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NFM High students travel country with prestigious drum corp

By Staff | Aug 31, 2009

They traveled through 32 states to competed in 29 events from June 11 to Aug. 9, with the prestigious Pioneer Drum Corp., part of Drum Corp International (DCI).
North Fort Myers High School students Stephanie Wise and Clarrisa Domrase were part of “Team Florida,” which competed in major events in top NFL and college stadiums.
The girls were introduced to the drum organizations by Oscar Escobar of North Fort Myers High School’s Music Department. Escobar himself had competed with the prestigious music organization. He has come to the school from Estero High School, and was part of DCI for many years.
“I was part of the Boston Crusaders,” he said. “I’ve been involved with the drum and bugle corp since 1997.
“I think it is important for our kids to have exposure and be involved in different types of organizations — get exposure to multiple aspects, things you can do,” he continued.
Both students said it was an excellent experience.
Domrase’s mom, Barbara Cox, said her daughter came home ready to go out as soon as possible and do it again.
“She absolutely loved it,” Cox said. “I think it matured her as they went out all over the United States. Though sometimes with the schedule, she said she had to ask what state they were in.”
Stephanie Wise’s mom, Sharon Wise, is the president of the North Fort Myers High Band Boosters, and agreed it was an incredible journey for her daughter.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” she said. “They have about 20,000 that audition every year. The group selected is about 3,500. It was a fabulous experience for her.”
She also credited local North Fort Myers businesses with helping to sponsor the student’s trip.
The Wise family traveled to Atlanta to see one leg of the competition, as that was the closest national location. All of the competitions were held in top notch fields, including the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium and at LSU.
“It really was fun,” said Stephanie. “We rode on a bus at night through the 32 states and practiced in the day, and competed.”
“A lot were from the area — Team Florida sat on the bus together,” said Clarissa.
Stephanie plays the mellophone — a marching French Horn — and Clarissa plays the trumpet.
Both plan on competing with DCI in the future because of how much they enjoyed the experience.
Competitors age range is 14 to 21. The average age of their team was 14 1/2, said Escobar.
New North Fort Myers High Band Director James Samz said it was an excellent experience for his students.
“With the band itself, we are continuing the long tradition of excellence that has always been in North Fort Myers High School, and I am telling the kids we are in a new era with that tradition of excellence,” he said.
Samz moved from Estero High School bringing Escobar with him.