UC Berkeley sophomores Niko S.A. Martinez and Matt Sieve added another title to our students’ many achievements with a first-place finish at the 2014 Drum Corp International World Championships as members of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corp. The competition took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, from Aug. 7 to 9.
Martinez, a drum major, became involved with the Blue Devils last summer after being inspired to join by Ken Karlin, a high school band director. Sieve is a member of the horn line and plays the tuba.
From January to April, Martinez and Sieve attended training one weekend every month. Once they finished their spring semesters, practice ramped up to six days a week to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. practices. Practices consisted of rigorous three-hour blocks of music, visuals and ensemble rehearsal.
“The staff at BD preaches that the best teacher is yourself, and I think that’s very true for drum corps and even important in life because only you know what you need to work on individually,” Sieve said.
Leading up to the competition, the team traveled through the United States, playing shows in New York, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
“I remember one moment on tour when a bunch of kids came up to the drum majors, asking for pictures, wanting to know more about how to be a better drum major, and I believe that moments like those make it so worth being a part of the organization,” Martinez said.
You can watch their encore performance from a show in Minnesota here. Once they arrived at the competition, the team had to make it through the quarterfinals and semifinals before making it to the final stage of competition Saturday, when they took home the world championship.
“All of the hard work and determination paid off in the end. We received a record-breaking score of 99.65, shattering the old record by half of a point,” Martinez said.
“It was nice to win and get the highest score of all time, but the fact that everyone worked together for one common goal made it that much better,” Sieve said.
Both Martinez and Sieve are excited to return to the field next summer to march with the Blue Devils again.