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First male joins Golden
Silks’ fall Guard
For many years the flags corps with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band was totally comprised of women performing in flowing skirts. That image started changing in 2006-07 when a competitive Winter Guard program was offered for the first time and the entire Golden Silks program took on new goals and a new image.
In Fall 2010, the first male has joined the Golden Silks Color Guard. Danny Durio, a spinner with the Cavaliers for two summers, helped his corps to a second place finish in Drum Corps International 2010. Durio is a sophomore from Houston, TX, and majors in computer engineering. In 2009, he performed with the trumpet section of the “All-American” Band.
“Shortly after returning from DCI finals, I realized that marching trumpet with the AAMB was not what truly made me happy,” Durio says. “Spinning flag and rifle had become a true passion over the course of this and the previous summer.”
Durio says he’s drawn to Guard for a couple different reasons. “One is that it satisfies my need to be doing something with my hands or my feet all the time. My mom has restless leg syndrome and I think some of that has been passed down making me always itch to be moving and doing something,” he says.
“The other is the performance. The ability to affect peoples’ lives with a show thrills me more than anything else. I revel in the thought that because some kid saw me perform he/she could decide to act or join Guard or anything else.”
In the world of Color Guard, “men are not revolutionary in any way but it is a first for our fall program with the marching band,” says Becky Bercich who directs the Golden Silks. “Danny’s a very talented spinner and a really good member.”
During each of the spring competition season at least one man has been in the Golden Silks. Most recently it’s been Ryan O’Dell, a student leader with the cymbal line during the fall marching season. In spring 2011, both O’Dell and Durio will participate in the competitive Purdue Winter Guard group.
“Guard is a lot like dance in that there are things guys can do a lot better than girls, as well as the opposite, so you really need an even ratio of male to female in the group to be most successful,” Durio says. “I definitely recommend more guys to do guard. The Purdue Winter Guard and now the Golden Silks are always looking for more people, especially men.”
Bercich says the Guard program on the West Lafayette campus has done an about face in the past decade. “Ten years ago you could probably not have experience in spinning and still be accepted. Not so today. That’s the progress of the sport. In the 1980s it was easy but clean. Now flag work has more nuance.”
Recognizing the change in the unit, Dept. Head Jay Gephart purchased new jackets for the group in 2009 that boasts a distinctive Purdue script across the back and gives them a specialized look.Although Bercich doesn’t know if Durio and O’Dell’s participation will draw more men to the group, she’s glad the door has been opened. She wants all the talent she can get for competition season. “Fall is about having fun and doing what we do well,” she says. “In Winter Guard there’s an incentive because we write harder work and challenge ourselves.”
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