Testimonials

DIRECTORS

“We have performed for many prestigious international events and won numerous competitions in Canada
thanks to the excellent training at the Smith Walbridge Flag and Rifle Clinics.”
— Tricia Morris Avantguard colorguard, Calgary, Canada  Flag and Rifle Clinics

“Our marching band recently won the national championship in Puerto Rico. This is the direct result of the
training our students received at the various Smith Walbridge Clinics. We plan to continue sending our
section leaders, flags, percussion, directors and drum majors to the SWC in the future, in spite of the
expensive travel expenses.”
— Luis Antonio Hernández Martínez Cayey Marching Band, Puerto Rico  All Clinics

“We usually send 30-50 participants to the various Smith Walbridge student and directors clinics and
workshops each summer. There is no question this has had a profound effect on our total band program.
Our competition scores skyrocketed after we started attending SWC.”
— Wyatt Roberds Granite City HS, Granite City, Illinois  All clinics

“I have sent students to both SW drum major and leadership camps. One thing I appreciate about the
drum major camp is that they work with whatever conducting style the drum majors bring from their home
school. I also like that if a student goes back to SWC, there are advanced classes they can take so they
are learning something new the second, third or fourth summer. The leadership weekend – they’ve a
great staff and a lot of solid instruction on leadership over two days. This is a great camp for your students.”
— Jim Tallman Washington HS, Washington, Illinois  All Clinics

“The Smith Walbridge Camp is a place where the history, the tradition and the future of bands intersect.
Many of America’s finest music educators, band conductors and instrumental performers are alumni of
this famous institution, and without doubt, this heritage will continue for decades to come.”
— Professor Thomas Leslie Director of Bands, UNLV   All Clinics.

 

STUDENTS

Shadezja Garrett
Drum Major, North Chicago, IL
SWC CHANGED MY LIFE! I BET A MILLIONS BUCKS THAT THERE ISN’T A CAMP OUT THERE THAT HAS INSTRUCTORS, DEDICATED LEADERS, OR SPIRIT LIKE SWC.  SWC FOREVER!!!!

Emily Alicia Hooks
Leadership Workshop, Nashville, IL
Hi, I’m Emily Hooks and I attend Nashville Community High School in Nashville, Illinois. I went to the Leadership Workshop, Drum Major week 1, and the Mace Clinic of 2011. This was my first year ever attending the clinics and I have to say, they were life changing to say the least. The Leadership Workshop, along with all the other clinics, taught me that you Have to have confidence and a positive …attitude in order to achieve your goals and motivate others. The valuable life lessons that you learn here can’t be read or explained, it is a living, breathing, and growing example of something you have to experience to get the full effect. This camp is more than just a learning opportunity to make yourself a better musician/leader, but it is a valuable opportunity to grow as a person. I walked away from this camp with a better understanding of who I am and what it takes to be a leader while giving your heart and soul into doing what you love. I am eternally grateful, Thank You.

Debbie Xie
Flag and Rifle, Duke University
My name is Debbie Xie.  I graduated from Naperville North in 2010 and am entering my second year at Duke University. I attended the drum major clinic in 2009, and was an intern for 2010 during which I participated in the flag/rifle clinic. I had almost zero color guard experience prior to that summer, and I had a fantastic time learning new things. I got to spend three weeks with some amazing people, while putting together an awesome dance number which I subconsciously do every time I hear any of the songs. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this summer, and it was honestly one of the most upsetting things I have had to endure. I saw so many of my friends returning to have a fantastic time, while I lived the SWC experience vicariously through their Facebook pictures. At Smith Walbridge, I have made life-long friendships and met so many fantastic people, and I only wish that everyone who goes through this program does as well.

Kaleb Miller
Canton, IL:  Drum Major
I can’t put into words just exactly how much I benefited from the Smith Walbridge Drum Major Clinic. I left this camp with more confidence and took pride in knowing that I had the very best training to not only direct my band, but be a better leader. With a five star group of eager staff members it was next to impossible to let a mistake slip through. They were always somewhere to be found, and whenever a problem arose they were more than happy to help you through it. There is no doubt that I wouldn’t recommend anywhere but Smith Walbridge to future drum majors. Thank you for everything!  

Carmen Acord
Drum Major Clinic Gillette, Wyoming
Smith Walbridge was by far the best camp I’ve ever gone to. Granted it was freakishly hot the whole week, I had a ton of fun and made a ton of new friends! Can’t wait till next year!

Maggie Schroeder
Schaumburg, IL  Drum Major Clinic,
I have learned more about leadership from this camp than from any other class/book/lecture. This is a great way for fellow drum majors to work together :) THANK YOU SO MUCH STAFF AND INTERNS!!! you are thought of often .

Emma Thompson
Bettendorf, IA  Drum Major Clinic
This camp was probably the best week of my life and I already miss it! In one week I went from strutting my stuff to getting first class, thanks so much to all the wonderful staff for such a memorable experience.

Nicki Yaneck
Bolingbrook, IL  Drum Major
Best experience I could ever have! I miss it already. Can’t wait for next year! Children of the core!

Matt St. Germain
Brighton, MI
System + Spirit = Success. I love this camp so much! I just got home from two Drum Major Clinics and the Mace Weekend. It was life changing. Thank you so much Berry and Gary! Your spirit and system have been the reason for our success.

Amanda Moore
Foley, MO
I had such a good experience this past week at the drum major clinic!!!! I learned a lot not only about being a good drum major but also about having confidence in myself. I also love the fact that everyone is supportive here! :)

Alyssa Workman
Morrison, IL
I love this camp!!! I am definitely coming back next year…..my favorite part was the serenading….it made me so sad and now I don’t want to go home :(

Antonia Lobocki
Carol Stream, IL
My name is Antonia Lobocki, and I attended the 1st week of 2011, Smith Walbridge’s Drum Major camp. Everything about this camp was excellent, the staff worked with everyone, there were no favorite students. The energy levels were always high and there was never a disagreement or problem. I can’t wait to come back next year because I didn’t want to leave to begin with!

Emily Anne Wheeler
Chatham, IL
Carrying Smith Walbridge with me in every step for the rest of my life!

Katelyn Haddaway
Merrillville, IN   Drum Major Clinic
This camp is amazing. The interns and everyone else are amazing. Berry is a great teacher and congrats to him for his new job. But I was so scared to come here. I mean we had to have a roommate and we were going to be here 24/7, but I’m on my second week now this place is magical you become a family and that’s amazing. after the serenade I went and cried because I just missed my band so much I can’t wait to go back and slowly make us better with system + spirit = success thank you Gary, Berry and all the staff.

Jackiee Matos
Bolingbrook, IL   Drum Major
Gary was right, this place is special. ♥

Jessica Eberlin
Bartlett, IL  Drum Major
It was my first year at the drum major clinic. I’ll never forget the amazing staff and campers. You guys are awesome! NEE!

Zackary Alan Landers
Morris, IL
This is, in fact, the finest drum major camp in the world.

Carson Satchwell
Leroy, IL  Leadership Workshop
This clinic has changed everything. I feel like I’m not only a much stronger drum major, but also a much stronger leader. This whole experience is unforgettable. Whether I’m out meeting new people and brushing up on my skills, or in my dorm working on papers or labs, I feel like I’m at home. When I came, I didn’t think that I would if…t in. Now that the week is almost through, I feel like I was never ‘out’ in the first place. The environment here is extremely unique, and I truly hope to recreate it back home in my own band; I’ll be returning with ideas and suggestions (hopefully bringing some system/spirit, and ultimately, success!) to better us not only as a band, but as a family. I’d highly recommend investing your time into the clinic, because whether you’re a drum major or not, you’ll leave here with an experience that will change your life. You’ll develop invaluable leadership skills that will prove to be beneficial in any situation. Thank you!

Jennifer Short
Mt. Carmel, IL  Marching Band Clinic
This camp is amazing. My marching is so much better and Bob Medworth taught me new stuff! lol. I feel way more confident in my marching and in myself. Thanks all the staff at SWC. :)))

Jennifer Antkowiak
Kewanee, IL
My name is Jennifer Antkowiak. I graduated from LaSalle Peru Township High School, and will be attending Eastern Illinois University in the fall. I attended two years of Drum Major camp before serving as an intern this past summer. I have now attended Percussion, Leadership, Drum Major, and the Mace Clinics offered at Smith Walbridge,… and I can honestly say that because of my experiences I have grown into a more well rounded person, musician and leader. Smith Walbridge gives you all of the tools necessary to succeed in building and leading a very successful marching band. But the thing that makes SWC stand out from an ordinary band camp is the people you meet. The instructors inspire you to push yourself beyond your normal limits. Relationships and bonds with other campers are formed that will last a lifetime. Smith Walbridge is not just a camp; it’s a lifestyle that will change your life forever. Thank you SWC! The System+Spirit=Success!

Amy Elizabeth Dredge
Maple Park, IL
My name is Amy Dredge, and I attended Kaneland High School. I went to the Flag/Rifle clinic for 4 years when I was a high schooler, and then an additional year when I was an intern. I also attended the Percussion clinic this past year. At both clinics I had an absolute BLAST! All of the instructors were very helpful and wanted to help the students succeed in what they were learning. SWC is definitely a life changing experience and I’m glad to be apart of the SWC family! :)

Emily Margevich
Hoopeston, IL
Smith Walbridge has it all together!! The staff members know you on a first name basis and all of the positive reinforcement is so unique and appreciated. Everyone makes you feel at home and so welcomed. It’s a wonderful camp that I’m proud to be a member of!