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Brothers drum for DCI band

When Russellville High School student Logan Forsythe watched his brother Hank performing with the Drum Corps International Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, he knew he wanted to be a part of it, too. This summer, the brothers will perform together as two members of the five-man bass line in the World Class corps.

The corps is composed of brass players, percussionists and color guard members who are all under the age of 22. It travels all over the nation during the summer, performing in more than 40 competitions and exhibitions before a combined audience of more than 300,000 fans, according to bostoncrusaders.org.

Becoming part of the group requires making it through a rigorous audition process and then staying focused through hours and weeks of a gruelingly demanding rehearsal schedule.

Hank, who is now a junior at Auburn University majoring in marketing and minoring in psychology, first auditioned for DCI after his senior year of high school. After one summer in an open class corps, he next was accepted to the Boston Crusaders. This will be his last year with the corps, as he ages out – and his first and only year to perform with brother Logan.

“It teaches you a lot about work ethic and dedication,” said Hank. The hard work begins early in the summer – following, of course, preliminary rehearsals among smaller groups of the corps during the “offseason” from January to May – in Castleton, Vt., where the 150-member corps takes on everydays, 16-hour days of rehearsal.

“Every single day we have to play tons of reps of the same music. It’s just about getting in there, rolling up our sleeves and working hard,” Hank said.

For Logan, a sophomore at RHS, having a brother who was already part of DCI and could help him prepare for the audition was definitely an asset. “When I was in ninth grade, I remember looking up videos of Hank and other drum corps and looking at the level of professionalism they played at. I always tried to be at that level,” Logan said. Leading up to auditions, he would practice six hours a day after school, following Hank’s coaching to make his sound and style match as closely as possible what Boston was looking for for its bass line. “It was a lot of hard work … Going into auditions, I was of course a little nervous, but as the first camp went on, the nerves left.”

Hank plays the largest bass 5 on the five-man line, and Logan will play the middle, bass 3. They are both looking forward to the brother bonding opportunity. “A lot of brothers don’t get this kind of experience – spending literally three months out of the year together, every single day, playing drums,” Logan said.

The two have already spent a lot of time drumming in the offseason, both to prepare for the auditions and then as often as possible since. Hank said the preparation is resulting in a bass line that is closely in synch and bringing good performance energy to the corps.

“We’re going to be really prepared and be one of the top contenders for the season,” he said.

In Castleton, Vt., the corps will be lodged in a high school gym, sleeping on air mattresses, for the five weeks of everydays. Corps members will tackle every aspect of performance, from the music to the marching.

Logan is looking forward to “being able to perform and do what I love with my brother every day and learn from this experience.”

“This is just going to bring us closer together as brothers,” Hank agreed. “It’s a really exciting time for the both of us.”

Each brother named RHS’ Gary McNutt, Jeremy Willis and percussion instructor Scott Stephenson as mentors in their music.

Willis said its impressive to have two siblings on the same corps, particularly an up and coming group like the Crusaders, which have the chance to finish very competitively in DCI rankings this season – the group finished 12th last year, among 30 World Class corps.

“They have some world-renowned musicians teaching there,” Stephenson added, including Colin McNutt, a Vic Firth signature artist. “That’s who Hank and Logan are going to be learning from.”

“The level of dedication you have to have to pay to do this is staggering,” Willis said. “Logan and Hank both are most definitely those dedicated kids.”

For the extensive expenses required to participate in DCI, the Forsythes are accepting donations through https://www.gofundme.com/bassbros and by check, with all donations appreciated. Checks can be made to Beth Forsythe and mailed to her at 3991 Highway 22, Spruce Pine, AL 35585.

The Forsythes are the sons of Beth and Jeff Forsythe.

For a performance schedule, visit www.dci.org.

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