Reporter’s notebook: Former band member travels with drum corps

Chris Mondragon marches to the beat of some of the best drummers in the country.

The former Clovis High School band trombone player auditioned for Drum Corps International last December and was chosen to tour with the prestigious group over the summer.

Drum Corps International is a non-profit organization serving junior drum and bugle corps around the globe. The group Mondragon was a part of consisted of 135 members and was called the Blue Knights.

According to Mondragon, he spent three months on the road traveling to places like San Antonio, Texas, and Madison, Wis. Mondragon said they slept in school gyms and basically lived on the bus. “It was like being a rock star,” Mondragon said. “It was a blast.”

Although the tour was fun, Mondragon said rehearsals with the drum corps were “more intense” than anything he experienced in high school. “We practiced 12-14 hours on non-show days, and eight hours on show days,” Mondragon said.

The tour culminated in the World Finals which were broadcast on ESPN2 to more than 88 million households. The Blue Knights finished 10th overall.

Mondragon said the drum corps is the “NFL of marching bands.”

The musician is currently attending ENMU where he is majoring in instrumental music education. He plans to audition for DCI again this summer.

“I can’t wait to go back,” Mondragon said. “I made so many friends, that I still communicate with everyday.”

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Tonya Garner. Suggested items may be mailed to Managing Editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: rick_white@link.freedom.com