Former Mineola drum major forms non-profit to assist band students
Brian Lyke, Mineola ISD graduate and former drum major, is using his experience and passion for marching band to guide other ambitious young people to success on the field and in life.
Along with four other college students, Lyke has incorporated a nonprofit mentorship program, The Performers Among Us, to help students who are interested in enriching their lives through Drum Corps International navigate the road from high school to college and beyond.
Lyke began band in middle school as many students do. By eighth grade, he recognized it as a major part of his life and says he made the decision then to be a band director one day.
In high school, Lyke started as a flute player and ended as the drum major. As a junior in 2015, MISD advanced to state competition and earned third place. Until then, the band had never made it to area finals.
“Until (director Chris) Brannan, MISD was decent, but when Brannan came, it became exceptional. He took the program to the next level,” says Lyke.
Brannan’s leadership took Lyke to the next level, too, pushing him toward college band and wanting to be in Drum Corps International.
“The skills I learned playing an instrument and leading my peers as drum major has made me who I am today,” says Lyke.
Right after graduation, Lyke jumped into the Drum Corps world and fell in love with it.
“DCI is band on steroids,” states Lyke in comparing Drum Corps International to high school marching band. For nearly a half century, Drum Corps International, Marching Music’s Major League™, has been the leader in producing events for the world’s most elite and exclusive marching ensembles for student musicians and performers.
DCI supports numerous programs around the globe while sanctioning participating recognized drum corps, SoundSport® performance ensembles and DrumLine Battle™ teams performing in more than 100 competitive events that make up the annual Drum Corps International Tour.
Lyke is a member of Houston-based Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps where he is the head drum major. Once a month, he travels to Houston for a weekend gig. During the summer, the group lives in school gyms, learning a full show in three to four weeks. They then tour the country on charter buses and compete with other groups for two months.
When the summer competitions are over, Lyke heads back to A&M Commerce just in time to start college summer band. He will graduate next fall with a degree in liberal studies with a concentration in fine arts administration.
Among his many plans and the many opportunities available to him, Lyke intends to return to Mineola as a teacher and as a band consultant for small schools in the area. He will also stay involved in DCI to develop their future member leadership and alumni participation.
Lyke says that most of the people in Drum Corps are not music education majors, but they recognize the value it adds to their lives. Like him, they pay $4,000-$5,000 out of pocket yearly to learn the beneficial skills that competitive band teaches and to network with other like-minded people.
Lyke wants other students to have the opportunity he’s had, but recognizes that many simply don’t have enough information on what’s available to them or the funds to get involved.
“Mineola produces a lot of quality musicians. I want to bring in more Mineola people to Drum Corps,” he says.
The Performers Among Us, the nonprofit Lyke has helped create, will mentor students on how to get scholarships, audition for music school, network with college professors and much more.
At the end of the initial mentorship program, they want to help students get the Drum Corps experience, where they believe students will develop important life skills by teaching them how to fundraise. Additionally, The Performers Among Us plans to match those fundraising dollars.
After a student’s first summer in Drum Corps, the student’s mentor will debrief them and show them how to use the skills they’ve developed for college or their career.
“No matter their background or where they come from, we want to help them represent their school and town in the highest level of music community which is Drum Corps,” he said.