Cameron McMillan, front center, is playing a mellophone solo of Nat King Cole’s rendition of “Smile” with Eruption Drum and Bugle Corps. Photo by Hugh McMillan, KP News

One hot day in June, Eruption Drum and Bugle Corps gave a fabulous performance at Peninsula High School’s Roy Anderson Field to full bleachers. It was the “West Coast Premier Show,” a moving experience culminating in a prolonged standing ovation.

The next day, Eruption was on its way to McMinnville, Ore., to perform on July 2 followed by a show in Renton the next day. On Independence Day, Eruption showed its stuff in Seaside, Ore. and immediately headed for Pasco, where it gave another demonstration July 6. All this came after only three weeks of long daily practices.

“I’m here,” said PHS junior Nicholas Hilley, “to be a great player and to be as good as my dad and my older brother and to show everyone who’s boss.” Assistant Drum Major, Lydia Bill, a PHS grad, now a student at Pacific Lutheran University, said, “I’m here because I loved marching band in high school and wanted to experience it at a higher, more professional level. Eruption has taught me about leadership, respect, determination and pride.”

Lake High graduate Brandon Seth Mackley, “joined Eruption because music is my life. I grew up tapping on my chest. This is the time of my life.” PHS graduate Serenity Rae Moberg loves, “color guard and doing crazy things.” For classmate Geoffrey Hughes, “Music is an art form and I’m trying to keep it alive.”

Pierce Community College student Isaac Fausto, tenor drummer, said, “I enjoy the program, community, and people but most of all I enjoy drumming.” PHS graduate P. J. Hiller is with Eruption, “to further my skills in percussion and to have memories of my band family for years to come.”

Marimba player Rhonda Salsberg of Henry M. Jackson High is with Eruption, “to try something new. We don’t have marching band at my high school and I wanted to get a taste of it. The dues are affordable, and we’ve had fun. We’re creating something cool here.”

Ian Callen said “I wanted to grow as a person and musician, I wanted a challenge.” North Mason High student Sarah Palada is “a vibraphone player. This is my second year of being a part of this program. Neat things about it are performing music with other people and how much I’ve seen accomplished here.”

Gig Harbor High’s Nicholas Unger, 14, is the youngest Eruption member. He plays timpani and is, “here for more experience with my musical skills and to have fun working with others.” Vibraphonist Nick Hytreh of Auburn Mountainview High School, ““wanted to know what it was like to be in a really serious marching band.

To vibraphonist Casey Coile of Cascade High School, “Eruption has provided a great opportunity for marching and to continue outside of high school.” To PHS student Kassidy Crown, Marimba No. 2, “Eruption has been an amazing experience. I joined last year halfway through the ensemble and don’t regret it for a second. I’m here to be challenged and do what I love.”

PHS graduate Dylan Jensen, “joined Eruption to expand my musical skills. It also is physical and I get the benefit of being in shape –– and you grow as a person.”

North Mason High’s William Cochran said, “I play the ‘rack,’ all the odd little things no one else has time for. I joined because it seemed a fun way to improve my music playing.”

Eruption, started by Ryan Mclain as a free after-school percussion ensemble at PHS in 2013 with 12 members, now has 56 members, a brass section and a color guard. A non-profit 501-c-3 youth performance group, its mission is to provide quality education and a positive environment for students to show their skills in marching music arts. For information, contact Ryan McLain at (253) 592-1858 or mclainrs@yahoo.com.

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