It may still be December, but Abby Rutledge has already decided how she will spend her summer.
Abby, a 2012 graduate of Barren County High School, will be marching with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from late May until early August, traveling all across the country.
“We will be in 16 different states and 33 different major cities,” she said.
Her mother, Cindy, will try to see as many of the Blue Stars performances she can, but said she doubts she will travel to Texas to see them perform.
“I will make some in Indiana and for sure the one in Lexington,” Cindy said.
She’s not happy about not getting to see her daughter during the summer.
“I’m really going to miss her this summer, but I know it’s a really good opportunity and something she’ll always remember.”
Abby, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, was inspired to audition for the Blue Stars after talking with a friend, who had marched with the drum and bugle corps for the past two years.
“He kind of, I guess, sparked my interest in actually going and encouraged me to audition,” she said.
Abby is a member of the UK Wildcat Marching Band. She spent six years as a member of the concert band at BCHS and five years as a member of the school’s marching band,playing the mellophone.
In late November, she and three other UK students packed up and traveled to Indianapolis to audition for the Blue Stars.
“We basically spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday just working nonstop at visual and music and group ensemble dynamics,” she said. “The entire camp is an audition process from the moment you walk through the door to the moment you leave. You are being watched. You are being judged.”
At the end, those who came out to audition are pulled aside and are told they have either been contracted to march with the corps, they’ve been selected for a call-back or they have been told they have potential and will need to come back for another audition after having worked on their performance.
“I was a nervous wreck the whole last day that we were there,” Abby said.
The group that turned out for the audition was composed of half rookies and half veterans.
“I knew with it being the first camp, they weren’t going to take very many of us because they have three more camps to fill spots at and they only took two rookies in [her section],” she said.
Abby is one of those rookies. About 22 auditioned for the corps that same weekend, but only 16 were accepted to perform with the corps for its upcoming season from that particular audition.
“When we found out, we were just ecstatic,” she said.
The time that has lapsed between learning she had made it and now, she said, “has been pretty cool. I almost feel like a small-town celebrity.”
Cindy is happy her daughter was selected to be a part of the corps.
“I just think it’s an awesome, awesome thing,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a great experience for her. We’re very proud of everything she has accomplished so far in her life.”
The downside of being accepted to perform with the corps is that she must pay a $3,600 tuition.
“That’s just for me to go and be a part of the Blue Stars,” she said. “That’s not having to buy things to go on tour.”
Abby is currently fundraising for her tuition.
“I’m about 20 percent of the way to my goal right now and that’s just through personal savings and four or five donors,” she said.
She has set up an online donation site for those who would like to help fund her tuition for the Blue Stars.
To make a donation, go to www.gofundme.com/5rzhzg.
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