Student earns skill, confidence

DeWayne Bartels
Craig Rude, a 2010 Metamora High School graduate, practices with the Legends Drum & Bugle Corps July 6 before the River City Rhapsody competition.

It was sweltering hot even in the shade at Germantown Hills Middle School July 6.

Craig Rude, and other members of the Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, Mich., however, practiced without complaint for the River City Rhapsody competition that night at Metamora High School.

Rude, a 2010 graduate of Metamora High School,  was on familiar ground. But, there was little time to reminisce. There was a competition that night.

Rude got into town at 2:30 a.m. July 5. He spent that day practicing and the next.

Rude, 18, is an incoming freshman at Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville, where he will study music, percussion performance and music business.

“I want to be able to perform and work on the business side, too,” he said during a short break. “This area has a lot of quality music education programs. There aren’t many music business opportunities though. I want to help with development, helping create partnerships between music and business.”

But, that is in the future.

Right now, he said,  he has his hands full with the Legends Drum & Bugle Corps.

Music, practice and travel is his life this summer.

His daily schedule, when not traveling, includes anywhere from six to  eight hours practice a day. Travel is a big part of the summer. The group will visit  about 30 cities and travel 8,000 miles performing this summer.   

Rude plays the vibraphone, an instrument he picked up on while in fifth grade. His love of the instrument blossomed under the tutelage of Sr. Wally Parks at Metamora High School.

“It feels unique to be part of this show. I always felt I was in a little bubble with the corps. Now, I’m experiencing a close-knit bond with them here at home,” Rude said.

“Our show is very fresh. It’s only been in our hands a few days.”

Rude said while that presented a challenge for that night’s competition, it is not all about winning.

“I’m feeling pretty confident,” he said.

“We always judge ourselves though on whether we delivered our personal best, not the score. It’s like a marathon. You just keep trying.”

Ibe Sodawalla, executive director and CEO of Legends Performing Arts Association, agreed with Rude it is not just about trophies.

“The primary thing we are trying to provide is life-skills development. We harness discipline and character. We focus on future leaders,” Sodawalla said.

Sodawalla said they look for good musicians who are coordinated, can handle vigorous physical conditioning and have character and good attitude.

Sodawalla said he found all those elements in Rude.

“He helps us. He is a very organized guy. He’s very analytical. He not outgoing, but he’s starting to come out,” Sodawalla said.

“He came in and demonstrated commitment. He’s a real asset.”

The day turned dark as afternoon progressed. At show time rain was pouring down on Malone Field at Metamora High School.

The rain delayed the competition for an hour.

At the end of the event the Legends Drum & Bugle Corps placed second in their class.

Deb Rude, Craig’s mother, summed up her son’s feelings at the end of the night. “He felt they did pretty well,” she said.