EDMONTON — Cody Hart spent his summer break performing with the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, a professional marching band.
Being part of a professional marching band is something the Metcalfe County High School senior said he has wanted to do. When a friend told him bout MCDBC, he decided to audition.
Hart was one of 600 people ranging in age from 16-21 to audition in November at Knoxville, Tennessee for a spot with the group. Of those who tried out, only 154 made it. Hart signed a contract to perform with MCDBC in February.
He spent May 27 to June 20 in spring training, which consisted of running, working on music and learning drills, rain or shine, practicing 12 hours a day. On June 23, Hart and other members of MCDBC boarded a bus to begin a 12,000 mile tour that consisted of 24 shows in 48 days. MCDBC's performances took place in 12 states.
During he tour, Hart and other members stayed in high school gyms, sleeping on the floor, or they slept on the tour bus.
“The way I was living was a little hard and rough, but I made a lot of friends and improved my skills. Looking back it was a great experience,” he said.
The music MCDBC performed during the tour was composed by Robert W. Smith.
“We did two pieces that were like originals by him and 'Imagine,'" he said.
Hart plays the mellophone, which looks somewhat like a French horn.
“It's a bigger version of the trumpet. It was made to replicate the sound of the French horn, but the French horn was too quiet so they needed more sound, so they made the mellophone,” he said.
During the tour, he had four days in which to sight-see.
“I liked the beach. That was pretty nice,” he said, adding that he saw the beach when MCDBC was at Daytona. “But the skyline of New York, too, when we went to New Jersey.”
Hart has been in band since he was in the sixth grade, but he didn't start taking marching band until he was an eighth-grader. He continues to perform with the Metcalfe County High School's marching band.
Tyler Fenwick, director of the MCHS band, described Hart as being a hard-working student.
“Cody is that kid who goes home and kicks his own butt until it is exactly how it is supposed to be. We are very blessed to have him in our program,” Fenwick said.
Hart has qualified for all-state band for two years and is working toward making all-state band for the third consecutive year.
Being a part of MCDBC served him well and allowed him to work on his musical skills, Fenwick said.
“He's a phenomenal student. I've seen him blossom out of his shell socially and academically and really in all forms of passion. He's not the kid I met four years ago,” Fenwick said. “It's been wonderful to watch him grow.”
Clint Graham, principal at MCHS, plans to name Hart as the Student of the Month for September at the next Metcalfe County Board of Education meeting.
“Cody is an extremely hard-working student. He not only works hard, but he leads with character and he leads with integrity. For him to go around the country and represent Metcalfe County High School himself, I was honored to follow him,” Graham said. “There are a lot of people in the community who really supported him this summer. I know even the band went and saw him in Tennessee. It was a good opportunity for him. I know he learned a lot. We're just really proud of him.”
Hart said he enjoyed being able to look up into the stands and see people from back home there showing their support for him.
“I hadn't seen anyone I knew in a while. It was kind of in a slump in our season, so it brought my spirits back up,” he said.
Out of everything he experienced over the summer as a member of MCDBC, his favorite was “probably the friends I made,” he said. “I made a lot of great friends.”
As for whether he will audition again for MCDBC, Hart said he would like to but that he needed to think about it financially and educationally first.
After high school, Hart plans to attend college and study music.