It’s probably safe to say that Ivan Longoria is a “full blown” brass person.
As a tuba player at Gonzales High School, Longoria has his sights (and sight-reading) set on a future with the Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps.
After getting accepted into the prestigious program last year, Longoria found out he will spend this summer in a highly regimented environment that will not only test his abilities and psyche, but allow him to hone his musical skills to a whole new level while giving him a platform on which he can excel.
At 18, Longoria has played tuba since sixth grade. Originally he wanted to play clarinet, but there were a lot of clarinet players and no one on tuba, so that’s where they put him.
“Naturally I attached to tuba really quickly,” he said. “Now I’m a full-blown low brass person. Pun intended!”
Longoria says what he likes about tuba is that it’s the bass of every musical organization.
“Without the tuba there wouldn’t be any orchestra, concert band or marching band. Especially in drum corps, where the contra line is very important,” he said.
Longoria has made divisional band since he was a sophomore, and as a junior and senior he has advanced to area band.
“This year I almost made it to state — I was four chairs away,” he said.
Longoria got interested in drum and bugle corps when, last summer, he journeyed to an event called the Southwestern State Championship in San Antonio.
“I had been in awe of their corps for a long time, and I finally got up the courage to audition for them in November. I got a call back to the base camp in December, then another in January, and I got contracted in January. So now I’m officially in their drum corps in the summer,” he said.
Longoria says his tryout for Genesis was quite a challenge.
“There were different sets of music we had to play for our corps director. I had to try out for him a couple of times. Also they analyze [your work] and put it all into one score, and then you’re screened against the other people in your section,” he said.
Eventually the corps saw Longoria’s potential and work ethic, and decided he was in. And once he was in, he knew what he was in for.
“The corps tests you not only mentally but physically,” Longoria said. “Each person hits a physical wall and a mental wall. This is the point of breakdown, from going from seven in the morning til midnight every day of the week. You tell yourself you can’t do it anymore, but you’ve gotta break through. All in all, it’s 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental.”
Longoria says the Genesis show is a complex set of movements, music and choreography that spans about 10 minutes in length.
“It’s a marching show that features a lot, and very complex,” he said. “It’s supposed to be for a professional level. It’s like you have high school football, then pro football. Well corps is like professional level band.”
After his stint with Genesis this summer Longoria will further his studies at Northwestern State University in the fall, where he will major in — you guessed it — music. But for now, Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps remains the ultimate challenge. Longoria offers sound advice for others who aspire to succeed.
“Don’t stop trying. Keep pushing your limits — there’s always room for improvement. And you can do it.”
“I really want to thank my family and friends for their support,” he added. “If it wasn’t for them, I never would have made it.”