HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — A 2014 Hopkinsville High School graduate came home over the summer while on tour playing with the Music City Drum Corps for his last year.

Music City Drum Corps is based in Nashville and spends all summer performing in different states. It started in 2009 with 47 members and grew to 64 the next year.

Collin Burnham attends Southeast Missouri State where he’s studying music and considering a future profession as a music teacher, with the end goal of being a college music professor.

Since the sixth grade, Burnham has been playing drums.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he explained. He said the bands that paraded on TV got him interested. He tried trumpet for about a month. It was quickly realized that wasn’t right for him. He wanted to play the drums.

“So, they switched me over to percussion and here I am,” Burnham said.

He was still drumming along when he got into high school. That’s when he first encountered the Music City Drum Corps during a school took a trip to Nashville. Burnham said he wanted to play with them someday.

He auditioned in December and was accepted. He trained with them for three weeks in the spring.

“By the time you’re done with that, you usually have the whole show on,” he said. The summer then consists of doing shows and tweaking the performance. This past one, Burnham and the corps traveled to 15 states and put on about 25 shows. He said there was one point where the group went from Illinois to Alabama to Georgia to Tennessee, and then back up to Illinois because of how their shows were booked.

“There’s some days you wake up don’t know what state you’re in,” Burnham said, adding that the schedule was part of the fun of it.

He said he got into it partly to learn more and partly to travel the eastern U.S., which gave him the chance to perform in front of a lot of people. He found that part to be fun.

“I got to play an instrument every day for three months, of course you’re going to get a whole lot better,” he added.

It was worth it to give up his summers with his friends in town to do this. Burnham did make a number of friends in the corps, too.

Burnham spent three years in total trying out and getting accepted. He didn’t quite expect to get in each year.

There was a chance they could have cut returning players to make room for new ones. He was happy to play as long as he did.

However, the program only allows those between 16 and 21 to perform. This is the year he ages out, which he said was bittersweet.

He is proud of watching the Music City Drum Corps grow while he was in it. The drummer also heard that some HHS students are going to follow his lead and apply this year.

His sister, Bethany, who is on the color guard team, will be applying soon, which makes him pretty proud.

“I’m sure she’ll do just fine. She’s good at what she does,” he said.

He also suggests auditioning. Even if the musician doesn’t make it in, auditions can teach them a lot and they can keep coming back to try out. He said it’s 100 percent worth it. It’s also a good resume booster.

Burnham will still follow how the corps does in the future, and may help teach with the band.

“Hopefully they will do better than we did last year and keep moving forward, growing the organization,” Burnham said.

He is ready to start other aspects of his life. This includes getting a job next summer to help pay off some of the $2,700 bill from playing this summer.

“I don’t know about rock star, but hopefully a musician somewhere doing something,” he said about his future.

Information from: Kentucky New Era, http://www.kentuckynewera.com

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