Muncie, IN - 2 weeks ago, Ball State University hosted America’s music camp, the Music for All Summer Symposium. Approximately 1,900 students and instructors took over the Ball State campus for one week with the united goal of deepening their understanding of marching band, colorguard, and orchestra through technique development, design workshops, clinics with world class instructors, and leadership opportunities.
DSI had the unique opportunity to spend the week with the color guard track, directed by Susie Harloff. The guard’s theme for the week revolved around our uniqueness, set to the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman. We saw this uniqueness showcased time after time. The track's faculty opened the week with a uniquely spectacular performance to “This is Me” from the soundtrack. Students used sessions geared toward improvisation, electives in which they could discuss their unique program needs, and some crazy cool skill sets to flex their individuality in accordance with their anthem of the week, “The Greatest Show.”
However, the uniqueness of these students and their giving staff was showcased most prominently in their leadership. Our sponsorship this week extended beyond sending students home with a free T-shirt and practice silk. We had the unique opportunity to reward students who acted out of selfless service and who lived the idea of leading by example. For instance, Julianna from Indiana was a student in the Master Class this week. DSI gifted a free Elite rifle to all Master Class students. However, Julianna approached the staff expressing that she already owned a couple DSI rifles. Most students would cheerfully take another to add to their collection, but not Julianna. She asked director Susie Harloff if she could give hers away to a student who made an impact on her that week. She chose a student named Chancelor from Missouri. Her selfless act of kindness is only one example of the “positively life-changing experiences” students can give to each other at this camp.
We witnessed students selflessly offering to help others who were away on medical, groups running mini sectionals before the start of blocks, and students who came to their own self-discovery of their strengths and weaknesses as leaders. One particular camper even took initiative to clean the quad on her own after their amazing clinic with Carolina Crown.
We are awe-struck by the positive examples of leadership these campers bring each year, and their gratitude toward their opportunities is what makes this partnership so worthwhile. And because DSI values education and supports the students in the activity, we will continue to support MFA with corporate sponsorship and the Summer Symposium for many years to come.
Danielle Lavrenz lives for pageantry and the marching arts. Passionate about colorguard, she has marched since she was in 7th grade. She marched with the Morton High School band program for a total of 6 years, including 3 years in their circuit-level winterguard. She was a 4 year camper at the Music for All Summer Symposium and marched in the 2009 Bands of America Tournament of Roses Parade Honor Band. She went on to attend Murray State University, where she studied English Education, was an active member in the MSU Racer Band, and was devoted to her sisters in the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity. She marched with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2010, 2011, and 2014 as well, earning a bronze and gold metal during her tenure. She has teched, choreographed, and directed for Marshall County High School, Calloway County High School, Bethel University, Morton High School, Waukesha North High School, and Greendale High School. Lavrenz is a member of the DSI Marketing Team and currently resides in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she teaches at Greendale High School. She is also a staff member at the Music For All Summer Symposium.