Carter Taylor spent most of his summer sleeping on buses and gym floors, but that didn’t shroud the excitement of traveling across the country with an elite group of young musicians.
The Kaneland High School senior was one of 150 musicians who traveled more than 10,000 miles with The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps. They band marched in a different city each night, starting in Lexington, Ky., on June 21 and ending in Indianapolis in mid-August.
Taylor said he had known about The Cavaliers since he was in middle school, but he didn’t try out until he met someone who had marched with the drum and bugle corps. He had tried out once before when he was 16, and made the cut when he tried out again the following year, he said. Auditions are limited to those between the ages of 16 and 22, he said.
“They have a really high performance level, and I guess that’s what really drove me,” he said. “I wanted to perform at a high level with a really good group.”
Taylor played the euphonium – a brass instrument that he said sounds like a trumpet, but lower – while marching this summer, but he said he’s been playing trombone the longest. He started learning the trombone in fifth grade and picked up the euphonium in eighth grade, he said.
To audition for The Cavaliers, Taylor said he had to play a musical piece and also prepare a visual audition, which consisted of marching.
The Cavaliers spent their first five weeks practicing for their upcoming shows. Taylor said they spent their first two weeks at Benedictine University in Lisle and then spent another three weeks at Eastern Illinois University to learn the show.
Their schedule took them through numerous states, including Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and many others.
“They had a schedule that added up to nearly 10,000 miles,” Taylor said.
The Cavaliers were founded in 1948 as a drum and bugle corps for Boy Scout Troop 111 in Chicago, according to the organization’s website.