From Drum Corps to Published Author: What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been…
Once upon a time, there was this young girl who loved music. She sang, she played piano from the age of four, and when she hit junior high age, she joined band. By high school, she loved band so much that when instructors from The Florida Wave Drum and Bugle Corps stopped by her high school to talk up their organization, she was immediately fascinated.
Fast-forward a… lot of years and that young girl who loved drum corps and music is now an award-winning author. Seriously. And she’s written a young adult novel—WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE—that’s a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen and to bring things full circle, is set within the world of drum corps. So, that young corps member, Barbara Ferrer, is going to have a chat with author, Caridad Ferrer, about how she went from fifteen-hour rehearsals and peanut butter sandwiches to fifteen-hour writing days and pretzel M&Ms.
Barbara Ferrer: So. You were in corps?
Caridad Ferrer: Yep. From 1983-85 the late, lamented Florida Wave which actually had evolved out of the former Florida Vanguard. During my tenure, we were what was known as A-class (Division II); we were small, perpetually broke, lived off a lot of PB&J and Kool-Aid, and we played our butts off. In 1984 we actually made history as the first corps to perform during every night of Championship Week since we competed (and won) in A-Class, then turned around and made it to semi-finals of Open Class. As the A-Class champs, we then opened the show on Finals night. I was never so exhausted my entire life. I had hoped to age out with Wave, but Real Life sort of got in the way.
BF: These days, though, you’re a writer. How’d that happen?
CF: Well, I went off to college thinking I was going to become a band (and corps) director. I spent a lot of years as a music major, then realized that while I loved teaching, I didn’t play well with administrations. I loved music, I loved teaching, but in the end, I might have wound up hating both. Writing, however, is something I’ve done almost as long as I’ve done music and that came just about as naturally. Maybe even more so. Even during my corps days, if I ran out of books to read, I’d just make up stories and write them down. Best thing, though, is that I can incorporate my love of music in writing—I always listen to music while I’m working and it often informs what I’m doing on a deep level.