Eric Molho is the Executive Director of Minnesota Brass; Tom Moore is the Public Relations director of the Reading Buccaneers
How would you evaluate the 2011 season?
Tom: Well, for the Reading Buccaneers, the 2011 was the complete embodiment of everything drum corps at its finest is all about: entertainment, the thrill of performance, the transforming journey, the love of family, healthy and respectful competition and the satisfaction of a job well-done.
Much has been made about the Buccaneers run of competitive success and its impact on DCA, and we’re certainly very proud of all of those achievements, but that focus sometimes obscures the corps’ most important accomplishment during this period: providing a life-altering experience for hundreds of members and leaving fans with great performances to remember. Perhaps that was more on display in 2011 than in any recent year. It was quite emotional, and emotionally satisfying. We asked our members to embrace a bold change of artistic direction for the corps, and they did with abandon. They threw themselves into a fantastic production and performed with the joy and emotion they felt all year long.
Eric: I couldn’t agree more Tom, and the same is true for Minnesota Brass. Now that a few weeks have passed and we’re starting to look ahead to 2012, I think I’ve gained some perspective on what winning the Championship has meant to our organization. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful accomplishment and great feeling, but the real success of the season has to do with all the things you mentioned. The corps worked so hard and made such lasting memories. Every year on our member survey we ask our performers the reasons they do this crazy thing called drum corps and the top two answers are always the same: the love of performing and the friendships made. Our season was successful because of ten months of work together, not one score.
Tell us about the relationship between the Buccaneers and Minnesota Brass
Eric: After prelims, we stood behind the stadium getting our pictures taken. As the final two scores were read, the corps erupted into celebration. After the initial hugs and high fives, the very first person from outside of the corps to share congratulations with me was Carl Rucco, the Staff Coordinator of the Buccaneers. His smile was genuine, his comments were humbling.
That’s the kind of organization the Buccaneers are. They were absolutely encouraging, supportive and the epitome of class throughout the weekend as we pushed each other to be even better. I can’t tell you how many Buccaneer members came over and congratulated our members during finale, how many have become fans and left notes on our facebook page. We’re lucky and proud to have such great friends with whom we compete.
Tom: One of the true joys of the 2011 season was to be part of the deepening sense of mutual admiration and respect that exists between the Buccaneers and our friends at Minnesota Brass. The growing bond between us seemed improbable, since we only had the good fortune to share the field with MBI once or twice a season. But how this team has carried itself and interacted with us, with class, grace and friendship--that starts from the top of the organization and flows down to every member--has made us true fans, and friends.
What was Championships Weekend like for your corps?
Tom: The stage was set for a very emotional Championships weekend. After the prelims scores were announced, instead of dejection and disappointment, our members were happy for MBI and motivated to deliver their best performance of the year on Sunday. Sunday’s rehearsal block was, in a word, magical. The looseness, confidence, camaraderie and fun that was emanating from the corps was palpable. We knew the Buccaneers were set to deliver an exceptional performance on the most important night of the year. We saw before our eyes that the members really understood what it was all about, all along. And it was emotional. That Sunday afternoon at Medina said more about the Reading Buccaneers than any trophy, and we all knew it. It was reflected in our Finals performance.
Eric: The weekend will always be remembered by our members. There were so many great moments that they will take with them from the downpour on finals night, to receiving a huge ovation when we arrived at the hotel after prelims. One of the things that I know I’ll always remember is the support from so many other corps. As a fan, it’s sometimes hard to see just how encouraging and supportive the corps are to one another ‘backstage.’ We received an amazing welcome from the Caballeros as we headed to the stadium on Friday night. When we arrived there, we were greeted by our friends the Govenaires in the far endzone, screaming at the top of their lungs as we entered the field. We’re so lucky to participate in an activity that takes the very best aspects of competition—the push to do better, the incentive to achieve at new levels--while leaving a lot of the negative baggage behind.
What do you remember from the finale?
Eric: To be honest, it’s still a blur for me! I was making my way through the corps, congratulating our members on the season when the last two scores were announced. It was an overwhelming feeling of pride for all the hard work the members, our volunteers and our staff had put into the season. There was a fantastic display between all the corps and especially the Buccaneers and Minnesota Brass.
Soon most everyone had left and we shared the field with the Govenaires which was also a special moment. A lot of folks may not know this, in the midst of the downpour, one of our trumpet players walked up to his girlfriend from the guard, dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. The newly engaged couple were immediately serenaded by horn players from the Govies, who spontaneously broke into the “Wedding March” when the news spread. How do you top that?
Eventually, it seemed like the whole stadium was empty and we stood there in the pouring rain savoring the moment. The pictures of amazing smiles and heartfelt tears do far more than I can to explain what it was like.
Tom: As scores were announced, it was quite emotional to see both the Buccaneers and MBI members show the class, dignity and sportsmanship that they’re known for. As the Buccaneers were announced in second place, the ovation and appreciation coming from MBI was bold and genuine. And as MBI was announced as the champions they are, the sentiment was returned. Seeing members of both corps congratulating one another in a vain attempt to dodge raindrops was a sight to behold. Seeing the words of appreciation and respect flowing in emails, Facebook postings and greetings since that weekend has been heartwarming. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Buccaneers make comments like “I’m glad it was them” or “what a great group of people.” It’s wonderful that two corps with a healthy level of mutual respect are pushing each other to be better--on and off the field. That can only mean great things for DCA and 2012!
Eric Molho (left) Tom Moore (right)