Miller comes back after winning award
Bakersfield College student Dom Miller has returned home from the Drum Corps International World Class Championships as percussionist rookie of the year.
In late 2011, Miller auditioned and was chosen to play drum set and percussion in the front ensemble for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, a competitive musical organization based out of Ohio.
Bakersfield motorists might have spotted Miller earlier this year playing his drum kit and singing over roaring engines at various intersections around town in hopes of raising the $2,500 touring fee cost. Through fundraising and two drum line teaching jobs at East and, his alma mater, West High School, Miller exceeded his goal and accumulated over $4,000.
Since then he has completed a three-month national summer tour of 13-hour practice days and grueling competitions. The Bluecoats contended at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis earlier this month showcasing their best 12-minute musical performance.
For the competitor portion of the show, Miller said the season went well. The Bluecoats placed in the bottom of the top six and finished secondin the percussion section. For Miller, it was a bittersweet end to the summer, as he believes they should have won first place.
Miller’s multi-percussionist playing caught the eye of the judges and earned him the coveted rookie of the year award, a title he was surprised and excited to receive.
“In drum corps, the percussion player doesn’t get too much credit,” he said. “Hearing the percussion judge say something good about me, that really boosted my confidence.
“That made my day.”
He also received a plaque by cymbal manufacturer Zildjian, which he credits to his own drum rig having a wide array of cymbals suspended atop his kit topped off with wind chimes, and a thunderous sounding bass drum and gong to match.
Playing for the Bluecoats has allowed Miller to network, and he has been offered a position to drum for Pulse Percussion, one of the top four winter percussion programs in the nation.
For the time being, Miller has a busy academic schedule, which he admits prevents him from picking up a pair of drumsticks as much as he would like.
He now utilizes a different wooden tool to further his drumming career: a pencil.
A love for Legos and the creative process led him to major in mechanical engineering.
“I’ve always been interested in the aspect of designing something and seeing how things work,” he said.
“When I was a child I used to sit with Legos all day seeing what I could build.
“It lets me free my mind of whatever I’m thinking about.”
Miller aspires to work in the music industry designing and improving drum equipment.
“My major will allow me to continue drumming so I don’t have to necessarily get a real job,” he said.
“Music is one of my passions in life. It’s something that I’m good at, and I don’t want to give it up.”