In his own words...
I discovered Drum Corps when I was a junior in high school by watching Ivan Pachecos I&E solo on YouTube. Soon after I learned about DCI and I was in awe; I spent tireless hours watching countless shows and other I&E solos. I wanted nothing more than to march with a DCI corps and I didn’t care what it took. My senior year in high school I auditioned for the Stockton Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps on tenors, but since I was so new to the activity playing and marching proved to be a challenge so I moved to the pit. Unfortunately, soon after they folded.
When I entered Modesto Junior College I signed up for the percussion ensemble class with Dan Bryan. As time went by he guided me through my music career, helped me get my first teaching job in Modesto, and urged me to march in Drum Corps. In 2008 I auditioned for Fever, and while I struggled to keep up, I was determined. Eric Melson, who was the caption head at the time, decided I’d be better for the ensemble in the pit. Later in years when we were instructing together, he told me that he really liked my attitude and drive for the activity.
In 2009 I was in the San Francisco Renegades Drum and Bugle Corps’ front ensemble. It was the first time I played mallets in an ensemble. It was a great experience since previously I had little training --the vets and instructors really took me under their wing. To this day, I am very grateful for everyone who helped me that season. During DCA championships I performed in the I&E percussion ensemble with the Renegades and we won, making me and my fellow musicians I&E gold medalists.
The following year I auditioned for Mandarins, which was when I met the three instructors who I would model myself after as a teacher: Gary Smith, Sean Gordan, and Richard Legrerette. A week before training camp, about two-thirds of the mallet line quit so the instructors brought in students from the various ensembles they taught. The Mandarins 2010 Front Ensemble was made up of Pulse Percussion, Ayala, Fresno State, and other musicians from the Southern California area. All of them are amazing players, and I found myself playing catch up! That year I aged out with the Mandarins, and reflecting back on it -- the musicians I marched with, those who taught me, and the persistence I managed to maintain -- I wouldn’t change that experience for the world.
My first writing experience was at Pitman High school in Turlock for the 2009 winter season. After that season, the school had to let the staff go due to lack of funding. I soon found my place at Enochs High School in Modesto. The band program was in a rebuilding year; they had a new band Director, and the previous staff had left. There was only one returning member in the front ensemble from the previous season, so I had my work cut out for me. As years went by, those students became the hardest working musicians I have had the pleasure of instructing, and they pushed me to become a better instructor, musician, and writer. They are one of the biggest reasons why I followed through with my age out season in 2010. They’ve climbed the ranks in the CVGPC circuit, and they currently compete in Open class with Beyer High School.
I started teaching and writing so I can provide a service to less fortunate programs. I came from a high school where the school district cared more about the sports programs than academic programs like music. If you went to my old high school today you would find a program with about twenty students, instruments that are falling apart, and a teacher who has to jump between the high school, the middle school, and the two elementary schools. Doctor Sabre, the man who taught me theory at MJC, believes that music should be a core class and not an extra-curricular. My previous high school’s testing scores did not meet the 2012 school-wide growth target in 2012 and the two high schools in the Modesto area with thriving music programs scored high -- I do not believe this is a coincidence.
My long-term goal is to become a Music Director so I can fight to change the academic priorities in some of these school districts. I’m an idealist, a kid who has something to prove, but above all else, I’m a fan and enthusiast of the activity. I absolutely love what I do and I hope to reflect that in my peers and students.
Comments from D'Rumpus
We really appreciate Greg’s depth of experience. He has had to overcome a lot during his musical career and we think he’s much the stronger for it. His music is very intentional and well thought out -- it’s got a great blend of application, technique, and theory. He’s got a huge heart and a passion for music that we can relate to; he's a perfect fit in the D’Rumpus family!
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
- DCA 2009 I&E Percussion Ensemble Champions (P)
- Enochs High School 2011 CVGPC Scholastic A Champions (E) (M)
- Ceres High School 2012 CVGPC Scholastic A Champions (E)
- Savage Middle School 2012 CVGPC Middle School Champions (E)
- Gustine High School (E)
- Davis High School (E) (M)
- Pitman High School (E) (M)
- Enochs high School (E) (M)
- Ceres High School (E)
- Gregori High School (E)
- San Francisco Renegades Drum and Bugle Corps (P)
- Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps (P)