#123 Tom Aungst- Composer & Educator for The Cadets, Dartmouth Public Schools & More!
This week’s guest is Tom Aungst. Tom is the Director of Percussion at Dartmouth Public Schools in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. His job includes teaching percussion students at all levels of the program, from the beginners starting in 5th grade, to the middle and high school students. Mr. Aungst has been in the Dartmouth school system for the past 24 years. Under Tom's direction, Dartmouth has participated in the WGI indoor percussion activity since 1998, capturing five World Class Percussion Championships (1998, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2014) and has consistently placed in the top three.
Mr. Aungst has also been involved in the drum corps activity for over 36 years. Tom has recently returned to The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps as the Caption Head and Arranger for the 2017 season. He was formerly the Caption Head for Carolina Crown in 2015 and 2016. Mr. Aungst got his start in drum corps in the late 70's by marching with the Reading Buccaneer's all-age corps, winning two DCA World Championships in 1979 and 1980. In 1981 Tom became involved with The Cadets, first as a member from 1981-1984, then as the Percussion Arranger and Caption Head through 2008 and later returning as a consultant in 2013. While with the corps, Tom was involved with capturing nine championships and seven percussion awards. Mr. Aungst has always remained actively involved in the drum corps activity, recently writing for the Cadets2 corps in 2013, and working with various groups like the Blue Stars, Pacific Crest, Hawthorne Caballeros, and the Connecticut Hurricanes. Tom is a member of The Cadets, Drum Corps International and the WGI Halls of Fame.
Mr. Aungst is a graduate of West Chester University, where he received his Bachelor's in Music Education and also has a Master's in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University. He is also a proud father to Alan Aungst and Noah Aungst.
Educational Spotlight for this week……
Students of all levels, aged 15 years and older, are invited to the Oberlin Percussion Institute. Also, KoSA Music has an upcoming percussion camp in Montreal with the great Steve Gadd and Antonio Sanchez, as well as other events throughout the year.
Damon spent the weekend in the Northeast playing at Cisco Brewers in Portsmouth, NH, stopping by the Drum Center of Portsmouth and attending a benefit honoring Thom Hannum and his 40th year at Umass Amherst. Marcos performed in Charlotte, NC with Carlos Henriquez. (Disclaimer: this is not the video from Charlotte, but a similar line-up from a recent event).
Product reviews for this week…..
Damon is the proud owner of the A&F Pancake Snare, and got a couple of Big Fat Snare Drum mufflers to alter the sound of it. A&F drums are etched by the famed drum engraver John Aldridge. Damon mentions the no drill suspension mounting bracket by Inde drum company. They also have a bunch of other cool products. The Tom Spring from British Drum Company is a break through for resonance! You can mount your rack tom on any snare stand without loss of sustain using Tomspring. Marcos mentions the Banda Snare by LP in yet another live performance and is still in love with it! The traditional use for the Banda Snare is in Mexican Banda music, (you can read more about Banda Music HERE), but the drum can be used in all types of settings and situations.
May is Mental Illness Awareness Month. So check on your friends and make sure they are alright. There’s a new study that says 73% of musicians suffer from some sort of that illness, so if you need help, please reach out. The new therapy app Damon mentions is Talk Space where you can talk to your therapist in a multitude of different ways from texts, to emails, to phone calls and more.
Music News for this week…..
Michael Lang Now Needs Another $30 Million by Friday to Save Woodstock 50. Step up if you have some cash to help him out. I think he takes Venmo or Cash App. If you are looking to make the switch from part-time to full-time musician, these are the The 10 Best Day Jobs for Aspiring Full-Time Musicians. The blog post Damon wrote ages ago of other jobs that are in the music industry that don’t involve playing an instrument can be found by CLICKING HERE.
The music going into the interview is from “The Lot” in the year 2000. The Cadets drumline warming up.
Tom started taking lessons in Pennsylvania with John Rozum.
His first drum corps experience was in 1979 with the Reading Buccaneers.
Shout-out to Darcie Aungst for her position at the Cadets as the program coordinator, taking expertise from previous bands and drum corps that she has worked with.
Tom is able to teach in the Dartmouth school system and work with kids from elementary school through high school reiterating the same techniques and approach for each level of schooling from about 9-10 years old all the way to age 18.
If you are looking to perform with a WGI Indoor Drumline, click on THIS LINK, pick your class and location and it will help you find some groups in your area.
You can hear some of the electronics Tom talks about in this video with the Cadets Pit/Front Ensemble.
You can see the set ups in the Front Ensemble with each person at a “station”……
The website FloMarching is what Tom mentions with being able to see all sorts of videos and behind the scenes content in various drum corps.
Shout-out to Brandon Carrita for helping with the front ensemble, and most notably the audio and electronics.
The company Tom uses to get the rights to “popular” music for arranging is called Tresona. Damon mentions companies for recording cover tunes and getting the rights. One of those companies is called Easy Song Licensing (dot) com.
Tom mentions how there are no more videos put out by DCI (Drum Corps International) because of copyright issues and royalties.
Here is the piece by Michael Daugherty titled Niagara Falls. Damon mentions Johan de Meij, the Dutch composer who wrote the Lord of the Rings suite. Tom mentions how David Holsinger was more receptive to working with the arrangers at the Cadets in the years 1992 and 1993.
Tom started writing digitally with Finale first, but has since switched to Sibelius and regularly uses it for all his charts. Added bonus you can get a discount with Sibelius if you are a teacher or a student. Tom is responsible for getting Thom Hannum to switch to Sibelius as well.
This is the movie clip from the movie Drumline with Nick Cannon, where you can see in the background the drum notation software. Groove Scribe is a drum notation software that is predominantly for drumset grooves. However, there is no software as of this point where you can play drums into a surface and have what you are playing notated into music writing software……yet.
Virtual drumline is a package you can use with Sibelius that will give you authentic percussion sounds in a more expanded library.
This gentleman has come up with a solution for memory loss when a Dr. Beat battery dies (or is changed).
Tom shouts-out the parent organization in Dartmouth that helps him pull off some of the large feats. That group is called the Dartmouth School Music Association.
You can catch Tom on tour this summer with the Cadets.
You can follow Tom on Facebook.
The music leading out of the interview is from the 1989 Cadets drumline warming up in Allentown, PA.