A summer of grueling practices and playing the trumpet in 26 performances in 10-plus states was all about family tradition for Lima Senior High School’s Derek Snider.
Derek spent the summer with the Legends Drum and Bugle Corps. His older brother Aaron did the same in 2011, and his grandfather, Monty Hamilton, once performed with a similar group.
“It has become a family thing to try out at least once,” he said. “It was really, really cool just knowing I was going through the same thing my brother and grandfather went through. We shared a lot of memories together.”
Derek, a senior, is the son of Lima City School teachers Tina Hamilton Shoemaker and Jeff Shoemaker.
Derek, who has played the trumpet since the fifth grade, tried out for the competitive junior drum and bugle corps in March. The group, in its 10th year, is based in Kalamazoo, Mich. He was immediately offered a spot and not just any spot. He received a lead part.
“It was really tough,” he said. “I thought I would make it but was expecting a third part, not a lead part.”
Derek was also selected to the eight-person Legends Brass Ensemble. The ensemble performed the National Anthem at the beginning of each performance.
The 108-member group spent the first three weeks in “spring training.” Members practiced 12 hours a day, getting breaks to just eat and sleep. Then they headed out on tour, hitting more than 10 Midwest states for 26 performances.
“We would show up at a random high school, sleep on an air mattresses, get up, rehearse, do a show and go onto the next place,” Derek said.
While proud to be part of the family tradition, Derek can boast (and he has to his brother) that in his year as a member of Legends, it did its record best. Each performance counts as part of a larger competition.
Legends finished 25th in the world class division and fifth in the open class division. And, for the first time the brass line earned third place in open class. The rankings earned Legends the opportunity to close out the season performing in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
“It was great. We did not know we would come this far,” he said. “I did rub it in a little bit.”
Derek credits his fellow members of Legends and each member’s willingness to give his or her best to the group’s success.
“It is great to know that the person next to you is working just as hard as you are,” he said. “This has definitely been a learning experience. It teaches you that no matter how hard you work it may not turn out the way you want, but as long as you always know you did your best, you will feel really good about what you accomplished.”
Derek is a member of Lima Senior’s Spartan Marching Pride and other school bands. He also sings in the Masterworks Choir, Scarlet and Grey show choir and Spartanaires. He’ll take what he learned over the summer and apply it to his senior year band practices and performances.
“We had a really good brass staff,” he said. “They were just amazing and taught me so much. They taught me things I would have never even thought about.”
Derek is also in the National Honor Society, DECA marketing program, and is on the Spartan golf and tennis teams.
Next year, Derek plans to attend The Ohio State University to major in computer science or engineering. He hopes to be on the field with the OSU Marching Band and plans to continue with drum and bugle corps experiences in college and beyond.