There are few things more rewarding than acquiring a dream. Often, doing so, takes a lot of time, determination and dedication.
Clayton Windle knows all about the road to success - he has spent several years and traveled several miles trying to get there.
Windle, a 2007 graduate of Miami High School and a 2009 graduate of NEO A&M, is auditioning for one of 18 spots on this year’s Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.
The Bluecoats are made up of 150 young men and women between the ages of 15 and 22 and are long-term members of Drum Corps International (DCI), a governing body that facilitates a competitive drum and bugle corps tour across the United States each summer.
They travel over 10,000 miles and compete in about 30 performances each season as participants in DCI's annual tour.
Members rehearse up to 14 hours per day perfecting their 11-minute competitive program. They sleep on high school gym floors in sleeping bags during the summer tour.
Windle will be traveling to Ohio this weekend for Bluecoats camp, which will prepare him for audition.
Windle said the auditions are “intense” and traveling is expensive.
So, why does he do it?
“I love music,” said Windle. “I think it’s pretty amazing that more than 200 people can play together and it sound so amazing - that fascinates me.”
Windle said it was his older brother that inspired him to join band in middle school.
“He always looked like he was having so much fun and I was just fascinated by the whole thing,” said Windle.
During his band career, Windle has masterd tuba, trombone and trumpet. He has played in a jazz band and a Christian praise band.
“Music has always been my main focus,” said Windle.
Currently a member of the Oklahoma State University band, Windle has traveled as far as Washington D.C. and Hawaii in his 10-year band career. He has performed in the Cotton Bowl and the Rose Bowl Parade. He was part of the Oklahoma Centennial All-Star marching band, played in orchestra for Grove Baptist Church and received many awards for his performances.
"Band takes you so many places — for free," said Windle. "I don’t think there is an activity in high school that will take you farther than band."
And, according to Windle, the friendships you form are priceless.
Unfortunately, auditioning for the Bluecoats and, if selected as one of the elite, traveling with them this summer is quite expensive.
The Bluecoats travel over 10,000 miles and compete in about 30 performances each season as participants in DCI's annual tour.
While he has raised enough money to get him through the first camp in Ohio, he still has two trips to Texas, a trip to California and a second trip to Ohio as part of the audition process. Each of the trips will cost between $500 - $800. In addition, those selected to the Bluecoats are responsible for their travel expenses throughout the summer.
An account has been set up at Arvest Bank, 1405 N. Main, Ref. Blue Coats, c/o Clayton Windle; for anyone wishing to support Windle in pursuing his dream.