Reuel Camacho is a multi-faceted musician who plays piano, sings, and plays percussion. He graduated from WCSU with a Bachelor’s in Jazz Drumset Performance. He has been marching in drumlines since freshman year of high school. Reuel marched for Stamford High School’s drumline from ’07 – ’11, including 4 outdoor marching band and indoor percussion seasons. During this time, he also marched for CT Hurricanes Drum & Bugle Corps (DCA World Class) from ’08 – ’11. Following these 4 seasons, he marched for Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps (DCI World Class) from ’12 – ’15. He also marched for United Percussion, an indoor winter ensemble (WGI Independent World Class) in ’12 and ’15. Throughout his drumline experience, he has always played the quads, except for one marching band season during his senior year of high school where he played snare. He has been teaching Saints Brigade Drum & Bugle Corps (DCA Exhibition) since ’13 and Westhill High School’s drumline since the Fall of ‘16. This summer, he will be spending his first summer with the Fusion Core Drum & Bugle Corps (DCA) as well as a few weeks with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps (DCI).
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Check out the below interview with Reuel!
Where did you grow up and what got you into playing drums?
I was born and raised in Stamford, CT. My love for the drums sparked when I first saw the movie "Drumline" in my later elementary school years. At that point, I got a pad and sticks and immediately began trying to transcribe what I saw in the movie, teaching myself as best as I could. Soon, I began playing drums in the school band. From that moment, it was my desire to one day be in a drumline like the ones I saw in the movie.
How has performing at the highest level of the marching percussion activity affected you?
Marching at the World Class level has affected me in many ways. First of all, it taught me discipline at a completely new level. I had been in high school drumlines and marched drum corps before, but only in the DCA circuit. Therefore, to a certain degree, I understood the mindset I had to have in order to be the best drumline member I could be. When I began marching DCI World Class with the Bluecoats, I had to learn to wake up every day and be in that mindset for the entire day throughout the entire summer with minimal breaks or free time. This was remarkably different, to say the least. It taught me to push myself to levels that I never thought I could reach. My experience with the Bluecoats also taught me a new level of organization. We never stayed at one facility for more than 3 days, most of the time not even for more than one. This required us to always be ready to be on the move at the blink of an eye, while keeping track of all our belongings. On the other hand, it was a beautiful thing to be able to travel to so many different cities and states, all the while doing the same thing; improving our production. Spending time with the same people trying to accomplish the same goal summer brought us together in a very unique and powerful way; it made us a family, even if some of us won't see each other ever again. The time we spent together as a drum corps was precious and unforgettable. Throughout the four years I marched with the Bluecoats, not only did I improve as a musician and performer, thanks to the phenomenal staff and members that I learned from, but I improved as a person.
I can say the same for my experiences with indoor percussion at the WGI Independent World Class level. Although this can relate more to DCA drum corps in the sense that we only rehearsed on the weekends, I still gained a sense of family from the members and staff I interacted with at United Percussion during the two years I marched there. It was unbelievably difficult to max out our show in the very limited time that we had during the season. Even so, being at the World Class level means that you are looked up to and that you are expected to be among the best players and performers in the world. This means, in the case of IW Class, you have to put in immense hours on your own during the week to be sure that you are pulling your weight and by the time the weekend hits, you're ready to be significantly better than the last time you played your instrument with the ensemble. This is especially a hardship for those who go to college at the same time, as I did during both years that I marched. Having to balance both also taught me a new level of organization and time management I needed in order to succeed in both school and winter percussion.
The best part of being a part of both of these World Class organizations was performing in finals. This is where all the hard work pays off, where your show is at its ultimate best and where you leave it all on the field (or on the floor). For DCI Finals, I had the luxury of performing at Lucas Oil Stadium. For WGI Finals, I was blessed to be able to perform at the University of Dayton Arena. These venues themselves are breathtaking to be inside, let alone to be performing for the crowds you can barely see the top of. Every time I performed in a finals competition with one of these groups, a season ended, but my life changed for the better.
What advice do you have for younger players aspiring to get into DCI or WGI?
My advice to younger players who dream of being in a World Class drumline would be to never take a day off! I wish that I would have made more time to practice during my marching years. I always felt as if I wasn't good enough. Nonetheless, that is how you should always feel. Get out of your comfort zone; practice what you aren't too great at rather than what you know you can play well. Do this all the time so that you expand your vocabulary and your chops. When you audition, go to a camp feeling confident. That means being able to play through all your music as best as you feel you can, with a sense of performance. You can even take the time to reach out to the technicians for the instrument you're auditioning on for some feedback on some videos you've made that aren't required for the audition process. Go out of your way; do more than you think you need to if you really want a spot wherever you may want it because there's likely someone out there who wants it more than you!