyone would march one year of drum corps.”
Kristina Cimino, online media and marketing manager for Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, said she first learned about Cantano after discovering his fundraising page, http://www.gofundme.com/5akxxw.
“I saw [how much he had raised] ... and thought he needs to host our next Lunch and Learn just to help him raise money for it because it is just such a great accomplishment being taken into the program ..., I just thought it would be a good way to help somebody who deserves it and who is such a hard worker with so much talent and drive ...,” Cimino said.
The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. and tickets are $15 and provide for a barbecue pork or chicken sandwich, chips, a drink and the learning portion of the event.
For more information, visit the Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse Facebook page.