Serves His Country in the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JULY 23, 2014 – Ramiro De Leon, a
Winter 2012 graduate of The University of Texas
at Brownsville, serves and represents his country in a special capacity –
as a member of the prestigious United States Marine Drum & Bugle
the only active duty drum and bugle corps in the armed forces.
Corporal Ramiro De Leon and his former music professor, Dianne Brumley, at Marine Barracks Washington after an Evening Parade on Friday, June 20, 2014.
past 18 months for De Leon have taken him from Marine Corps recruit training,
or “boot camp,” to his new home at Marine Barracks Washington, known as the
“Oldest Post of the Corps.” As a member of the Drum & Bugle Corps, he has
traveled about 50,000 miles and performed in around 500 events across the
nation and abroad. Recently, De Leon was on stage at Avery Fisher Hall in
Lincoln Center, New York, for three days of Fourth of July concerts with the
New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tuesday evenings throughout the summer months, the unit performs regular Sunset Parades at the Marine Corps War
at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. On
Fridays during the summer, the traditional Evening Parades take place at Marine
Barracks, always with a guest of honor in attendance. One Friday evening in June, President Barak
Obama was in the stands; the Friday before that, one of De Leon’s UTB music
professors, Dianne Brumley, sat proudly in
Ramiro was a music student in my class at UTB, I knew he was an exceptional
young man,” said Brumley, Professor Emeritus, who retired from UTB in 2013.
“Seeing him perform with the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corp, I was
assured my perception was correct. It was such an honor to watch him and to
know he is my former student and a UTB graduate.”
Leon began his long march to becoming a part of this Marine unit, referred to
as “The Commandant’s Own,” when he joined the
school band in sixth grade at Ida Diaz Junior High
in Hidalgo, Texas.
guess I picked out the trumpet to be my instrument because it was ‘loud and
shiny,’ and I liked it immediately,” De Leon said.
that moment on, De Leon was a band member, continuing in the marching band at Hidalgo High School.
band director at in high school, Mr. Jorge Lozano, wanted us to attend
competitions as much as possible,” De Leon said. “With Mr. Lozano’s
encouragement and a good band booster club, I was able to travel in high school
before graduating in 2007.”
Leon enrolled at South Texas College and started his freshman
year with his sights set on studying optometry.
kept hearing good things about the UTB Music Department, and I was finally
honest with myself and admitted I wanted to make music my career,” he said. “My
family is very traditional, and no one had ever been connected to the music
profession; at first, I know my parents were a little hesitant, but they
understood and have always been very supportive.”
Leon transferred to UTB and began the regimen of a music education major.
in the UTB Music Department is so talented, and all the professors put such
passion and heart into their teaching; I was fortunate to learn from all of
them,” he said.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps.
a music education major, De Leon spent his last semester student teaching at three
Brownsville schools: Pace High School, Manzano Middle School and Peña Elementary
teaching was a challenging, yet a gratifying and fulfilling experience,” De
Leon said. “It made me realize that after so many years of being a musician, I
was finally equipped with the knowledge and ability to leave a positive
impression on young minds, very much like my teachers once did with me. It was
really eye-opening to realize that I was becoming like the people I most
Leon’s three summers while at UTB continued to be filled with music as a member
of non-profit drum and bugle corps organizations open to musicians worldwide ages
14-21. He performed with Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps from San Antonio
during the summers of 2008 and 2009; and in the summer of 2010, he was a member
of Phantom Regiment Drum
and Bugle Corps from Rockford, Illinois.
competitive corps perform across the nation, culminating at the Lucas Oil
Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the corps compete in the Drum Corps International – World Championship Finals.
wouldn’t give anything for my time with Revolution and Phantom Regiment,” De
Leon said. “Physically, it is a rigorous summer commitment, a great way to
develop self-discipline, grow musically, and make plenty of friends across the
country. Rehearsals were exhausting and consumed your entire life for the
summer, but it was so much fun and everyone loved the competition. Being a part
of Drum Corps International helped prepare me for what I am doing now.”
into the United States Marine
Drum & Bugle Corps is a highly competitive and lengthy process. Well before
graduating from UTB in December 2012, De Leon went through his first audition
in November of 2011; his final audition was the following spring.
had been working very hard all year with Dr. Brownlow for my senior recital,
and I felt confident by the time the final audition came around,” he said.
he does not know how many years he will serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, De Leon
has a long-range plan.
has been good to me; among other things, it has been a way for me to see a lot
of our country and the world,” he said. “My student teaching experience
reaffirmed my ultimate goal of returning to the Valley and becoming a music
teacher in the city of Brownsville, which was so good to me for four years.”
more information, visit the UTB Department of
or call 956-882-8247.
more information on the United States Marine
Drum & Bugle Corps, visit the official website.