In November / December 2022, I was incredibly lucky to be invited to travel to San Francisco to attend the Blue Devils A Corps auditions to document the story of Matthew Ong – one of the first Australian’s to auditions for the A Corps.
Upon arriving at the auditions, it immediately felt like home. I had the pleasure of reuniting with old friends and was immediately made to feel welcome and appreciated in typical Blue Devils fashion.
My time in San Francisco gave me a chance to reconnect with the Blue Devils team and gain an insight into the latest developments in the Marching Percussion world. The Blue Devils are renowned for their world class program, and it was a privilege to observe the current audition process auditions firsthand. Witnessing how they run their auditions and educate the aspiring youth was a captivating experience. The dedication, talent, and discipline displayed by these young musicians and the mentorship of the Blue Devils staff reminded me of the incredible experience I had with the group during my 2015 Blue Devils International tour.
The focal point of my journey was Matthew Ong’s audacious leap into the world of the Blue Devils. As one of the first Australians to audition for the A Corps, Matthew’s story is incredibly valuable to the Australian drumline community and helps map a path for the next generation of you marching percussionists who want to shoot for the stars and perform with the best in the world. Throughout the process I filmed interviews with staff, auditionees, returning members of the group and Matthew. This provided a unique insight into the mentality of these individuals which presents a valuable perspective on what it takes to be a Blue Devil.
It was an honour to document his journey, capturing the trials, triumphs, and unwavering determination he displayed throughout the process. Matthew’s Drumline journey is just beginning and as his former teacher and mentor, I couldn’t be prouder!
Beyond the auditions, I was excited to catch up with Ralph Nader in LA during a brief stop over on the way home. Ralph gave me the full LA treatment as we hit Disneyland, explored some of his favourite parts of town and caught up with a mutual friend from Top Secret and Blue Devils, Warren Taylor.
I feel so honoured an privileged to be able to have experiences like this and to be able to call some of my own heroes friends all over the world.