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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Esprit de (drum) corps: Annual camp underway at Lake Murray

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  • The sound of drums and a flurry of color have invaded Lake Murray this week.
    The 11th annual Red River Drum and Auxiliary Camp is for high school and middle school drumline members, color guard members and drum majors. This year, there are 310 campers from 70 different schools in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. Local schools attending include Ardmore, Davis, Dickson, Kingston, Lone Grove, Plainview, Ringling and Wilson.
    "We learn endurance and experience at the same time," says Savana Folsom, junior snare drummer at Ringling High School.
    Campers will perform a closing ceremony at noon Friday at Lake Murray Lodge Patio. The performance is free and open to the public.
    Instructors are pulled from colleges and high schools across Oklahoma and Texas.
    Ardmore band director Chauvin Aaron attended the camp as a student at Ardmore High and now works as a drum major instructor for the camp.
    "It's a great opportunity to give back to an organization I once participated in," Aaron says. "It's exciting to see students learn and become better musicians and leaders."
    Despite rising supply costs, the camp was able to keep camper fees to a minimum through sponsors. Also, Tama Drums Inc., based in Tokyo, donated drums used for the camp.
    "It's cool that our little camp is known internationally," says Jack Francis, camp director. "Tama got on board because they love youth and saw us giving back to kids."
    For campers that travelled from farther away, Oklahoma was a culture shock.
    "At first, I didn't like it because it was a big culture shock, but it got better as they embraced us," says Laura Manjarrez, senior drum major at Luther Burbank High School in San Antonio.
    Yet, the students still learned a lot and found the camp highly beneficial both in and out of sessions.
    "It's a lot different than San Antonio. We do more rudiments here, which I can use back in San Antonio," says Kaitlyn Killebrew, eighth-grade percussionist at Eisenhower Middle School in San Antonio.
    "We learned how different cultures work and can take that back with us," says Sergio Arambula, junior drum major at Luther Burbank High School.
    Many of the skills learned are ones campers plan to incorporate into their own schools during the coming school year.
    Jordan Rymer, sophomore with the Wilburton color guard, is in her second year of color guard and her first year attending the Red River Camp.
    "I'm learning a lot. I'll definitely be doing more stretching and more difficult stuff this year," she says.
    Even veterans to the camp, like Alex Millbrooks, a junior on the Pride of Ardmore Color Guard, are still developing skills. Millbrooks has participated in the camp for three years.
    Page 2 of 2 - "My legs are killing me," she says. "It's fun, but more difficult this year. I wasn't expecting rifles because I haven't used them since freshman year."
    The camp also provides an opportunity for members of the same color guard or drumline to bond.
    "I'm glad I came. It's fun to go outside with our group," says Raven Johnson, a senior on the Ardmore color guard.
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