Blue Knights Alum, Brooke Vissoc, from Tipp City, Ohio is attending Wright State University and is majoring in Music Education. She was recently accepted into the United States Army Band on Trumpet.
We took a few moments to ask her some questions:
What year did you march in the Blue Knights?
Where did you attend high school?
Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City, Ohio.
Why did you choose to march with Blue Knights?
The Blue Knights were always so musical and that really struck my attention. When I heard the drum corps play “Fly to Paradise,” I knew I wanted to be a part of the group. It’s not about how loud you can play, it’s about how good you can play with a big sound.
What is your favorite drum corps memory?
When I moved in at spring training, I knew nobody. I laid my stuff down in a corner because I was kinda scared to sit next to other people I didn’t know yet. After 5 mins of sitting awkwardly by myself, I had quite a few trumpet players come up to me and ask, “Are you Brooke?” And I said, “Yeah. Who are you?” They told me they were trumpet vets and they asked me if I wanted to sit with them and get to know them and ask questions if I wanted too. Honestly that was the greatest feeling ever having people care for me and making sure I felt safe/welcomed. The family environment is what made me love the Blue Knights more and more every day.
How did your experience with Blue Knights prepare you in your audition for the United States Army Band?
The Blue Knights brass staff made me think about how I play the horn. I’ve been used to playing with a lot of pressure which was just doing damage to my playing. I had a few one-on-one sessions with the trumpet tech, Danny, and he helped me quite a bit. Also, Brad would always have us play a low Bb as soft as we could so we could get our chops going for the day. I loved how the brass staff cared for us, especially with our chops. The way we practiced our music, I actually apply the same techniques to my college playing, especially when playing fast runs. Slow it down, and play it as soft as possible to start out. Right before my Army Band audition, I said to myself, “Remember that time when you played ‘Away’ for the last time, and you cried? That’s how much you love music. That’s how much you want this dream to come true.”
What are some the Blue Knights’ core values/principles that have resonated with you in life?
To always be kind to one another. If someone is feeling down, bring them back up. Also, to be a great team leader. Last season I was all about running in my free time since we really never ran for PT. Some people would ask me, “Where did you go?” And I would say, “I went running.” They thought I was crazy! I’d always motivate people to be at their best no matter what. Whenever you have time to get better, use that time to get better, because you only have 85 days to do so.
What advice would you tell someone considering trying out for the Blue Knights?
The worst thing you could possibly do is not audition. People will say, “Oh I’m too young” or, “I’m not good enough.” First of all, you never know until you try. Throw yourself out there. Show the staff who you are and that you’re capable of doing the impossible. I told myself I wasn’t good enough for DCI so I marched DCA in 2015. I did learn a lot from that experience just from marching on weekends. The following year, I went to Blue Stars scared out of my mind thinking I wasn’t good enough. But sure enough, I was good enough. I got contracted the first night of November camp. And look at me now a year after that. I marched with the Blue Knights AND I made the Army Band. If you have a dream in mind, do everything in your power to make it happen. It may not happen right away, but you’ll get there. Always have confidence in yourself.