Bucholtz and Zapf march professionally

Oakville’s marching band season may not start until July, but it has already begun for two OHS students.

Conrad Bucholtz (12) and Adam Zapf (10) both auditioned for DCI (Drum Corps International) recently, and both of them received contracts for the 2018 season.

DCI is the major leagues of marching band. It consists of top performers from around the country that are ages 15-21. These corps participate in national competitions and tour around the country each summer to showcase their show.

About two years ago Bucholtz began following DCI by videos on the internet, and this year he decided to audition for the Blue Stars, which is based in La Crosse, WI, to get a unique band experience.

“I wanted something more than high school band,” said Bucholtz, “Something that was a lot more intense and more rigorous.”

The audition process is extremely rigorous. Audition camps run from a Friday night to Sunday afternoon, and every sound and move the candidates make is evaluated and could determine if they get cut or offered a contract.

“It’s scary to take that first step and actually say ‘I want to do this’ because it is so intense,” said Bucholtz.

In November, Bucholtz attended an audition camp, and got a call back for a January camp. That weekend, Bucholtz was offered a contract to march with the Blue Stars.

“I knew what to do for my audition and to make the Blue Stars,” said Bucholtz. “I felt confident about my audition, so I was relieved and excited to be in a drum corps.”

Zapf’s path to DCI began after his first marching season, when he realized how much he missed marching. Like Bucholtz, he began following DCI through videos on YouTube and wanted to be a part of it.

For Zapf, his journey to DCI took a little bit longer. DCI contains only percussion and brass instruments. Zapf plays clarinet for the OHS band, so he had to take an extra step and pick up a new instrument. He began taking lessons and would sometimes stay up until 1 am practicing his trumpet.

“I first started getting into trumpet to join jazz band, but it really started clicking that I wanted to do (DCI) about the beginning of July after seeing my first DCI competition.”

Zapf actually auditioned for two different drum corps before being offered a contract. In November, he auditioned for Crossmen, got a call back for a December camp, but did not get a contract. However, the staff noticed he had a lot of potential, and he was put into contact with other corps to potentially earn a contract. He sent in a video audition to Spirit of Atlanta and was invited to a February audition camp. That weekend, Zapf earned a contract to be part of Spirit of Atlanta.

“I was freaking out… I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day said Zapf. “I finally felt like after all the work I put in…it was all worth it in the end.”

Being a part of something huge like DCI does come with sacrifices. Camp begins in May for both Bucholtz and Zapf, so they will miss the end of the school year, and Bucholtz is even missing graduation. They will also have to miss the state solo and ensemble contest in April even though they both earned Exemplary ratings on their events.

“Personally, I know this is going to be a lot of work, and it’s going to be very painful to go through, but I feel like it’s going to be an amazing time,” said Zapf.

On July 15, 2018, both Bucholtz and Zapf will be competing at the DCI Midwestern Championship in St. Louis at The Dome at America’s Center.

Good Luck to Bucholtz and Zapf in their upcoming season!